2017 Breck Spring Open is back with $20K in prize money for skiers, snowboarders April 1 | SummitDaily.com

2017 Breck Spring Open is back with $20K in prize money for skiers, snowboarders April 1

Nadia Gonzales walked away from the inaugural Breck Parks Spring Open last year with a cool $1,500 in her pocket. This year, she's ready to double down on her March bonus.

"I'm just hoping to land close to the same run as last year," said Gonzales, a pro from New Mexico who now calls Summit Cove home and has spent the past three seasons traveling the world for World Cup ski slopestyle events. "I was really happy with how I skied, so if I can get close to that again I'll be really pleased. But it's all about having fun. As long as I'm stoked on the day, that's all I can ask for."

On Saturday, Gonzales joins dozens of fellow locals when Breckenridge hosts the second edition of the Mtn Dew Spring Open, a laid-back, low-key contest held on the lower three jumps in Park Lane on Peak 8. Like last season, the event is a best-of-two jump jam that features divisions for male and female skiers and snowboarders. Up for grabs: $20,000 in cash, split up as $3,000 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $500 for third place in all divisions.

Gonzales threw down a stylish run for second place last April — right 540, switch left 540, left 720 — and returns with more of the same this year, plus new grabs and corked rotations. She was runner-up to fellow local Keri Herman, who might or might not return this year after a recent MCL injury. But no matter who shows up, Gonzales is ready for a morning of throwing down with good friends.

"I go to these World Cups where there are all these teams, but here, I'll be surrounded by my people," said Gonzales, who trains solo between shifts at Pizza 101 in Breckenridge to pay the bills. "It's definitely what I still enjoy and look forward to doing after competing in World Cup events all year. It's fun to do a contest where there isn't any pressure. It takes me back to what I started doing when I was first getting into the sport."

The big unknown this year: weather. Last year's Open was held on a postcard-perfect bluebird day — sounds like most of March this year — but the forecast this time around calls for possible snow.

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"Last year we had the most perfect conditions you can ask for. This year I think experience will help me, just because of the weather. I'm used to that, but it can become anybody's game."

And it really is anybody's game. Sure, globetrotting pros like Gonzales, Herman and snowboarder Eric Willett will be on the start list, but chances are still good that an unknown 15- or 16-year-old from down the street could walk away with a fat cash bonus. Even Gonazles thinks so, and she's out to take home $3,000.

"This is a good contest for people who want to get into things," she said. "They aren't the most intimidating jumps, but you're competing against amateurs and professionals and everyone else. It'll give you a good idea of what you can do in a non-stressful environment."

Registration for the Breck Parks Spring Open is available online only. To sign up, see the "Spring Fever" tab under "Events" at Breckenridge.com.

2017 Breck Parks Spring Open

What: A laid-back jump contest held on the lower three jumps in Park Lane, with male and female divisions for skiers and snowboarders — and a $20,000 cash purse

When: Saturday, April 1 at 10:15 a.m.

Where: Park Lane terrain park at Breckenridge

Cost: $45

Format is best of two runs. The event is open to pro and amateur skiers and snowboarders (age 13 and older). Check-in is from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at the T-Bar, followed by practice from 8:45-9:45 a.m. Contest begins at 10:15 a.m. and should end around 3 p.m. with an awards ceremony at T-Bar. All competitors must practice and compete with a helmet. Registration is online only (no day-of at T-Bar). To sign up or learn more, click the “Spring Fever” tab under “Events” at Breckenridge.com.

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