"We weren't really surprised by the response from the snowboard community, and there was a little bit of a misconception when we first went to market with a pre-sale for industry members coming to the SIA Snow Show," says KieAnn Brownell, president of the Metro Denver Sports Commission. "Still, we've listened to the response and adjusted the prices accordingly, because we wanted to hit the holiday sales opportunity and we want people to be excited about this event."
"You have to understand that the target demographic is a little different when you bring an event like this to an urban market," Brownell continues. "The whole idea is to expand the market and broaden the audience. Look, we realize there's no charge for the X Games and some of these other events, and that snowboarders have come to think they should be free, but keep in mind that it costs a lot of money to drive to Aspen and stay in Aspen. We feel like these events are competitively priced with other events in the market, and, above all, we're really excited to be bringing this to Denver. It's going to be an amazing event, and we're going to have a big announcement about some of the musical performances in the next week."
Although Brownell doesn't have a list of confirmed athletes yet, she says she's been working with FIS and X Games promoters to ensure that many of the top skiers and snowboarders will be competing.
"We don't really see Denver Big Air as competing with the X Games," Brownell says. "It's more of a complementary thing, and we like to think that a rising tide raises all ships. It made sense to schedule this to coincide with SIA and the X Games when a lot of the athletes and industry leaders will be in town."
Still too rich for your blood after you expended all of your expendable income on gear and season passes? The Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix events next week at Copper Mountain (December 8-11) are free for spectators, as are the Nike 6.0 Open Winter Dew Tour events at Breckenridge (December 16-19) and the Winter X Games at Buttermilk (January 27-30).