SNOWMASS VILLAGE - The Bud Light Big Air Fridays series starts once more this week, and although the event is much the same, you can always expect to see some new tricks and increasingly impressive feats.
Now in its 11th year, the competition brings out athletes of all ages to show their stuff on a 40-foot jump on Fanny Hill. Competitions are every Friday for eight weeks, and the skiers and snowboarders work to garner enough points to take the series.
Snowmass Village resident Tae Westcott managed to accomplish that last year in the skiing category. Westcott has been working on some new tricks, although he didn't want to say what they are.
"I've definitely got some new stuff for this year," he said.
Westcott, who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, said he'd love to capture first place two years in a row. But the younger kids are giving the 27-year-old tough competition.
"There's a lot of new, young kids that are killing it," he said. "You've got 15-, 12-year-olds coming out of (Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club) that are amazing. They don't really have the fear factor."
Westcott is good friends with last year's second-place skier, Nate Berkel.
"Myself and Nate Berkel are getting kind of old," Westcott said. "We feel (old) compared to those guys."
One such young competitor is snowboarder Brandon Rohrbach, who participated in AVSC and just graduated from Basalt High School last year. He's attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, but he hopes to make it home a few Fridays.
Rohrbach was working on a double cork 1080 earlier this season, he said, until he broke his collarbone over the holidays. He's just about recovered but says he isn't too worried about reinjuring himself by competing in Big Air Fridays.
"It's always a factor. You're always putting it on the line," he said. "I don't really try to worry about that."
There is a cash prize for first, second and third place in both skiing and snowboarding every week as well as for the top three in each sport based on overall point accumulation.
Really, it's not about the results, though, Westcott said.
"It's all about having fun," Westcott said. "It doesn't seem as much of a contest as just hitting a jump with your friends in the afternoon."