In honor of its 50th anniversary, Breckenridge Ski Resort spent the 2011-2012-snow season celebrating the 1,416 feet of snow and 39 million guests that have graced its slopes since opening day in December 1961. The resort, which long ago earned its stripes for being the first resort in Colorado to allow snowboarding, has since maintained a strong base of core local riders. As a part of its Spring Fever Celebration, Breckenridge hit the rewind button and took the sport back to its roots by hosting an event that reverted snowboarding back to the days of hand-plants, vintage boards, and hand-dug mini pipes.
The Rockstar Throwback Throwdown, which pitted riders across several generations against each other in a two-part pipe competition, paid homage to Breckenridge's long-standing snowboarding culture. The competitors faced off in a six-foot mini-pipe—a re-creation of the pipe that Breck had built when it hosted the 1986 World Snowboarding Championships— after throwing down in the 22-foot super-pipe.
The event saw old-school riders-some of whom competed in the 1986 World Champs- like Chris Pappas, Andy Brewer, Steve Link, and Rick Shimpeno, take on up-and-comers like Zack Black, Benji Farrow, Jake Black, Steve Fisher, Matt Cox, Elijah Teeter, Dom Harrington, and Chad Otterstrom, effectively intertwining the sport's past with its present.
The Throwdown was the brain-child of born-and-raised Breckenridge rider Jake Black- humble recipient of The Throwback Throwdown's Best Handplant Award – who still calls Breckenridge home when he isn’t off riding for sponsors LaMar, Smith, Voleurz, ThirtyTwo, me.glad, Purl, Satellite or Breck Resort itself. He has made himself a bit of a local legend, at the ripe-old-age of 23, by working hard and playing harder: snowboarder by day, life-of-the party by night.
Black’s zeal was an integral part in getting The Throwback Throwdown up and running, and he took the time to sit down with TransWorld Business and give some insight as to how the event was born, and what sets it apart from the high-flying, mega-watt events that have come to dominate the world of snowboarding competitions.
Give us a run-down of how the Throwback went down:
The event was a two-part pipe event covering the history of snowboarding and halfpipes. Breck’s first pipe event was held in 1986 [The Snowboard World Championships] and was completely hand dug; while today's pipes are machine cut and stand at a monstrous 22-feet tall. The Throwback Throwdown combined the two pipes into one event. With the two generations of halfpipes built we created an event that slows down the speed at which today's pipe contest spiral by limiting the amount of spins allowed in the 22 to nothing bigger than a 540 to really emphasize style.
What inspired the contest?
The event came about as an idea to celebrate the roots that developed and created what snowboarding was and has become today. Individual style has been one of the biggest contributors to the development of snowboarding. So this event was created to emphasize individuality in riding. It also celebrates over 25 years of snowboarding in Breckenridge.
Was the community highly involved?
We put together the event with the two halfpipes from opposite ends of the spectrum, from the past and now-we wanted to include everybody and anybody that helped develop and was and is involved in snowboarding. It was amazing to bring back some of the riders from previous generations and show them what snowboarding has developed into.
How does Throwback Throwdown differ from other competitions that Breck has hosted?
This event was different from other contests anywhere on the planet. Halfpipe contests are nothing new, but the emphasis of this event was not entirely to determine who was the best that day. This event was to bring together the community that is snowboarding to enjoy some Colorado sunshine, slap some high fives, and share some smiles that will last forever.
How does it feel to go head-to-head with snowboarding legends like Chris Pappas and Andy Brewer?
Well, the craziest for me is actually that Steve Link entered the event. The first snowboard I ever rode was made by Steve Link (Summit Snowboards).
Who was responsible for that gorgeous hand-dug pipe?
The Breckenridge park crew worked their butts off to build a completely hand dug pipe days before the event. We really owe it to them. Back in the hand-dug pipe days, the competitors would show up a few days before the event just to help dig to make sure there was going to be a half pipe.
Is this contest something that will become an annual event?
With the response so far received from competitors, spectators, and friends being nothing but absolutely positive, many even stating that the Throwback turned out to be one of the funnest events ever, I can only believe that the event will grow and develop into something even bigger and better.