1997 Telluride Boarderfest

April 10th through 12th was Boarderfest weekend in Telluride, Colorado. The resort area sponsored the first annual event to celebrate Telluride’s 10 year anniversary for snowboarding.

Telluride Sports, Paragon, and Fly Me to the Moon Saloon teamed with Telski to make it all happen. The event brought over a hundred competitors from around the region to compete in 5 divisions for $15,000 in cash and prizes with disciplines including BoarderCross, Slopestyle, and a Big Air contest. Top qualifiers from the first two disciplines were invited to compete in the Big Air.

The BoarderCross course was pretty nice with a few kickers, pro-jumps, banked turns, and a table top into the finish line. A battle of six in each heat with three advancing left Lucas Dehmlow of Gunnison, CO in first place in the Men’s 18-19 division. Rippin’ Rhonda Doyle of Avon, CO ousted other top competitors to win the Women’s division. Old schoolin’ and blastin’ from the pastin’ Dave Dowd showed up to compete in the BoarderCross and cruise with his family, but unfortunately he didn’t make it to the winner’s circle.

The Slopestyle competition went off pretty well. There were three good sized jumps and one smaller one. A lot of the competitors showed tremendous talent and were spinning 3’s, 5’s, 7’s, Mysty’s, Rodeo’s, front flips, back flips, and huge air-to-fakies with no problem. Local amateur talent was truly impressive. Colorado sure breeds ’em right. Doran Laybourn of Carbondale, CO stuck his run nicely and won the Men’s division while Kate Moriarty of Vail, CO came out on top in the Women’s division.

Hundreds of spectators showed up for the Big Air contest. After the first inspection of the jumps, the field size dropped dramatically. Those who qualified, but knew they would be pushing a level beyond their capabilities, wisely backed away. Even a $2,000 winner take all purse couldn’t persuade some would be victims to huck themselves 40 to 60 feet down the hill.

Three different sized jumps provided the adrenaline rush for the 10 or so men and 5 women competing. Snow Peterson of Vail, CO went back flippin’ and swan diving for the big money. Too bad a one and a half doesn’t count as much in snowboarding as it does in diving. She somehow managed to unfold herself and slide down to the bottom of therun, but ski patrol still ended up carting her away. Kate Moriarty won the two grand by sticking a big clean Method off of the middle sized jump.

In the Men’s division, Telluride local star Thomas “Sniglet” Paffel made it to the finals by landing huge laid out back flips off of the largest jump. Unfortunately, he came up short out of his last one, caught his front edge on reentry, and snigged third. Doran Laybourn of Carbondale, CO won the big air with a styled out 720. Coming in a close second was Lucas Dehmlow who threw super sick grabbed 7’s. Unfortunate for Lucas, his final run didn’t include a 7 and the 360 he spun was too conservative for the win.

Overall awards went to Laybourne and Shelly Uekert of Telluride who went zipping away on a trip for two to Phoenix. We still don’t know why that was the overall prize and what a snowboarder can do in Phoenix.

Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the first annual Telluride Boarderfest was a success. The organizers competent skills and the impressive level of competition certainly make this small town a big place visit.