Nighttime rail jam lights up Breck at Riverwalk Center
BRECKENRIDGE ” The Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix went primetime Saturday night.
Jackson Hole’s Travis Rice and Mammoth Mountain’s Molly Aguirre took top honors ” and $5,000 in cool cash ” at the Paul Mitchell Progression Session, held under bright floodlights in Breckenridge’s Riverwalk Center.
“I had a superfun day in the pipe today, so to come to a little evening session and win a little loot is all good,” said Rice, who also took third in the superpipe qualifiers earlier in the day and will compete in today’s finals.
About two dozen snowboarders competed in the event, which was held on a man-made structure that included a down-box, a down-rail, and a down-flat-down box.
Rice virtually assured himself of a first-place finish with one of his first tricks. Less than 10 minutes into the 45-minute jam session, he threw a backflip off the launch for the down-flat-down box and landed it on the lower part of the staircase that linked the three features.
The crowd of about 1,500 spectators went wild.
According to Rice, he was simply trying to add a little variety by throwing a trick that didn’t use any of the features.
“I was actually trying to make fun of the whole thing, but I guess the judges liked it,” he said.
Joining Rice on the men’s podium were Mammoth’s Rahm Klampert in second and Breckenridge Freeride Team member Pat Milbery in third.
“This is definitely an accomplishment to be on the podium with two amazing riders like Travis and Rahm,” Milbery said.
Aguirre won the women’s competition by putting together a consistent series of slides on the down-box, unlike Rice’s flair for the flamboyant.
“It was really cool that Breckenridge did this for us,” she said.
Aguirre said it was especially fulfilling to win the rail jam after she had to sit out the superpipe competition because of a sprained ankle.
“It’s really taped up, but it really hurts to throw a twisting move so I couldn’t compete in the superpipe,” she said.
Local talent helped fill the women’s podium as well as the men’s, with Silverthorne’s Christina “C.C.” Curry finishing second and Breckenridge’s Alyson Nicklaus landing in third.
Despite the frigid temperatures, a lively throng of spectators crowded into the Riverwalk Center to watch the event, which was the first competition ever staged by the Breckenridge Ski Area within the town.
“Those guys are my heroes up there, and I get to see them right here,” said Chuck Young. The 19-year-old was on vacation from Houston and found out about the competition on Friday. “That backflip was tremendous.”
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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