Copper opens superpipe
FRISCO — Copper Mountain’s halfpipe is now open to the public for a few hours each afternoon, the first 22-foot superpipe to open in North America.
The Main Vein Superpipe is scheduled to be open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. every day this week with the exception of Wednesday, when it will host a U.S.A. Snowboard Association event.
Vail athletes like halfpipe skiers Taylor Seaton and Broby Leeds, and snowboarder Rakai Tait, have been using Copper’s pipe to prepare for upcoming events. Seaton and Leeds will compete in the Dew Tour in Breckenridge Dec. 12; Tait, 16, will compete in the U.S. Revolution Tour’s first stop at Copper next week. The Rev Tour is the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s stepping-stone program, where young athletes can transition into World Cup level competitions. It’s focused on athletes 13 to 19 years old.
“It’s exciting because it’s the first big competition of the year,” Tait said. “(Rev Tour athletes) are lucky we get to see real competition this early in the year right here where we live.”
BIG REV TOUR THIS YEAR
In a normal year Copper’s halfpipe would host a World Cup level event, known as the Grand Prix, also in December. This year, however, there is no Copper Mountain stop on the Grand Prix, so next week’s Rev Tour stop will serve as the premier event in the resort’s halfpipe in December.
Tait, an Eagle resident, is excited for the chance to shine in Copper’s halfpipe at the Rev Tour.
“I’m not sure how it’s going to be this year, but in the past it’s had pros who’ve been to the Olympics and stuff,” he said. “So I’m just hoping to make finals.”
Tait is a junior at Vail Mountain School and rides for Weston Snowboards out of Minturn. Last season, he won the U.S.A. Snowboard Association’s national championship.
“Last year was the best year I’ve ever had, so I’m really stoked to get back on snow in competition next week,” he said.
The U.S.A. Snowboard Association’s competition today in Copper’s halfpipe will be a Rocky Mountain Series event. To qualify for nationals last year, Tait had to first win the Rocky Mountain Series. While he’s already qualified for next week’s Rev Tour, he still plans on competing on Wednesday.
“It’s just great that we have this halfpipe already open and so close,” he said.
COMPETITION STARTS AT 1 P.M.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail will also be trying to qualify a few athletes Wednesday at Copper Mountain. Freeski Program Director Elana Chase says she’ll have a young up-and-comer competing in the pipe, and snowboarding coach Chris Laske said his program will have three athletes attempting to make it through to the Rev Tour.
“They’re at that level where they’re about ready,” he said. “We definitely have some younger kids coming up in the program who will be competitive.”
Wednesday’s competition is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., with awards set for 4 p.m. For more information, visit rockymountainseries.com.