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From a pedestrian perspective, Colorado is a snowboarder's paradise. The state is known for its world-class terrain parks, prevalent mountains, and major university located at the base of them, but there are certain attributes that provide challenges which give the state a bad rap in certain circles.

Having grown up in Colorado, gone to college here, and since spent a large amount of my time on a snowboard outside the state, I've come to grasp both sides of the polarizing debate. But to me, the three factors in Colorado-bashing I can empathize with are I-70's heinous traffic, lack of a cohesive snowboard scene, and high avalanche danger. The latter is negligible in the regard to Trick Ditch, the event I set out to recap and ended up tangentially trying to explain the significance of.

The first two, however, are important to understand in grasping why Trick Ditch is part of the solution, not the problem. Located about a half hour above Boulder, Eldora, the event's venue, is well removed from the I-70 junkshow. When you pull into the parking lot, there's no shuttle to drop you off at a resort village filled with retail and condos, you're already at the bottom of the lifts.

The view from the top of the Trick Ditch course. Cones reminiscent of a ’70s skate slalom designated the first turns. PHOTO: Aaron Dodds

And if you took the Poma on April 7th, you'd have found yourself atop a course designed by respected park builder Kyle Markman. The top portion is what would be referred to as a banked slalom; the bottom would perhaps best be described as a two mini-pipes side by side. The setup mimicked the iconic ramp seen in The Search for Animal Chin and created three hips, a spine transfer and rail option.

Trick Ditch, as an event, is actually two--banked slalom by morning, ramp jam by afternoon. The AM attraction is timed, the PM portion judged. Contrary to a typical banked slalom format, which determines its winner based on the best of two runs, often in a finals round, each competitor took a total of two runs with times for both combined to determine the ultimate result. Not surprisingly, it was defending champion Jake Black who made it down the course quickest, while the fastest woman on-hill was Christy Prior.

Visiting from Utah, Cody Lee came to rips berm and crank methods. PHOTO: Aaron Dodds

Top honors in the judged jam portion went to riders who also podiumed in the timed event. The best snowboarder you’ve never heard of, who I like to refer to as the poor man’s Pat Moore, Tim Rechetniak, is an all-around ripper who took the spot in men’s open class of the banked slalom and nabbed first place in the jam. Also worth noting is that Tim’s fiance won the women’s open class. Power couple.┬áThe multi-discipline domination wasn’t limited to the men’s side, however, as Laura Hadar, in from the Roaring Fork Valley, put down the second fastest women’s time of the day and won the jam with the powerful approach she built a career on.

Outside of the results--the promise of which is only a catalyst to get people together to snowboard--I see Trick Ditch as a gathering of snowboarders that I hope will play a role in fostering a scene that has been fragmented in Colorado. Events are important for the health of any snowboard community. The grassroots type that allow participation from not just professionals are especially critical, and to add Trick Ditch to a growing list of those happening here, like Love Games and Slash & Burn, will, I think, benefit Colorado snowboarding as a whole.

An excellent crail off the center hip in the mini-pipe performed by Tim Rechetniak on a who-knows-how-old Ride DH. PHOTO: Aaron Dodds

Each time I attend an event in the Northwest, whether it be the Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom, Big Wave Challenge, Dirksen Derby, Smash Life, or otherwise, I marvel at the lifestyle so many in that region are able to build around snowboarding. Whether it’s professional or amateur riders, those in an industry role, or snowboarders making a living through some other avenue entirely, people come together on numerous weekends each season because of a common interest in snowboarding and an uncommon passion for it. Sure, you can surround yourself with plenty of fellow snowboarders while waiting in a Summit County lift line, but how many of those care about it in the same way that those waiting to drop into the Trick Ditch course do?

Results:

Men’s Elite
1. Jake Black
2. Morris Hogan
3. Tyler Emond

Women’s Elite
1. Christy Prior
2. Laura Hadar
3. Elizabeth Beerman

Men’s Open
1. Tim Rechetniak
2. Taylor Boyd
3. Nick Larson

Women’s Open
1. Jenna Shlachter
2. Brianna Boyers
3. Genevieve Lillis

Men’s 35+
1. Matthew Koning
2. Brent Meyer
3. Tyler Costin

Women’s 35+
1. Jodi Koning
2. Meghan O’Toole
3. Shana Robins

Full results here.