I should’ve known I was in trouble when I was greeted by a media woman with a 200-tooth smile and leopard cowboy hat that just screamed freeskier. I’d already spoken to Chad Otterstrom who’d informed me that the event promoters wouldn’t let anyone hit the jump because something was up with the scaffolding. Leopard-hat woman assured me this was ridiculous, there was nothing wrong with the jump, and suggested I drive a half hour back to Denver to the hotel where I wasn’t staying as they weren’t going to open the doors to the show until four o’clock.”Four o’clock?” I questioned. “Aren’t the doors supposed to open at one?” She responded with a grimace, or it may have been a smile (the teeth were blinding anyway), and informed me that no one was allowed in the venue, not giving me another reason. It’s a little like when you’re a kid and your mom just says, “No,” and you ask, “Why,” and she says, “Because,” no justification needed.Hmmm, so at this point they are claiming no problem, and I’m wondering if the 4,000 kids I passed on my way in are in any way annoyed about having to stand outside the gates for another three hours.
Luckily, out of the corner of my eye I spotted Jussi Oksanen heading through the media tent, so I coerced him into sneaking me into the forbidden depths of Red Rocks Ampitheatre, where the Red Bull Rock ‘N’ Air was to take place. He mentioned that he was going to be super bummed if they cancelled the thing because he’d flown all the way from Argentina for it, and he really just wanted to be home in Finland.
I get in, I shoot some photos of the ramp and its sagging scaffolding, and head to the skate ramp. I also heard a rumor that the fire marshal ordered the snow to be removed from the ramp so it wouldn’t collapse on the crowd. Thus, 30 guys shoveling snow off of the landing obviously meant no one was going to be hitting it.
As luck would have it, the skate ramp was up and running and Tony Hawk was stomping the 900. So, in the long and short of it, the skateboarding, BMXing, and concerts (including Pennywise, 311, and Long Beach Dub All Stars) were killer. But the lack of snowboarding definitely took the life out of it for me, and probably for the kids I met from New Mexico, who had driven six hours to watch the “Big Air.” At least the organizers paid out the 50,000-dollar prize money, splitting it evenly between the athletes. Regardless, it seemed like this event could’ve been planned with a little more foresight and organization. See what happens when you leave a bunch of skiers in charge!-Cathy Cohen