Photos: Aaron Blatt
Words: AH

$45 to watch a snowboard event? Damn … that’d better be one stacked field, right? Some kind of Olympic Pipe Finals, or special mega-pro one-off session, yeah? Wait … aren’t all of those guys are in Aspen for the X Games? While Tor, Halldór, Shaun, Seb, and the rest of the household names partied the night away up in the land where water flows like wine, 14,000 raucous fans still bought the ticket and took the ride down in Denver, coming out in masse to experience World Cup snowboarding in the capitol city.

Todd Richards tweeted before the event: “Denver Big Air … I recognize 4 names on the start list. Why this wasn’t next week is beyond me. Sick venue for a no-name event.” Todd’s right on both accounts (if 14 G came out to see unfamiliar faces, can you imagine the crowd had there been a true all-star cast?), but mostly so regarding the incredible structure that was erected in downtown for last night’s event. The 106-foot scaffolding brought on mirror images of the recent Air & Style in China—with the exception of there not being quite as many dead-panned military officials securing the perimeter, of course. Regardless, the course was pretty spectacular. And the air show, even with lacking some of the more recognizable names in snowboarding, lived up to the hyped just fine. Backside double 10s, back 12s, and even some style tricks thrown in for good pleasure all delighted the hyped (read: “Denver’ed”) audience.

A couple quick, interesting notes:

  • ~ Snow DJ Hero, Matty “This ain’t Willies!” Mo, ran the crowd. If you’re in SLC on a Weds, check.
  • ~ “Michael Macho” is the best name in snowboarding.
  • ~ Ian Thorley, Robbie Walker, and Matts Kulisek all went big.
  • ~ Listening to the announcers butcher the riders’ names was hilarious.
  • ~ The lights on the Denver City and County Building were epic. Colors changed to match the riders’ outerwear.
  • ~ Euros love plaid.

In the end, 19-year old Dutch rider, Rocco Van Straten would take home the Denver Big Air, the first World Cup Big Air event in the USA since Mt. Hood in 2004. Rocco (‘s Modern Life?) landed a couple Cab 9s (sorry, Universal Sports. There’s no such thing as a “switch cab 900″) on his first two jumps, and then brought the house down with an almost-perfect back double cork 10 for the win. Rounding out the podium were the clean style of Canada’s Zach Stone, and Austria’s Michael “Randy Savage” Macho.

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