Breckenridge locals come together to ski, ride, kayak Peak 10 in August to support paralyzed friend
Summit Daily News
BRECKENRIDGE — Dozens of local skiers, riders, snowskaters and even a kayaker came together last Saturday on Peak 10 to help out a fellow member of the Colorado winter sports community.
The second annual Peak 10 Classic took place on a massive lingering snowfield in the Fourth of July Bowl. Summit County locals and friends from throughout Colorado rode up the rugged Jeep road at Breckenridge Ski Resort leading to The Windows hiking access point. Once the pilgrimage was complete, a 15-turn, 700-foot banked snake run and surrounding homemade terrain park features greeted them.
The free-spirited fun was all for Robbie Knab, a Front Range resident and snowskater who was paralyzed earlier this year when riding his snowskate at a terrain park event at Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington.
From dawn till dusk, skiers and riders celebrated what event organizer Zach Griffin, of Breckenridge, touted as “the latest shred event in the country” thanks to the quantity and quality of snow up on Peak 10. It was a level of late-summer snow Griffin said he hasn’t seen in his 15 years living in Summit.
So, why not build something grand?
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“That’s kind the vibe,” Griffin said. “If you want to, just build it. … It’s so amazing to ride in August, and it’s so amazing to see all of the people that you’d expect to see.”
Before his accident, Knab was becoming an instant legend in the Colorado snowboarding and freeskiing community for his style of daring terrain park riding on his snowskate. A snowskate is a hybrid of a skateboard and a snowboard, typically featuring a skateboard-type deck above a ski blade.
Griffin said Knab was taking his snowskating to the next level, including riding it through Copper Mountain Resort’s massive terrain park jumps.
“It’s kind of like early snowboarding,” Griffin said. “‘Did you hear there is a person who can do this?’ It’s just the progression of snowskating like that was unheard of. And the sport is still small enough there’s still room for amazement. In snowboarding, there’s not room anymore, you know what I mean?”
“There is one person in the world who knows what a 50- to 80-foot jump on a snowskate is like: Robbie Knab. The only dude in the world,” Griffin said.
As of Friday afternoon, more than $10,000 had been raised for Knab via the online GoFundMe page created to support him. After Knab’s accident, the local community organized the first #RallyForRobbie backcountry riding event at Loveland Pass in mid-June.
Last Saturday’s #RallyForRobbie event also served as the second annual Peak 10 Classic after the local community came together for another injured snowboarder, Cody Landers, of Breckenridge, on July 4 last year. That inaugural event was the brainchild of Summit County locals Josh Barilar and Dave Bottomly, who soon recruited more locals, like Griffin, to help host the events.
In order to put the event on, Griffin said local volunteers had to dig out a patch of snow 6 feet deep and two bus lengths long to facilitate motorized vehicles reaching the bowl. In all, Griffin said it took volunteers hundreds of hours to dig out the road and the snake run.
Friday night into Saturday, Griffin said a group of 15 locals camped, even experiencing some flurries in mid-August. Then Saturday morning, an estimated 75 people showed up to ski and ride. There were so many people that about 20 came together at the spur of a moment to build an even bigger jump on the day of the event.
“It’s kind of like watching ants work,” Griffin said. “A lot of hands make light work.”
The event was supported by several local businesses, namely The Hungry Dog Tavern, which hosted the event’s afterparty, and Hovland Snowskates. Some local snowskaters even took runs down the snake in honor of Knab.
Knab himself made it up to The Overlook Restaurant on Peak 9 before he joined the group at the evening afterparty.
“He was happy to get up onto the mountain once again and see the view of the mountains and snow-capped peaks,” Griffin said.
Highlights of the afternoon included Breck local and former professional snowboarder Chad Otterstrom ripping through the homemade features after riding his electric fat-tire bike up the mountain. There was “The Mayor of Pow Town” Gary Fondl flying spread-eagle with his skis off the top of one jump. There were the skiers and riders hitting the course fully naked, a summertime tradition for some in Breckenridge. There were the mono skiers executing backflips.
And then there was “Psycho Billy” dropping in his kayak into the snake and off the jumps.
“A renegade kayaker,” Griffin said with a smile. “He took it off of the jump, and after a number of attempts, he fully stomped one.”