OLN’s Gravity Games: A success or a failure? | AspenTimes.com

OLN’s Gravity Games: A success or a failure?

Kim Marquis, Jennifer Huffman and Nicole Formosa
Summit County correspondents

More than 44,000 people showed up to Copper over four days, according to event organizers. The figure includes day skiers who may not have visited the resort for the event.

Some locals were positioned to cash in on the Gravity Games, but others were, literally, not positioned so well.

– Lisa Tousey, owner of Deli Belly’s sandwich shop and Farley’s Chophouse ” both on Main Street, said sales were strong through the weekend. Outdoor Life Network (OLN), which brought the event to Summit County, reserved the entire restaurant at Farley’s Friday night, making for a guaranteed financial success at the steakhouse.

– At The Lazy Lizard, located at the base of the center village at Copper, buser Brandon Steusloff opened more than 1,000 beers in an hour and a half and collected more than $100 in tips on Saturday during the busy afternoon rush.

– “For a weekend, it was a bit slower,” said Taylor Edmonds, manager at Breeze/Max Rentals in the center village at Copper. “In the paper, people saw that it was going to be busy so they stayed away.”

– SureFoot manager/partner Carl Palileo said the tent in front of his business next to Jack’s in the center village might have impacted business. But he also thought the parking plan might have kept people away from Copper.

“The satellite parking might have scared people away,” Palileo said. “The Front Range business didn’t come.”

“It was absolutely fantastic overall from a parking and transportation perspective,” said Thad Noll, assistant county manager. “There were no cars that had to be towed, and there was still parking available at the resort.”

Noll said the Summit Stage carried nearly three times its normal heavy weekend traffic.

Noll also noted that a lot of the Copper Mountain employees found that taking the bus from the transfer center in Frisco worked out better than driving to work every day, and many plan to ride on a daily basis now.

“In my business, no news is good news,” said County Commissioner Bill Wallace. “I never got called over the weekend and had no e-mails or phone messages this morning concerning problems. Had there been a problem or complaints, we would have heard about it for sure.”

“It was quite a bit different than the Cardboard Derby, where it was a real zoo,” Wallace said. “We asked Copper Mountain to coordinate better as far as parking and emergency service personnel and apparently that did occur.”

Ben Friedland, marketing director for Copper Mountain, said the resort was overprepared when it came to parking and transportation issues, but the planning was worth the effort.

He said there were about 500-700 cars parked in the outlying parking lots on Saturday, the event’s busiest day. Buses were full coming into the resort over the course of the four-day event.

Pedestrian flow at the games went smoothly as well; however, a slight jam was encountered after the Jurassic 5 concert.

“When we had 5,000-6,000 people flowing out of the resort, it became a little challenging,” Friedland said.

The resort is planning for the Gravity Games to return to Copper Mountain next year.

“Things were very well managed, and we’re really pleased,” Friedland said. “We feel very strongly that it was a success.”

Friedland said resort officials will re-evaluate this year’s event, including the location of the halfpipe at mid-mountain.

According to incident reports from over the weekend, deputies responded to:

– A theft of a pair of goggles at the Fall Line ski shop.

– An assault at Pravda Vodka Bar involving the bar’s door person and an individual who had been allegedly excluded from Copper Mountain property.

– Disorderly conduct at The Lazy Lizard bar.

– A report of two men trying to start a fight. Deputies were able to track down one man who matched a description from Copper Mountain Security and, after a short struggle, arrested him.

– A report of criminal mischief at the Mountain Plaza Building. A man was arrested after a deputy witnessed him walk through a plate glass door causing it to shatter.

– A report of an intoxicated driver in the Alpine parking lot. The driver was arrested for driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .175. Two of the aforementioned incidents involved possession of marijuana.

During the Gravity Games Rail Jam on Friday night in Frisco, a report from town Officer Michael Sineni said he saw a young man lighting firecrackers and throwing them into the crowd. The suspect, who is a juvenile, was taken to the Summit County Justice Center in Breckenridge, where he was released to his mother.

The Colorado State Patrol, which was responsible for assisting with traffic outside the resort, issued a few traffic citations, but Sgt. Tim Maestas said it wasn’t as busy as they expected.

Copper Mountain Fire Chief Scott Randolph was unavailable to comment.


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