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    Friday, February 13, 1998

    Cross 'boarder chopping for Whistler?

    BY CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun
      NAGANO -- Whistler, B.C.'s days as the training headquarters for Canada's snowboarders could be up in smoke.
     The Canadian Snowboard Federation has been considering moving out of Whistler to a more central location, said federation executive director Michael Wood, and the publicity over Whistler being a pot-smoking mecca might speed the decision.
     "I can't deny that would affect some part of our decision," said Wood. "We have to do what's best for the development of our athletes."
     Part of the defence for Ross Rebagliati's positive test for marijuana after winning the gold medal in the snowboard giant slalom was he had inhaled second-hand marijuana smoke.
     He said if he was going to avoid those situations, he'd have to "move out of Whistler" which, it's been revealed the last few days, is home to the most potent marijuana in the world, according to Dr. Andrew Pipe, chairman of the Canadian Centre for Ethic in Sports. Pot smoking has long been a part of the snowboard culture.
     "I think it is one of the dark corners in the house of snowboarding," said Wood.
     "This has been an eye-opening experience for us. We're a young sport and there are going to be growing pains. It's unfortunate it has to be at the Olympic Games. We want parents to be confident having their kids in snowboarding, that there are good ideals that should be upheld."
     Wood said the snowboard federation has been thinking about moving to either Calgary or somewhere in Alberta because travelling all the way to Whistler is very expensive for eastern-based athletes.