I am not sure why they would try to have this event so close to the X-Games. I can see why many pros will not attend. On the other hand, it's only a few hour drive from Denver to Aspen but I can see why they would want to be in Aspen early and focus on X. Kinda bad planning by the event creators to the Big Air event.
With only one confirmed athlete on the competition list, younger skiers and snowboarders are bemoaning the $45 tickets to the Denver Big Air exhibition in Denver's Civic Center park Jan. 25-26.
"There's definitely some sticker shock there," said 26-year-old Autumn Buehler of Denver. "I was pretty excited this was going to be in Denver, but I didn't think it would cost that much. I think that they will lose that younger crowd, which is a huge crowd to influence and they add a lot of energy."
Still, $45 is less than the $55 to $75 tickets offered earlier this month for the same event. The International Ski Federation World Cup's sanction makes an event more expensive to host.
Big Air organizers are hoping 12,000 spectators will pay for "prime viewing" areas on Bannock Street and in the City and County Building plaza across from the park.
"There has to be really a fairly entrepreneurial revenue model in order to make this work," said Sue Baldwin, director of business development for the Metro Denver Sports Commission, known as Denver Sports.
The initial test prices for tickets did upset ski-industry folks, Baldwin said, but sports fans accustomed to paying for Nuggets, Avalanche, Broncos and Rockies games "didn't bat an eye."
"It's no small feat to build a ski hill in the middle of the city," said Baldwin, estimating the construction and event will cost about $1 million, some of which is absorbed by major sponsors including LG and Sprint. "We have to have a revenue model that makes sense."
Interest has been strong, Baldwin said, even though the list of participating athletes, to date, includes only one name: Denver freeskier Bobby Brown.
The biggest-name rider in the world, Shaun White, has neither confirmed nor rejected plans for attendance.
The international skate and snow superstar also has not confirmed his attendance at this year's X Games, which begin two days after the Big Air contest. Athlete representatives and competition insiders say the Denver event's timing, before the biggest snowsports contest of the year, could deter competitors.
"I've heard mixed sentiments from the athletes," said Matt Harvey, editor of Boulder-based Freeskier magazine. "They don't want to do it because of the risk but, at the same time, it's nationally televised, so their sponsors might make them."
T.J. Schiller, a perennially medaled skier in Big Air contests, has yet to decide whether he will compete.
"At this point, it seems a little bit risky being that close to X Games, but we are going to wait and see," said Schiller's agent, Fergie Cancade.
Swede Big Air ski champion Jacob Wester, who won the London Big Air contest last month, will not compete at Denver's event because "he's focused on X," his agent said.
The X Games Twitter feed recently pointed out the price disparity, noting that the entire Jan. 27-30 Winter X Games 15 is free in Aspen.
The Big Air event avoided new city regulations on private events in Denver parks by positioning the paying spectators on the street and the plaza in front of the City and County Building.
"The whole park will be open. There will be some areas to the south that will be open for public viewing, but the prime viewing will be on the street," said Kevin Scott, the event and film liaison for the Denver Office of Cultural Affairs.
Read more: Pricey Big Air tickets get cold shoulder from young snow-sport fans - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16720625#ixzz16VY8OlUf