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Catching air at Copper

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Jaxin Hoerter, 13, of Breckenridge practices spinning rotations off of a large ramp with a foam pit landing while training Thursday at Woodward at Copper.
Justin McCarty | jmccarty@vaildaily.com |

Woodward Remix

What: Woodward at Copper’s grand re-opening party

When: From Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, noon to 6 p.m., 30-minute intro sessions on the facility’s trampolines, halfpipe, and jumps, available for skate, trampoline and BMX.

How much: Free

What else: Catch the U.S. Freestyle and Snowboard team in action, along with X Games athletes doing demos and meet-and-greets.

More info: http://www.woodwardatcopper.com

COPPER — It’s just days into the ski season, and I’m feeling brave.

To be more accurate, I’m terrified, heart pumping, but determined to appear calm and collected as I take off down the swooping ramp that, I am sure, will end with my untimely demise. I gather speed, I’m weightless for a moment as my feet leave the ground, my eyes open wide … and I land on my back into a pool of fluffy foam.

It’s a typical afternoon at Woodward at Copper, an indoor training facility complete with six ramps and foam pits, trampolines, tumbling mats and a pump track. The newly renovated center, or “The Barn,” as it’s called, is the only one of its size and caliber in Colorado, and the next closest center is at Tahoe. Woodward got some major upgrades that debuted last summer, with half of the facility getting a complete overhaul. Now, $500,000 in upgrades later, Woodward is entering a new winter season.



The center kicks off its new look with a re-opening celebration, Woodward Remix, from Friday through Sunday. Woodward will celebrate the occasion with free sessions open to the public from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday through Sunday. The 30-minute introductory sessions are available for trampoline, skate and BMX and last 30 minutes. There’s no need to sign up ahead of time, as they’re available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The U.S. Freeskiing and U.S. Snowboarding teams will be on hand, as will pro-BMX riders Morgan Wade, Gary Young and X Games gold medalist Zack Warden. Also, pro-skateboarders Louie Lopez, Red Bull’s Curren Caples and X Games winner Jono Schwan will be around for demos and athlete meet-and-greets.



Bridging the gap

So what’s new at Woodward? Previously, the 19,400 square-foot facility was only for skiers and snowboarders, allowing athletes to simulate jumps and air tricks on skis and boards fit with wheels. The renovation opened the door to BMX, skateboards and slopestyle mountain bikes, in addition to skis and snowboards. The facility also has all-new wooden tracks and the addition of a beginner foam pit, a pump track designed for the development of park skills and new programs to bridge the gap and see results on snow.



“Pump track helps you get used to being on wheels, and the beginner jump is great because it helps ease you in to the jumps,” said Stephanie Sweeney, of Copper Mountain public relations. “Before, you went straight from the trampolines to the big jumps.”

Everyone using the facility must go through an intro session. If you can’t make the free sessions next weekend, attend the full-length sessions for $49. After you’ve completed the intro, you can come to drop-in sessions, still supervised by coaches, for $35.

Get some air

At Woodward, freestyle and halfpipe athletes with Olympic ambitions practice next to pint-sized kids.

Speaking of the pint-sized tumblers, during an introductory session, normally a one-hour, 45-minute group class, I was getting completely schooled by a bunch of elementary and middle school kids. Think your kid’s gymnastics class on steroids, with some skis thrown in the mix. Still, coaches walked all of us — from the most daredevil fifth-graders throwing flip-twist combos, to the most timid middle school girls, to the stiff-legged old people (ahem) — through basic tumbling, foam pit safety, trampoline jumping and, finally, getting on the roller skis/boards.

“Anybody can do it,” said Woodward coach Terri Mayrer. “It’s good for all ages, and it’s a good, safe place to get your first air, or your first double backflip. We offer a safe progression.”

As she points out, it’s a fun facility in and of itself (you can come in just to mess around on the trampolines), or as a tool to land that new trick in the terrain park.

“There’s so many tips and tricks you can learn here that are super helpful,” she said. “It helps with general air awareness and feeling out body movements. I landed my first backflip here and was able to take it onto the snow.”

So if you land your first 360 spin face first, like I did, do so in the comfort of Woodward’s foam pits. For more information, visit http://www.woodwardatcopper.com.

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at mwong@vaildaily.com or at 970-748-2927.


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