Aspen/Snowmass revs up for Honda Ski Tour
ASPEN ” Skiing and partying. Partying and skiing.
This weekend, the locally favored pursuits come together in a big way as the Honda Ski Tour rolls into Aspen/Snowmass for the third leg of a four-stop circuit, bringing a host of musical acts and top athletes along for the ride. The second leg was held earlier this month in Breckenridge.
In case you’re wondering about the stage that popped up at Rio Grande Park, it’s the tour’s BaseCamp Pavilion ” one of several venues that will host the BaseCamp Music Experience accompanying the tour.
On the slopes, familiar names in skiercross and the halfpipe will face off at Snowmass, competing for pieces of the $500,000 purse up for grabs over the course of the tour, which culminates with the championships March 8-11 at Squaw Valley, Calif.
Skiercross competitors expected at Snowmass include Aspen’s Casey Puckett, who leads the tour’s point standings and won the event at last month’s Winter X Games at Buttermilk; Stanley Hayer, in second place; and former U.S. Ski Team racer Daron Rahlves, who holds down third place despite a series of crashes. Also battling for the $25,000 winner’s check at Snowmass will be former X Games gold medalists Lars Lewen, Zach Crist and Enak Gavaggio, and world champ Tomas Kraus.
The skier halfpipe competition will feature tour leader Simon Dumont, Carbondale’s Peter Olenick (currently in second place), Tanner Hall (third), Matt Philippi and Mike Riddle. (Hall edged Dumont for X Games gold last month.) The top prize in each halfpipe event on the tour is also $25,000.
Dancehall reggae star Sean Paul headlines the veritable music festival in conjunction with the tour. The weekend also brings a free street concert by reggae artist Joseph Israel. See today’s Friday/Saturday/Sunday section for more on some of the performers in town this weekend.
Tour action got under way Thursday with skiercross training runs and halfpipe practice.
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