No, thats not a new skyscraper going up in Civic Center Park. This week is officially Mile High Snow Week, with the SnowSports Industries America Snow Show taking over the Colorado Convention Center but even at 5,280 feet, Denver is still 100 feet shy of the ramp requirements for the Fédération International De Ski (FIS) Snowboard World Cup Big Air competition, which calls for an enormous takeoff tower. Hence all those steel trusses and scaffolding across from the Denver City and County Building.
Its really big, says Sue Baldwin, spokeswoman for the Denver Sports Commission. The FIS World Cup has never been in the United States before, much less in Denver. Theres a great convergence of snowsports athletes and industry in town this week, and this is a great opportunity to show the world how much we embrace skiing and snowboarding around here. And you wont believe it when you see what these guys will be doing on that ramp.
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The action kicks off today with a Battle of the Brands ski contest pitting team riders from a dozen companies (including Denver-based Icelantic Skis) against one another, followed by the Nature Valley Big Air Challenge ski competition and a concert by Switchfoot. The main event is tomorrow, when the music headliner will be OneRepublic and snowboarders representing Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States will throw down for FIS World Cup ranking points. And you can root for the locals: Of the nine riders representing the U.S. delegation, three of them are from Colorado: Bret Esser (Breckenridge), Broc Waring (Vail) and Jake LaRue (Lord).
Tickets for Denver Big Air start at $45 per day, or $80 for a two-day pass; for more info, go to www.denverbigair.com.
Tue., Jan. 25, 5-8 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 26, 5-10 p.m., 2011