Olympic Stories

Control on the rollers decides podium positions for Men’s Snowboard Cross

olympics_boardercross_finalA whole lot of passion and serious riding skills earned Canadian Mike Robertson the silver medal in the Men’s Snowboard Cross finals at Cypress Mountain on February 15, 2010. The race was decided on a single roller, where American Seth Westcott pulled away to score the gold medal. France’s Tony Ramoin took home the bronze.

Love of sport inspires great athletic achievements. It also inspires innovation in sporting equipment and technology. Riding a top-notch board can make a good rider, great. Whistler’s Prior Snowboards pairs passion and innovation to make boards that deliver performance in the big mountain environment.

Through his quest to find the perfect snowboard, Chris Prior began making them in his North Vancouver garage in 1990. New to the sport, Chris was a windsurfer who had been designing sailboards for years. After discovering the high-altitude version of surfing in Whistler, Chris was hooked.

Once local athletes got their hands on a Prior board, they were hooked too. During the 1990s, several athletes riding Prior boards won World Cup events and Chris moved his business out of the garage and began making snowboards full time. In 2000, Chris moved up to Whistler permanently and opened the Prior Snowboard factory. With all boards now being handcrafted in Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb, a testing ground, in their backyard, Prior Snowboard Manufactory Ltd. expanded the line with backcountry splitboards, all-mountain freestyle models, women’s boards, and in 2003, began building and testing skis.

Olympic StoriesPrior is now well known for the “Prior Ride”. Their snowboards and skis are designed to provide superior stability, control and performance in all types of winter weather and terrain. From fluffy powder days to hard-packed conditions, the Prior Ride is a true Whistler experience.

Whistler is a snowboarding and skiing paradise with a season that runs eight months, from the end of November until well into July on the Blackcomb Glacier. When you’re on your equipment for eight months straight, it has to stand up to every condition Whistler throws at it. Whistler-area athletes who rip it up on a Prior Ride are Vanessa Stark, Chris Charlebois, Joel Loverin, Brittany Davis, Ryan McKeeman, Pierrot Bernier, Cory Leis, Sonja Lercher and Lee Anne Patterson.

From custom boards to factory favourites, when the craftsmen making the boards revolve their lives around the sport, you know their heart and soul are embedded in every build.

Olympic StoriesPrior offers free tours of the factory/store on Wednesdays at 5:00 pm and Saturdays at 4:00 pm throughout the winter season; tours will be held daily during the 2010 Olmypic and Paralympic Winter Games – weekdays at 5:00 pm and weekends at 4:00 pm. Drop by and see how Prior boards and skis are made.

After all these years in Whistler, the factory still follows the 20 cm rule. On big powder days, the factory doesn’t open until noon so employees can get up on the mountain for fresh turns in the snow. Testing product has never been so much fun!

The Prior Factory/Store is located in Function Junction at 104-1410 Alpha Lake Road. For more information or to book your factory tour, go to www.priorsnowboards.com and www.priorskis.com.

Interested in learning more about Snowboard Cross? Check out this fabulous video.

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