Cutter’s Cup riders are hitting huge walls |

Cutter’s Cup riders are hitting huge walls

BRECKENRIDGE – Hitting a wall takes on a new meaning for anyone on Peak 8 this weekend.

The second annual Snowboarder Magazine Cutter’s Cup is in progress and 100 of the best snowboarders in North America are hitting every feature imaginable, from enormous jumps to staircases to walls.

The best terrain park design teams had 30 hours Thursday and Friday to build the most innovative features they could come up with in different areas of the Peak 8 Freeway Terrain Park, and all day Saturday and today, riders will put the park to the test.

“The designers aren’t really testing us,” said Aspen’s Ryan Lougee, who is competing all weekend in a camouflage mask he said is his sunscreen with a creepy flare. “They’re trying to make sure their stuff is legit enough for us. Everybody can go so big off of jumps and do such crazy tricks off of rails these days, they have to take it to the next level for us if we’re going to bring it to the next level. Or everything is just going to stay routine.”

Lougee was going big off a feature called the wall ride, designed by the team from Mammoth and June Mountain, Calif. The wall is made from wood, stands about 20 feet tall and has a rail slide at the top. On one of Lougee’s trips up it, he caught a nail at the top and unwittingly did a hand plant before spinning his way down, staying on his board all the while. He said the wall, and many features built for snowboarding, are derivatives of skateboard park features, only a lot bigger.

“That’s what jibbing’s all about, really,” Lougee said. “It’s like skating and the manipulation of your board and doing weird stuff. So, the wall helps you because you can do anything on it. You can slide around on it or ride all the way up to the top and do a lip trick and slide along the top or ride straight up and down. There’s a lot of different options. I’m not sure it’s a contest here. I’m not competing; I’m the guy that likes to put on a good show.”

Coincidentally, the best show is what will make one rider $10,000 richer this weekend. Also, at the end of the event, riders will submit their own ballots judging which park designers’ features they liked the best and the top team will win $7,500.

“Breckenridge is going to win, right?” said Breck rider Chad Otterstrom of the hometown park design team consisting of Elliot Cone, Brad Hoerter and jib tester Tim Eastley. The Breck team designed a couple of the biggest jumps in the park, which, as of early Saturday, were still scaring many riders.

“Everyone’s just warming up right now,” said Otterstrom, who the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) recently banned from USSA and FIS-sanctioned snowboarding contests due to testing positive for methylphenidate, a drug Otterstrom said he obtained by prescription. Otterstrom won the Breckenridge Grand Prix halfpipe contest in January but was stripped of his win due to the suspension, which he is currently trying to appeal. He is still able to compete in events such as the Cutter’s Cup, the Van’s Triple Crown series and the Games. As for the Cutter’s Cup Saturday, Otterstrom was throwing some impressive spins off the wall ride and agreed that park features are constantly evolving.

“You have to guinea pig it,” he said. “These are bigger than normal. (Park evolution means) bigger jumps, more technical rails and bigger halfpipes.”

Of course, for some riders, it’s possible for features to be too big and too unstable.

“I look for well-built stuff that’s very nice looking,” said Doran Laybourn, whose hometown design team from Park City, Utah, is responsible for the 54-stair rail at the base of the Cutter’s Cup park. “If it looks sketchy, you don’t really want to do it – some janky-looking stuff that looks like it hasn’t had much time put into it. All this stuff here is really well made. The (jumps) aren’t too big, but they’re not the kind of jumps where you have the best day of your life because there’s a lot of fear involved. You’re going so fast that you’re not really in control.”

The Cutter’s Cup continues today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Peak 8 in Breckenridge. Spectators are welcome and may ride Chair 7 for free as foot passengers.

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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