Skico launches new rail competition on Snowmass |

Skico launches new rail competition on Snowmass

Tae Westcott, of Aspen, hits a feature during a Big Rail Fridays event earlier this season. The competition series takes the place of Big Air Fridays and is weekly on Fanny Hill through March 27.
Jeremy Swanson/Courtesy photo |

Aspen Skiing Co. is switching things up on Fridays, literally and figuratively.

For 14 years, Skico hosted Big Air Fridays, a jump competition on Snowmass’ Fanny Hill showcasing the skills of valley skiers and snowboarders. That competition is no more, but its niche has been filled by Big Rail Fridays, a park contest that is getting even higher participation than its predecessor, according to event manager Tyler Lindsay.

Skico’s park crew built a terrain plaza with 14 different rail features on the east side of Fanny Hill, the same location where the Big Air event was but below the residential neighborhoods on that side.

“The setup’s pretty cool,” said freeskier Tae Westcott, of Aspen, one of the series’ regulars. “They put a ton of work into it.”

A freeskier mostly for film and photography, Westcott participated in Big Air Fridays for years. He says rails aren’t his specialty, but he’s having fun trying something new.

“It’s kind of about how you use the whole course to your advantage,” he said of the terrain plaza. “Getting creative is a big part of that along with technical tricks.”

Tylor Berreth, of Silverthorne, came all the way out to Snowmass for the competition on Feb. 20 and said he also loves the rails that Skico built. After winning the snowboarding division, he decided to battle the winter weather and return the following Friday, this time with a friend, Zach Ryan, of Dillon, in tow.

While some locals dominate the park week after week, visitors like Berreth and Ryan can shake things up. In fact, on Feb. 28, newcomer Ryan took home second place in the skiing division.

“You never know who’s going to end up on the podium,” Westcott said.

Cash prizes are given every week: $200 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third in the skiing and snowboarding divisions. Participants accumulate points each week with the goal of becoming the overall winner in each division and take home a $1,000 bonus.

Big Rail Fridays serves a dual purpose of not only providing a fun activity on the slopes but also entertainment for skiers and snowboarders returning to the base of Snowmass in the afternoon, Lindsay said.

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