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Edmonton to host biggest snowboarding event in Canada

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Commonwealth Stadium will be getting much more snow than the rest of the city this week as it prepares to welcome the world's best snowboarders.

Edmonton will host the first ever FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup to be held in a stadium. And to do it, the venue is building the biggest stadium snowboard jump in history using more than 1,200 cubic meters of snow.

"[It's a] pretty unique thing to do," said Richard Hegarty, major event specialist for Canada Snowboard. "We build these kinds of jumps on snow quite regularly, but you never get to build them in a stadium."

"This, to my knowledge, is the largest scaffolding build ever built in history."

The Big Air World Cup event, titled The Style Experience, will take place Dec. 9 and 10. It's a qualifier for the Olympics and the first North American stop of the 2022-2023 FIS World Cup season.

Hegarty said Canada Snowboard scouted locations across the country, choosing Edmonton because it's home to the largest outdoor stadium in Canada and it's cold enough in December for a winter sport event.

"It's probably easier here than it would be anywhere else in the world, so it's ideal," Hegarty said, adding that Commonwealth Stadium's layout made it the perfect spot to build the 147-foot-tall and 483-foot-long jump.

Construction of the ramp began Nov. 7 and will take around 6,000 hours in total. The snow to cover the ramp is being made at Rabbit Hill and trucked in.

Construction of the ramp for the FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup began Nov. 7 and will take around 6,000 hours in total. (John Hanson/CTV News Edmonton)Unlike other snowboarding venues, the stadium seating offers multiple viewpoints that snowboarding spectators don't usually get, said Commonwealth Stadium director Heather Seutter.

"You don't have to travel to the ski hill, and you'll probably get one of the best spectator experiences to be able to see the athletes competing live," Seutter said.

The qualifiers on Dec. 9 won't be open to the public, but Suetter said the stadium is hoping to sell 10,000 to 15,000 tickets for the finals on the afternoon of Dec. 10.

"I think Edmontonians and visitors are really going to respond well to just how unique this event is and how we've repurposed the stadium into a mountain essentially," said Cindy Medynski, director of sport and culture at Explore Edmonton.

Medynski hopes the competition will become a regular event at the Commonwealth Stadium and said the international coverage will bring in visitors and show the world what Edmonton has to offer as a host city.

"It's huge for us to get that exposure," she said. "I think [being chosen] means that Edmonton punches above its weight, and we show up and we think outside the box."

Tickets start at $31.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Joe Scarpelli

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