Words and photos by Julie WeinbergerSunday felt like an east coast day at Colorado’s Echo Mountain Park: damp and chilly.Before the 11 a.m. start time, the 70 competitors—skiers and boarders—were faced with some shady conditions as the sun kept trying to peek through snow showers.But, that would be the least of their worries.
Right before the event was set to begin, riders hit the three features a few times. The up-flat-down rail on the Sobe car lacked an adequate jump on, making it tough for skiers. Next, the jump had a massive lip that looked like it belonged on a 45-foot table, not something closer to 25 feet. The jump was also very close to the Smith Limo, which had quite a large gap to it.The jump proved to be a problem for many competitors. The first few skiers to hit it in practice overshot the landing by several feet. One kid took it at least 10 feet past the bottom of the landing, ending his day early with what seemed to be a blown knee. Another kid supposedly went to the hospital with internal bleeding.
Once the event began, most skiers hit the Sobe car straight. A few 270-ed off. Then, it was onto the booter, where we saw everything from 3s on up with a misty or two and a front flip. By this time, everyone seemed to have gotten the speed down for the jump. The Smith Limo saw 270-on after 270-on, 270s out and a fair share of switch-ups, too.While the course may have been a bit sketch, the event organization and judging format were pretty much dialed. Everything ran on time, which is unheard of for even the most prestigious events. Instead of scoring each competitor in the open jam session, the esteemed judges awarded the eight best skiers with a bib as they saw fit (Skiers had Matt Harvey as a judge. Boarders had Mason Aguirre). If you threw something cool, you were rewarded with a spot in the final.
Following the hour-and-a-half long jam session, the top eight advanced to a best of two runs final showdown. Luke Nutting got top honors and walked home with $200. Tyler Stripp took second, and Bobby Haupt finished third.Stay tuned for more news from Echo as they are in the process of putting up jumps for a big air event on December 29.