Gravity Games wont return to Copper in 2006
COPPER MOUNTAIN After nearly seven months of waiting in limbo, the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) has announced its Winter Gravity Games not only wont be returning to Copper Mountain this season, but they wont be held at all.In a statement released on Friday, the network said: We were pleased with the 2005 Winter Gravity Games and our partnership with Copper Mountain. However, with the upcoming Olympic Games (in Turin, Italy), the winter sports schedule for 2006 is already very crowded. We decided that it would be best to take a year off from the Winter Gravity Games, but we hope to work with these fine athletes again in the future.OLN alerted Copper of its no-go decision earlier this week. Gary Rodgers, the resorts general manager, announced the news publicly at the annual Ski Area Chief Operating Officers Panel Luncheon on Friday afternoon.Were disappointed, but were going to move on, Rodgers said in an interview after the luncheon. According to Rodgers, the Winter Gravity Games are the biggest event that Copper has ever hosted. But he wasnt surprised with the networks decision in light of the unusually long waiting period between last Marchs event and this weeks announcement.We sensed there was some uncertainty leading up to it, he said.Both Copper and OLN representatives had said negotiations for next Marchs games were ongoing as recently as earlier this month. But the Turin Olympic Games are scheduled for February, less than a month before the Gravity Games likely would have taken place. That proximity proved too close for OLN.The networks public relations director, Amy Phillips, said the decision not to hold the Gravity Games had nothing to do with OLN recently signing a contract to broadcast NHL games for the next two hockey seasons.OLNs decision now means Copper will be without a marquee event to showcase its new superpipe at the base of the mountain. Still, Rodgers said the Gravity Games potential was not related to the resorts decision to construct the pipe just above its Burning Stones Plaza base area.We wouldve built that regardless, he said.He added that hes still hoping to land future big-time events at Copper including, potentially, the Gravity Games.Were going to continue to work with OLN and see what opportunities might exist for the future, he said.OLN bought the Gravity Games franchise including the summer games from NBC in January 2004. Before last March, the games had only been held once, at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., in 2000.Devon ONeil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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