Denver Big Air

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This past Tuesday and Wednesday was the first annual Denver Big Air competition in the Civic Center Park in the heart of downtown Denver. I was lucky enough to be apart of the set-up and therefor got the best seat in the house during the skiing competition on Tuesday.

The total purchase of the scaffolding alone was $600,000. The set-up was 300 feet long and 110 feet high. To get to the top of the ramp I had to climb 15 flights of scaffolding stairs. To say the least it gets very disorientating after a few times. There's so many bars going every which way and the constant spinning up the stairs gets to you. Getting the snow on the actual ramp was a process. It consisted of a crane lifting snow to the top and dropping a little down a time. Or the crane would drop snow at the take off down lower and we would bring it up. Someone would hold a piece of ply wood across the ramp to catch the snow. Then lift it up over the pile and the people behind would pat it down. I'm sure this was done at least a hundred times in the course of a few days.

A crane dropping snow off at the base.

This is what 15 flights of scaffolding looks like.

This is what it looks like looking down.
Here are some views from the top!

In this picture you can see someone with the piece of ply wood on the far right, and someone helping pack snow down in the center of the ramp.

Will had to paint the wood around the take-off. He took the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to claim it!

The best groomed jump I have ever seen!

Tuesday finally came and I got there around 1:00pm to help with a few last minute things. Snowboard practice started at 3:00pm and here's a little footage from that. (You can hear Switchfoot doing their sound check in the background.)

The public was allowed to start rolling in around 3:30, and there was some last minute grooming right around then.

 6-7pm was skier practice and then it was finally time for the show to begin! The guys did some quick grooming before the show began.

Instead of every rider for himself, this was the first ever competition that was battle of the brands. Big ski brands like Armada, Line Skis, Nordica, Full Tilt and others sent 2-3 riders to work as a team. Each round two teams would go up against each other to do the best tricks for the best overall score, and the best team would move on. 

Here's some footage of some of the skiers.

SIDENOTE: During the first round I was standing on the flat part between the take off and the landing. A group of guys came up the stairs and were watching in amazement next to me. They weren't dressed like skiers or snowboarders but I had a peculiar feeling they were important. They introduced themselves and we got talking and they were really, really nice. Jon was the most talkative one. He was asking me a lot of questions about skiing and the event and asked me to explain the tricks to them. After about a half hour a photographer came up to us and goes 
"Oh my gosh, it's so nice to meet you guys! I can't believe it!" 
They talked for a few minutes and after the photographer walked away Jon smiled at me. I paused for a second and go, 
"Youuuuuuu guys are Switchfoot, aren't you?"
"Haha, yeahhh..." He said and smiled. (I later found out that he was the singer.)
Switchfoot has been a pretty big band since I was in middle school, and they were definitely one of my favorite bands in middle school. They were scheduled to play the live show that night for the competition. I'm kicking myself in the BUTT now for not getting a picture with them.

ANYWAYYYY... The competition ended up with two teams left, Armada (my favorite company in the world) and Line Skis. Switchfoot played between the last elimination round and the finals. I got to stand on the landing and get the best seat in the house! It wasn't too warm and wasn't too cold, and right as they started playing it started to snow very gentle but big snow flakes... the perfect setting! It was also so cool to see the state capital light up like that.

Overall it was one of the funnest events of my life and I can't wait for next year!

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