Breckenridge Olympians and pros end season with slopestyle big air expo
Ryan Summerlin April 29, 2014
There were no medals or podiums but the tricks were still big as slopestyle Olympians and professionals closed out Breckenridge Ski Resort’s final Saturday in style in the terrain park above the Peak 8 base area.
The resort hosted some of its pro team athletes and recent Olympians for a “big-air” exhibition and autograph signing to celebrate the close of a busy season — one of the longest in Breck’s history.
“It was just something we wanted to add since we didn’t get to welcome them home from the Olympics,” resort spokeswoman Kristen Petitt Stewart said. “It was something we decided to do when we extended the season. It was the first time we’ve ever done anything like this.”
The event included appearances by U.S. slopestyle team Olympians — and Breckenridge locals — Bobby Brown and Keri Herman, along with Utah boarder cross rider Faye Gulini and New Zealand’s Rebecca “Possum” Torr. The group was joined by a number of fellow pros who call Breckenridge their home mountain.
Athletes took over the final roughly 50-foot kicker jump in the resort’s Freeway Terrain Park — the same line featured earlier this winter in the two Olympic qualifiers Breckenridge hosted — for an hour-long big-air exhibition.
“It was fun to get the whole team together, hit the jump and have sled tows for an hour or so,” multiple X Games medalist Bobby Brown told the Daily. “It was a good way to end the season.”
While he did not participate in the big-air exhibition, fellow Breckenridge resident and pro snowboarder Eric Willet was on hand for the event and took part in the autograph signing.
“The turnout was amazing,” he said. “I think everyone was stoked.”
A cracked vertebra, suffered during a training run at the Olympic qualifier at Copper Mountain Resort, cost Willet his shot at a trip to Sochi — he was a top contender at the time of his injury. He has since recovered and been back on snow. He said he expects to be back to 100 percent by the start of next season.
After a trip to the White House and an otherwise action-packed season, U.S. team freeskier Keri Herman was all smiles and relaxed at Saturday’s showcase.
“Wrapping up the season is so much fun here. It’s great to be home,” she said. “It’s just so fun to have so many people come out and watch and see what we do on a daily basis.”
A long line of fans — kids and adults alike — lined up after the big-air exhibition for a chance to get an autograph and meet some of their favorite winter athletes.
“I was blown away today,” Petitt Stewart said of the turnout. “It was really fun to see our athletes out there having a good time. I don’t know what the future of this event is but to see these guys go out and have fun in front of a crowd is really special.”
Breckenridge officially closes its season Sunday, April 27. Closing-day festivities will include a luau — complete with a pig roast. Resort officials are encouraging guests to bring out their finest in Hawaiian gear to close the season.
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