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What you need to know about Big Air's return to Edmonton this weekend

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Athletes got a chance to check out the slope at Commonwealth Stadium Wednesday ahead of the Big Air World Cup.

The snowboarding competition returns to Edmonton this weekend, bringing more boarders, bigger jumps and better vibes.

Big Air is the first stop on Canada's Shred The North Series and the only event to be held in a stadium.

"For Edmonton to host a world cup is super special, the folk around here don't get to see this that often," said three-time Canadian Olympic snowboarder Mark McMorris. "For them to come check out the world's best go nuts on a Big Air jump is pretty unique."

The competition promises elite athletes from 30 nations around the world taking on what organizers call the "world's largest scaffolding jump," which stands 15 storeys high and reaches more than six metres above the top of the stadium.

"People will be able to go bigger or further down the landing, which will allow us to do bigger tricks," said 23-year-old competitor Nicolas Laframboise. "Also, they kind of rotated it a little bit, and I think from the bleachers will be a way better view of the whole jump. I think the crowd will really like it."

Competitors will be judged on style and creativity, rather than the number of rotations. This year, visitors will also be asked to weigh in during the new Nitro Best Style trick public vote.

The competition also features a new urban snowboarding rail built right into the stands, where urban boarders will compete for a total of $10,000 in prize money.

The City of Edmonton said more than 350 hours have gone into creating the indoor ski hill at the stadium, with 116 truck loads of snow (and counting) brought in from Rabbit Hill.

In addition to snowboarding, the world cup will feature a new winter festival with live music, a market, sports demonstrations, and a public ski jump and shred park.

Last year's world cup winner and Olympian Jasmine Baird said she's excited to be back and to see what organizers have done with the event.

"Definitely made some good memories last year taking the win," Baird said. "The jump's looking bigger and better than last year, so I'm just really excited to get out there and ride." 

Tickets are $60 and are available here. Tickets for children under 12 are free with a paid adult. 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Gates open at 1 p.m. and guests are encouraged to arrive early. 

The City of Edmonton said parking around Commonwealth Stadium will be restricted during the event.

Free parking will be available at the Clareview and Belvedere LRT stations.

The city will also be offering Park and Ride bus service to and from the stadium from the Eaux Claires Transit Centre, Lewis Farms Transit Centre and the Nakî Transit Centre. Regular fares apply.

Service begins at 12:30 p.m. and buses run every 10 minutes. Return service will run until the stadium is clear. 

For more information on public transit fares and routes, click here

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