Josh Toedt flies high during a big air competition Sunday at Howelsen Hill.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Josh Toedt flies high during a big air competition Sunday at Howelsen Hill.

Steamboat event offers Big Air for the everyman

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— It lacked the scale of the Freestyle Junior Nationals and the tricks of the Steamboat Park Challenge events.

But there was a casual, fun nature about Sunday’s Snowboarders and Skiers for Christ Big Air and trick event at Howelsen Hill that neither of those more serious contests can manage, however.

For instance, none of the future Olympians that took to Steamboat Springs in the Junior Nationals spent time trying to figure out how to ride a sled off a park rail.

“We made the most of the spring conditions,” director Danny Tebbenkamp said.

About a dozen athletes took turns throwing down their biggest tricks or their most ridiculous ideas. The competitors ranged in skill. A few were talented enough to pull off the spins and flips that’d be at home in any local Big Air competition. Others appeared to be taking to kickers and rails for the first time, beginning with tentative rides on jumps, just happy to land, and then ending with a grab or a trip down a rail.

It all went down in front of a revolving group of several dozen friends and family members and to the tune of announcers who assigned names to the spins, flips and twists they witnessed with an impromptu spirit that’d make Will Ferrell proud.

Through it all, the smiles were wide and the laughs were contagious.

“We just wanted it to be about loving people and giving people the opportunity to show their skill and be positive about it all,” Tebbenkamp said. “We intend to do this every year, so hopefully we can build on it.”

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