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Friday, April 25, 2014
Breckenridge to host Pro ‘Big Air’ competition with Olympians Saturday
As part of closing weekend festivities, Breckenridge Ski Resort will host a number of its Epic Pro Team members — including four recent Sochi Olympians — for a special “big air” exhibition and autograph signing Saturday, April 26.
Officials said it’s a great opportunity for to see some big-name and up-and-coming athletes throw down some big tricks in the resort’s terrain park.
“It should be fun,” Breckenridge communicatons coordinator Alysa Hetze told the Daily. “We’re really excited to be able to showcase our talent on the Epic Pro Team.”
Saturday’s Epic Pro Team Big Air Showdown will take place on the large slopestyle jump at the bottom of the resort’s Freeway Terrain Park, located above the base area of Peak 8. The event will be immediately followed by an athlete meet-and-greet and autograph signing.
Breckenridge locals and multiple X Games medalists Bobby Brown and Keri Herman will headline the big-air jam session. Both were on the inaugural U.S. Olympic freeskiing team earlier this year and made the slopestyle finals at the Sochi Games. Fellow Breckenridge local and U.S. team snowboarder Eric Willett also is expected to attend. Willet recently recovered from a cracked vertebra in his back, which he suffered during the Olympic qualifier at Copper Mountain Resort earlier this winter. He is reportedly recovering from an unrelated surgery and not expected to compete, but will be on hand for the competition and autograph signing. Olympians Rebecca “Possum” Torr, of New Zealand, and American Faye Gulini are also scheduled to attend, along with a handful of other top athletes sponsored by the Vail Resorts. Torr competed in snowboard slopestyle at Sochi, and Gulini placed fourth for the U.S. in snowboard cross.
The event will be more of jam session exhibition showcasing the team’s big-air talent rather than a true competition.
“We’re trying to keep it very informal,” Hetze said.
The large kicker jump that will be used for the Big Air Showdown is on the same line that was used earlier in the season for the two U.S. Olympic team qualifiers that Breckenridge hosted — the Dew Tour and U.S. Grand Prix.
Vail Resort’s Epic Pro Team is a combination of athletes from each of the Vail-owned resorts across the globe. The team consists of 43 sponsored athletes in a variety of winter disciplines. In addition to Brown and Herman, the team also includes Olympians Mark McMorris, Torstein Horgmo and Americans David Wise and Mikaela Shiffrin. Each Vail-owned and -operated mountain previously had its own pro teams; they were combined into one earlier this year.
This will be the first event of its kind for Breckenridge. The showdown is scheduled to run from 2-3 p.m. with the autograph session immediately afterward. The resort will also host a closing-day Luau — complete with pig roast — from noon-4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Copper Mountain also is closing this weekend and will have limited operations Friday through Sunday.