What Goes Up...

THURS, 3/3

Yes, what goes up must come down. But how you finesse that law makes all the difference.

The Outdoor Life Network's Gravity Games showcase people who grab Newton's law with both hands and stretch that sucker to the limits. Copper Mountain is hosting this year's competition, which starts today and runs through Sunday. Events include snowboard superpipe, boardercross, snowboard slopestyle, ski superpipe, skiercross and ski slopestyle, and will feature 200 of the world's top competitors, whose ballsy attitudes alone would turn Isaac's apple into some seriously potent hard cider.

The made-for-TV Games will be broadcast on OLN from March 27 to March 30, but catching extreme sports live offers a whole other experience. After all, there's nothing quite like the vicarious thrill of hearing a skier's jacket flap like a coked-up drum roll as its owner screams down the snow; catching the satisfying slap of a board hitting the ground after a perfect trick is nailed; or recoiling from the more muffled, multi-tonal thwump of someone tumbling through a not-so-perfect landing.

"The boardercross and skiercross finals are visible from the base village," says the Games' Lauren Pelletreau, "but superpipe and slopestyle are best seen from the mountain. We're encouraging people to take the lift up." If you don't plan to ski or ride, a $5 foot pass will get you to a place where you can walk to the venue.

Downtown Frisco turns into a block party Friday night for the Rail Jam, when athletes throw tricks on a specially constructed rail in town. Saturday afternoon's free concert at Copper's base village features hip-hop artists Jurassic 5 and rock band the Walkmen. For information, go to www.gravitygames.com. -- Shara Rutberg

Skiing, Consarnit!
Steamboat takes it back to the old school.
SAT, 3/5

Making skis is serious business. Aside from such obvious concerns as shape and size, designers must choose among a variety of materials when constructing the optimal ski. The most commonly used materials are aluminum and fiberglass, but ski-makers have been known to incorporate Kevlar, titanium, carbon and boron fibers. Wood still plays a part, but it's generally used as a filler, a light material to keep down the overall weight of the ski.

Not like back in the day. The original downhill pioneers damn near strapped entire tree trunks to their feet, doggedly steering them like great monoliths across entire mountain ranges. Back then, men were men, and people had to ski uphill, both ways, in the snow. And they were grateful. Steamboat Springs remembers those days, and enthusiasts will honor them during the town's Wooden Ski Festival. The fun begins this morning at 9 a.m. at Columbine Cabins (at the base of Hahns Peak) and stretches long into the night. Activities include a pine-tarring clinic, a wooden-ski relay, a retro ski-costume contest, a potluck dinner and live music. Tickets, $35, are available by calling Leslie Lovejoy at 1-970-879-8710. We wooden miss it! -- Adam Cayton-Holland