As members of the U.S. freeskiing and snowboarding teams wrapped up a morning training session in the half-pipe at Copper Mountain Resort on Saturday — fine tuning for the upcoming Dew Tour and a chance to make the U.S. Olympic Team — the next generation of big-air enthusiasts lined up for a peek at the recently renovated Woodward at Copper facility.
As part of its “Woodward Remix” reopening celebration, “The Barn,” as the indoor facility is commonly known, opened its doors for free 30-minute intro sessions from noon to 6 p.m., giving children ages 8 to 108 a chance to test their aerial prowess, diving into foam pits and jumping on trampolines.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we had a chance to do so much of it,” Colette Fischer, 43, of Castle Rock said after a session with her family.
“I want to go again,” Fischer’s 9-year-old son Quinton said with an enthusiastic grin.
The two were joined by Fischer’s other son Alexander, 12, and husband, Ben, 49.
“I thought it was awesome,” Ben Fischer said after his second 30-minute session of the day. “We’d love to bring them (the kids) back for a whole session.”
Introductory sessions at Woodward normally go for an hour and a half and give participants a chance to move from the trampolines to the foam pit jump ramps.
“It was much easier than I expected it to be,” Colette Fischer said, shortly after doing her “first-ever” flip into one of the foam pits under Woodward coach Matti Wade’s instruction. “It’s great to be able to try it out. It’s kind of fun to do something different.”
Initially she and her husband planned to just watch their children, but the second time through Ben opted to take part. After watching her family do two sessions, Colette decided it was time for mom to join the fun.
“Watching is almost as fun as doing,” she said. “When they said they were going to go a third time, I figured I might as well try it. It looked like it was getting progressively more fun.”
Like many others who took advantage of the free day, Ben said they knew of Woodward but hadn’t found time to try it. He added that the short session convinced them their kids would enjoy it in the future.
That was part of the goal of the event and the renovation, Woodward manager Danny Vogel said.
“Really anyone can do it. A lot of people have heard of Woodward but don’t know.”
Copper vice president of mountain sports Pete Woods echoed the sentiment. “The No. 1 thing we were trying to demonstrate is access.”
When Woodward opened, most people thought it was just for extreme-sports junkies, Vogel and Woods said.
And while there are big jumps in the facility, and members of the U.S. and international teams use the trampolines for training, it is also geared toward beginners.
The renovation added features that created more of a learning progression from beginner to advanced, Vogel said. Among those features is a less-intimidating 2-foot-high jump ramp into a small foam pit.
The other big change involves the surface of the jumps. They were converted from a synthetic carpeting called Snowflex, used only for skis and snowboards, to a wood-finished surface called Skatelite, the same surface used in the facility’s BMX and skate features. The idea was to make the jumps accessible to skateboards and bikes as well as skis and snowboards. With the change Woodward also developed its now-patented wheeled snowboards and skis.
While families were learning some of the basic rules of aerial maneuvers, a host of pro BMX riders and skateboarders put on a show in the Barn’s swimming-pool feature. Breckenridge resident and U.S. Snowboard Team member Benji Farrow made an appearance with some Dew Tour-sized maneuvers into the foam pits off the big jump ramp.
Other ski and snowboard team members, including Aspen resident and Olympic snowboard medalist Gretchen Bleiler, also made appearances during an evening meet-and-greet.
The Woodward Remix weekend concludes today with another free open Barn session from noon to 6 p.m.
The U.S. freeski and snowboarding teams will continue to train at Copper before the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Dec. 12-16.