Big ski and snowboard events on tap this weekend for winter sports fans
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the new date for the KickAspen Big Air competition. The event was postponed Friday afternoon and rescheduled for Saturday.
A big weekend is on tap for winter sports fans in Aspen.
Returning Saturday night is the KickAspen Big Air competition, which helps kickoff the Bud Light Spring Jam festival. In its 17th year, the big air competition will feature 20 invited skiers and 20 invited snowboarders going head-to-head under the lights at the base of Aspen Mountain.
There is a $5,000 purse on the line, with $1,500 going to first place. Action gets going at 8 p.m. and will include live music and a Bud Light beer garden.
Sunday in Snowmass, the fifth annual banked slalom race will take place in Garrett’s Gulch with the proceeds benefitting the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s snowboard program. Entry fees are $35 and the race is open to anyone.
Bib pick up for the banked slalom is from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the Snowmass Mall Ticket Pavilion. Racing will go into the afternoon.
While not part of Aspen Skiing Co.’s spring festival, the popular Grand Traverse ski mountaineering race is back Saturday for its 21st go. The 40-mile jaunt takes athletes from Crested Butte to Aspen and features 6,800 vertical feet of climbing. With a midnight start, winners can be expected to reach the Aspen finish early Saturday morning with remaining teams trickling in throughout the day.
A spring storm is expected to drop as much as a foot of snow in parts of the high country, which could impact the race. Should avalanche conditions become too extreme, Grand Traverse officials could decide to go with the “Grand Reverse” course, which is an out and back from Crested Butte.
A final decision isn’t expected until sometime late Friday.
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Try as he might, Cam Smith just couldn’t beat John Gaston on his home snow. So, after three straight runner-up finishes, he decided to pair up with the Aspen dynamo to take down the Audi Power of Four ski mountaineering race’s course record.