An epic blue-bird day starts off practice for the third-annual Collegiate Nationals competitors. Keystone’s A51 Park is renowned nationwide as one of the best parks and home to some of the top riders. For the past two years, the Collegiate Nationals Freeskiing and Snowboarding Open Championships took place in Lake Tahoe, with last year’s competition held at Northstar. The Keystone park crew has set up a sick triple tabletop set ranging from 30 to 45 feet and followed by three rail lines and a showboat quarter pipe to top it all off.
The 2008 Edge® Shave Gel Collegiate Freeskiing and Snowboarding Open Championships will feature strong local Colorado competition as well as athletes from more than 15 states who have traveled to compete. The hundreds of competitors registered for the competition come from Vermont to California and include Washington, Minnesota, Utah and Nevada, among others.
Keystone’s park crew has put in a lot of effort over the past couple weeks to prepare for the competition. “The entire team pitched in and did work to prep the slopes for the competition, ” said Mikey Farnol, terrain park supervisor for Keystone. “Keystone is thrilled to host the Collegiate Nationals, and our entire team is committed to making the event as successful and fun for competitors as possible.”
According to University of Northern Colorado freestyle skiing competitor, Kyle Broughton, “The jumps are set up with a perfect spread so you don’t have to speed check and you can straight line to take it as deep as you want.”
“Though some of the universities throughout Colorado are rivals in organized sports, the culture of freeskiing and snowboarding brings these ‘rival students’ together as a big group of friends that pump each other up and are excited to share in each other’s success,” explains Buzz Benes from Colorado State University’s snowboarding team. Along with Buzz there are five other men’s competitors and three women’s competitors representing CSU.
“I wasn’t expecting the kick that the jumps are giving but Keystone amped up the jumps for a little more ‘oomph’, helping everyone just go that much bigger,” says Elise “Mikki” Couborough, a thirsty competitor from the Colorado State University snowboarding team.
MSI, Mountain Sports International, is producing the event and hope that the Collegiate Nationals gain popularity, becoming a spring break attraction not only for competitors but also for attending spectators.
“We wanted to make it a good deal for college students so we dropped the price of registration from $35 to $25, which is such a good deal considering it includes a two-day lift ticket to Keystone, lunch, Collegiate Nationals t-shirt and competition bib, invite to the after party and a overall good time,” said Jason Spencer, director of operations for MSI.
The first day of practice got off to a great start; competitors, spectators and Keystone staff and looking forward to seeing the level of competition as the action begins at 9:30 Saturday morning.
Results will be posted Saturday directly following the competition.