Living in the mountains, I am always getting involved with events happening in the local ski and snowboard scene. Having a mountain right in my backyard has made for some amazing early morning powder days, and I’ve been lucky enough to even cover some stories on the slopes from time to time. Doing interviews on the chairlift may be one of the coolest things around…
CHILL “Throwdown” does just that
BY, Ashley Dickson
ECHO MOUNTAIN — To many, the sound of scrapping metal is like nails on a chalkboard. But, to those who shred the park at Echo Mountain, the sound of metal snowboard edges against snow-rimmed rails and boxes is comparable to a symphonic masterpiece.
The first ever “Throw Down and Shred-a-thon,” a rail jam and lap-a-thon contest to benefit the Denver Chill program, may have well been the first official concert of spring, and participants ages 9 to 45 ripped the park to add to the harmonic blend of metal scrapping.
“It was our first time with this event and things couldn’t have gone smoother,” Chill outreach coordinator Adam Kentworthy said. “We want to get people informed on what the program does and it seems like the kids had a lot of fun too.”
Started in 1995, with the help of Jake Burton and Burton Snowboards, Chill is an intervention program for under-served youth from around the Denver community.
Over the course of six week the kids learn to master the art of snowboarding while feeling engaged, valued and respected.
“We really try to teach the kids patience and persistence,” said Dana Beckwith, a Chill volunteer who also got in on the shredding action. “I think you could see that out on the hill today. People were really pushing themselves, and everyone was encouraging each other.”
Some 36 competitors came out for the rail jam, and blue skies mixed with warm sun seemed to be the perfect background for hard-core shredders and first timers alike.
In it’s first year the event raised $1,500, all of which will go directly to the Denver Chill program to help with various expenses that can quickly add up.
Chill enlists a number of local volunteers, all of whom put in hundreds of hours to make the program work both on and off the mountain. With one successful rail jam now under their belts, the crew is already brainstorming ideas for next year’s event, according to Kentworthy.
Despite being roughly half the size of most of the other riders, brothers Kuro, 10, and Shiro, 9, reveled in their first competitions, charging each feature hard.
“We thought it was going to be really tough,” Shiro said. “But, it was fun, and our dad was with us so it was easier.”
When asked if they plan to do any comps next year, both boys begin to smile from ear-to-ear.
“Yeah!” they screamed with heightened enthusiasm, proving that the next generation of shredders are already chomping at the bit for more action.