Breckenridge Peak 6 extreme terrain showcased in GoPro Big Mountain Challenge
The second annual GoPro Big Mountain Challenge junior regional competition came to a close Sunday under sunny skies at Breckenridge Resort’s expert hike-to terrain on Peak 6.
After two days of big lines and big air it was the host team that came up with some of the biggest performances of the weekend. Team Summit Colorado’s Cam Dudiak and Stuart Edgerly took the top two spots in the 15- to 18-year-old male big mountain skier category, followed by Davis Henschel and Grifen Moller. All four athletes took aggressive lines that included multiple cliff drops. Sadie Grimm and Kelsey Wright, also of Team Summit, finished second and third respectively in the female grouping, behind Rhianna Borderick.
Riders ages 10 to 18 spent the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association’s weekend-long competition choosing creative lines that included clearing rock formations and sizable cliffs on the steeps of Peak 6.
“It’s everything from guys just doing the chutes, getting in their parallel turns, to hucking 40, 50-footers,” Matti Wade, one of Team Summit’s coaches, said of the competition.
While the younger athletes kept their feet mostly on the ground, a number of the older competitors showed they might have what it takes to step up to the pros.
“This is a launching pad for young athletes and their pro careers,” said Chis Carson, Team Summit’s director of freeski programs.
In big mountain competitions, athletes are judged on style, creative line choice, jump size and aerial maneuvers, with points awarded to the top performers, similar to slopestyle only on natural features.
“I thought it was fantastic,” Breckenridge competition director Dave Little said of the event. “We’re stoked to see some great lines through the venue.”
The Peak 6 extreme hike-to terrain, which opened in the winter of 2013-14, features large cliff bands, rock formations and narrow gullies, all on a near 50-degree slope.
“I think it’s legit. It’s a great venue,” Wade, himself a former big mountain competitor, said. “There are some big lines up here … some lines that make me pucker up.”
Team Summit head big mountain coach Ryan Van Nuys agreed. “The venue is completely amazing. It offers more lines than any in the state.”
The hope among both Team Summit and Breckenridge Ski Resort officials is to continue to bring similar events to the mountain.
“I think there is a strong likelihood that we will do more of these competitions down the road,” Little said, adding that pro-level competitions could potentially use the terrain.
And the demand clearly seams to be there. Last year’s competition featured 60 competitors ages 13 to 18. This year the event was capped at 95 and sold out in the first 20 minutes.
Breckenridge already hosts the annual Dew Tour Mountain Championships slopestyle and halfpipe competitions, bringing elite level athletes — many who train at the resort throughout the winter — to the mountain each year. More big mountain competitions would be another step towards recognizing Breckenridge as an extreme sports training ground, in addition to its family friendly reputation.
“I’d like to see it,” Carson said of bringing in adult or pro competition. “That’d be awesome.”
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