On Tuesday Vail Resorts hosted a media shindig at Earl's downtown, part of the kickoff for the SIA Snow Show in town this week, and I took the opportunity to rib Keystone PR rep Katie Adamson about my longstanding grudge against the area, one of the last Colorado resorts to come around to allowing snowboarders on its slopes. That's ancient history at this point, but a grudge is a grudge: Keystone wouldn't allow me on the mountain for the first ten years I was riding, and I've only been once or twice since. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
Although Keystone was about a decade behind most other Colorado resorts -- and two decades behind Ski Cooper and Berthoud Pass (RIP) -- Adamson pointed out that those days were both well before her time and well before the area was under the Vail Resorts umbrella, and that the mountain is now a snowboarder's paradise with a superpipe, the A51 Terrain Park, three jump lines, sponsored riders like Andreas Wiig, and some of the best natural terrain in Colorado.
Kristen Petitt, the PR rep from Breckenridge, cut Adamson's spiel short to point out that, ahem, Breck is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a snowboarding mecca this year.
Breck hosted the World Snowboard Classic -- "The Worlds" -- at the end of that first season, in 1986 (the year I started snowboarding, for anyone keeping score), and it's been the best mountain for snowboarding in Colorado ever since, as far as she's paid to be concerned. Petitt went on: Breck has hosted the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour for two years running, has five terrain parks on the mountain this season, and sponsors the likes of Steve Fisher, JJ Thomas, and Mike Cassanova.
Just because both resorts are owned by the same company doesn't mean the rivalry for Summit County supremacy has died down, apparently: Get a few drinks in these PR people and they'll go to war for your snowboarding dollars. Decision? Breck, hands down. But I'll be doubling back by Keystone this season for another look -- it's been a long while -- at Adamson's urging.
In the meantime, here's a 24 year-old clip from The Worlds to help put some perspective on Breck's claim to its snowboarding roots. For those of you bitching that Breck's 18-foot superpipe can't hold a candle to the new Olympic-sized 22-footers, get a load of that ditch they were riding in 1986! We've come a long way, baby.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.