We be jammin’ Thursday

Aspen Times Staff Report

The 2004 Bud Light Spring Jam returns to Aspen and Snowmass on Thursday and will be “jampacked with events intended to appeal to everybody,” said event organizer Nancy Scheinkman.

The first NEPSA Awards (that’s Aspen, backwards) kicks things off Thursday night at the Wheeler Opera House. The KickAspen Big Air contest takes center stage at the base of Aspen Mountain Friday night, and the downtown Core Party, with the Wylde Bunch (as well as go-go and break-dancers) highlights Saturday night’s events.

Founded four years ago to celebrate the lifting of the snowboarding ban on Aspen Mountain ” April 1, 2001, as every self-respecting boarder will recall ” Spring Jam was shifted to March this year to catch more of the spring-break crowd, Scheinkman said. Additionally, instead of two weeks of Spring Jam like in years past, this year’s event is going for “quality over quantity,” she said.

The NEPSA awards will showcase documentary lifestyle videos featuring and produced by action-sports athletes such as snowboarders Chris Klug, Chad Otterstrom and Mitch Stout, and skiers Peter Olenick, Chris Anthony and Kiffor Berg. Additionally, Josh Malay, who died last month after a freak fall while snowboarding in Spain, will have his video shown as a tribute.

The best film will win the first NEPSA award and $3,000. The event is free and open to the public; call the Wheeler at 920-5770 for tickets.

“The athletes are in charge of the films,” said Scheinkman. “We’ve turned complete creative control over to them.”

Additionally, 16 local artists will be displaying their DISCulpture Challenge renderings during intermission at the NEPSA Awards. The sculptures will be made almost entirely ” what’s visible anyway ” from CDs.

Friday’s KickAspen Big Air Invitational will feature high-flying action under the lights at the base of Ajax.

Skiers slated to compete include X Games competitors Steele Spence of Snowmass Village, Olenick of Carbondale and Nick Mercon of Copper Mountain. Olenick’s younger brother, Michael, will also be in the hunt, along with Aspen freeskier Berg, Dillon’s Ted Davenport (who won the Freeride Series Championship at Snowmass on Saturday), Heath Ordway, John Reedy, John Kozody, Charles Gagnier, Chris Biolo, Stephen Smith, John Lafferty, Matt Terral and Andrew Wicks.

The snowboarder field includes Doran Laybourn, Stout, Teddy Karlinski, Andrew Stewart, Rob Bak, Jamie Culp, Avery Karas, Mike Young, Justin Bartle, Jesse Wright, Erkko Alm and Cody Frickey.