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Canadian snowboarder Liam Brearley gets ready to take off at the Big Air World Cup in Edmonton

By Abby Cunningham on November 8, 2023

With the return of the FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup Style Experience to Commonwealth Stadium, Big Air snowboarders are getting ready for the competition in Edmonton. Ontario’s Liam Brearley has been on the Canadian snowboard team for five years, and while he attended last year’s event in Edmonton, he didn’t get to compete due to an injury. But this year is different. Brearley is gearing up for the Shred the North series, competing in both Big Air and Slopestyle disciplines. The series takes off with the Big Air event at Commonwealth Stadium on December 9

Photo Credit: Explore Edmonton

Q&A with Liam Brearley

Q: What’s the biggest difference between Slopestyle and Big Air?

Slopestyle is just much harder to put a run together because you need anywhere from six to nine different tricks, and you need rail tricks and jump tricks together. Whereas Big Air is more just like one trick, land it, and you’re good. If you make it to finals, it’s two tricks. But you’re only focusing on doing the biggest trick you can.”

Q: What goes into the thought process of choosing what tricks you’re going to do?

It’s definitely a lot of work based on which tricks we are more comfortable with, and this is where we get help from our coaches as well. So if there is a trick you are super consistent with, one of your bigger tricks, that’s probably the trick you want to do in qualifying to just land something, get yourself through. And then finals would be the time you want to try something bigger, maybe something you’re not as consistent with.”

Q: What does competing at this high of a level mean to you as a fairly young snowboarder?

 “I think it’s really cool to be able to represent your country at stuff like this. When I started snowboarding that wasn’t in my mind. That wasn’t what I wanted to do. I just wanted to be a really good snowboarder, but the patriotic aspect of it I find really cool, and just the snowboarding community is not very big, so the places we travel around the world is with the same people so it’s just one big unity as well.

Q: What were the vibes of being in a football stadium for this kind of competition?

“It was a really cool, unique spot for this event, and I think it was really good for spectators to be able to sit around the whole jump and see everything going on. Most people haven’t seen that sort of thing before. So it’s a really cool experience, and I’m looking forward to being able to compete there this year. It seemed just electric with everyone riding last year.”

Q: What do you look forward to most about competing here in Edmonton in December?

“I think just the support from everyone in Edmonton. They love the Canadian team, and they get really loud when someone from Canada drops in or lands a trick. So I think It will be really cool to ride there and experience that for myself.”

Q: What is the biggest difference between riding on a scaffolding jump compared to compact snow?

“When you go to a scaffolding jump, it’s not usually the same texture of snow, cause they have to crush up ice or make fake snow to be able to get it there. Maybe not in Edmonton mostly, but the in-run to the jump is much smaller than it would be normally because they’ve only built scaffolding the width of the takeoff. It can get pretty bumpy and pretty skinny. And the same with the landing. So it’s definitely different, so we are just going to go out there and do the best tricks we have.”

Q: With just weeks to the event, what are you thinking?

“I think the event is going to be really cool this year. I’m looking forward to being able to compete. I haven’t done too many scaffolding Big Airs in the past year, so I’m looking forward to seeing everyone there and experiencing the whole event. Not just the Big Air. The concerts, everything they have going on in Edmonton.”

The Style Experience qualifications start on Friday, December 8, and the finals are open to viewers on Saturday, December 9. The event is open to all ages and will have live performances by Grandson and Skiitour.



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