Let the Games Begin!

In 1972, Colorado became the first and last site to ever turn down the Olympics, after a statewide vote put the kibosh on holding the 1976 Winter Games here. But this weekend, Colorado gets back in the game at the Red Bull 1976 Games at Copper Mountain. Created by Red Bull as a way to pay homage to the Olympics that never were, the event combines outrageous ’70s-style skiwear with big-air tricks.

Since January, teams have been competing in qualifiers around the country to make it to the big time; the No Tall T’s Just Short Skis crew earned its slot with a first-place win at Winter Park. The team’s leader is 21-year-old University of Colorado student Micah Starkey, who feels like he missed out by not being alive in the ’70s – and is going all out now. The team name is a crack at his roommate, a pro snowboarder who wears really long “gangster” T-shirts, as well as a nod to the tiny snow blades they race in. And for the Old School Air contest, team members actually found old-school ’70s skis. “We went to this shop in Breck and the owner took us around back, and there was a pile of old skis,” Starkey says. “We found some and put bindings on them. They’re a good foot and a half longer than what I’m used to.”

Look for Starkey at today’s opening ceremony. He’ll be the guy parading in blue bell-bottom ski pants, a tight red and black sweater, a ’fro and a “really gross mustache.” On Saturday, the games coincide with Sunsation – Copper’s end-of-season bash that celebrates sunshine and snow with free live music, including Mix Master Mike at 3:30 p.m. and DJ Z-Trip at 5:30 p.m. For all the details, go to www.coppersunsation.com or www.redbullusa.com/1976games.
April 11-12; Fri., April 17; April 18-19, 2009

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Jessica Centers