The New Year’s Day Boardercross Challenge at Bull Mountain made its triumphant return after a several-year hiatus.
And for professional Landyachts longboarder and event organizer Bricin Lyons of Vancouver, the event is all about building community.
“Years back my mom, Cindy Lyons, was fighting cancer so I moved to Williams Lake to help her out,” Lyons said.
“Every Boxing Day or New Year’s in those last few years I decided to hold a snowboard race up at Bull Mountain.”
Lyons had fond memories of sledding at the top of Bull Mountain, so the snowboard race became an homage to a sport he loves, longboarding, and a tribute to his childhood.
“I wanted to have a snowboard race on a road, not a ski mountain, to give it that longboard race feel,” he said.
“Longboarding races we race four- to eight-man heats so Bull Mountain was perfect for this. This year I took a bunch of gear, I had prizes and I had custom medals made up.”
Snowboarders from Prince George, Quesnel, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and a vanload from Vancouver participated in the races.
“We gave out $320 this year and snowboard jackets, blankets, toques, gloves, six longboards, a snowboard, a snowskate and a few flats of Cariboo Brewing root beer and gingerale,” Lyons said. “I just wanted to bring something to my hometown on my downtime.”
Lyons is no stranger to hosting and competing in longboard races. He’s been a professional for 16 years and has skated in Australia, New Zealand, California, Brazil, South Africa and Peru.
He’s also responsible for the longest-running race in the world, the Sunshine Coast’s Attack on Danger Bay, which has been running for 15 years and features more than $10,000 in prize money.
“For the first 10 years it was the biggest race in the world attracting and breeding world champions and it’s still one of the top races today,” he said, noting he’s announced more than 130 races in his career.
“My passion is creating events. It’s all I know and all I’ve done since I graduated high school.”
Lyons also holds a race at Sheep Creek annually, which has been running for the past 11 years.
“It’s the longest-running outlaw race in the world,” he said. “We race down Sheep Creek on our longboards after chucking cash in a hat and it’s been a great time. Two years ago we had a Brazilian champion.”
In 2011 Lyons was featured in a documentary titled Highway Gospel that aired on Super Channel, CBC and the Travel Network after a camera crew documented his life over a five-year period.
Visit www.highwaygospel.com, click buy, and enter the passcode “dangerbay” for a free digital copy of the film, which screened and sold out in San Diego, Santa Monica, New York City, Orlando, Portland and Vancouver.
Another venture Lyons has taken up is supporting breast cancer research. He’s helped raise more than $1 million by skating across Canada promoting four other skaters from Eastern Canada to Vancouver through an event called Push for the Cure (www.pushforthecure.ca).
The New Year’s Day Boardercross Challenge was sponsored by Cariboo Brewing, Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed, Landyachtz Longboards and Red Tomato Pies, who helped provide prizes at the event.
The following are the winners from the New Year’s Day Boardercross Challenge:
Kids LY Snowskate Race
1.) Ethan Ransome (Williams Lake)
2.) Owen Sim (Williams Lake)
3.) Levi Unger (Prince George)
King of the Hill
1.) Jesse Van Vugt (Quesnel)
Bull Mountain Boardercross Challenge
1.) Jesse Van Vugt (Quesnel) – $220
2.) Sky Van Vugt (Quesnel)
3.) Ryan Mann (Prince George)