Otterstrom wins more than leftover turkey |

Otterstrom wins more than leftover turkey

Richard Chittick
Special to the Daily/Copper Mountain ResortPaul Cotter of the Breckenridge Freeride Team hits a fun box in the Copper Mountain terrain park Friday. Cotter finished second in the Leftover Yams and Jive Turkey Jam, a rail competition sponsored by the resort.

Early Friday afternoon, Chad Otterstrom launched his snowboard onto a picnic table behind Copper Mountain’s Solitude Station and started spinning.

As he slid from one picnic table to another table next to it, he continued twisting in circles.

By the time he hit the ground on the other side, he had spun three complete revolutions and the crowd erupted behind him.

With that trick, the Breckenridge Freeride Team snowboarder won Copper’s first annual Leftover Yams and Jive Turkey Jam rail competition.

The free competition was held in the resort’s temporary terrain park found on the Bittersweet trail at the top of the American Eagle lift.

“You just have to get on it and spin,” said Otterstrom, who won $250 with his victory. Otterstrom has been working on the trick for several days.

Otterstrom’s teammate, skier Paul Cotter, finished second in the contest which was judged by members of the Copper Mountain Freeride Team and by spectators.

“It’s good to come out and throw down a bit,” Cotter said.

The podium was rounded out by skier John Crichton in third, while snowboarder Cordell Crosby qualified as a fourth finalist.

Cotter won $150 while Crichton won $50.

The course consisted of four features spread on two different lines. One line featured a flat rail and the picnic tables that Otterstrom hit, while the other featured an A-frame and a long fun box.

Cotter’s best run consisted of approaching the flat rail switch, sliding it, landing switch and maintaining the backwards stance onto the picnic tables where he launched a 540 to land regular.

Crosby likely would have won the event after stomping the A-frame feature and the box smoother than any of the other finalist on his first run, but fell hard off of the flat rail on his second.

Nearly two hours before the finals, 75 competitors vied for one of 12 semifinal spots. The competitors were judged in an open format as they hit the tricks over and over again.

Nick Mercon, Joe Vallone and Dena Melinn of the Copper Freeride Team kept a close eye on everyone as they hit the four features.

Skiers were competing with snowboarders and men were competing with women in the event.

Five skiers and seven snowboarders advanced to the semifinals, though all of them were men, a fact that at least one woman felt compelled to point out to event promoter Ben Friedland, who works for Copper Mountain.

Friedland noted that one of the three judges was a woman, and also told the competitor that he would address the issue before the next event.

The event came together in six days after Friedland spent last Saturday brainstorming ways to promote Copper’s early season terrain park.

“We wanted to offer something fun,” Friedland said. “There’s a lot of people really excited about our park right now. They’ve told us they want something like this, so we’re offering it.”

Though a date hasn’t been set yet, Friedland is planning more competitions like the Leftover Yams and Jive Turkey Jam. A potential title sponsor even stepped forward during the competition, which would allow the resort to continue hosting the events free-of-charge.

In December, the park will be moved to its permanent location on the Loverly trail under the American Flyer lift.

Copper opens beginner park

A new, beginner terrain park will open at the top of the High Point trail today at Copper Mountain.

The park, which was finished yesterday afternoon by terrain park crew chief Doug Hagen, features several small jumps and a rail.

According to Friedland, the park is designed for children and beginners to build basic skills before hitting the more advanced features found on the Bittersweet trail at the top of the American Eagle lift.

“You don’t have to be a professional to find excitement and enjoyment in sliding a rail,” he said. “So we wanted everyone to have the opportunity.”

Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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