Adaptive Action Sports cancels Rhythm Rally Banked Slalom at Copper March 26 |

Adaptive Action Sports cancels Rhythm Rally Banked Slalom at Copper March 26

A snowboarder makes his way through the final few turns at the 2015 Rhythm Rally Banked Slalom in Copper. The event returns to the resort on March 26 with divisions for groms, youth, adults, masters and adaptive snowboarders.
Elyse Schreiber / Special to the Daily |

Rhythm Rally Banked Slalom — CANCELED

What: The second edition of an open race fundraiser for Adaptaive Action Sports of Copper Mountain, held on a hybrid boardercross and banked slalom course on Bittersweet

When: Saturday, March 26 at 11 a.m.

Where: Copper Mountain

Cost: $35 per racer

The event is open to snowboarders only, with men’s and women’s divisions for groms (ages 5-12), youth (13-18), open adults (19-35), masters (35-plus) and adaptive athletes. Helmets are highly recommended. On-site registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Adaptive Action Sports office in Center Village, followed by course inspection at 10 a.m. and racing at 11 a.m. To register online, see the event website at

UPDATE: Due to low registration, Adaptive Action Sports was forced to cancel the Rhythm Rally on March 26. But the course is already built, and so the nonprofit will still host an open training day for $5 per run the same day.

A statement from executive director Daniel Gale:

“Unfortunately, due to limited participation, Adaptive Action Sports will be canceling the Rhythm Rally scheduled for this Saturday. We believe that a number of factors played into the need to cancel the event, including: similar events within the region on the same day, shift in dates and lead time to market our event. Of course, refunds will be issued to those who signed up. If your heart was set on running a banked slalom course, we will be holding an open training day on Saturday for a fee of $5.00, cash only on-site. Thank you to all of you who did sign up and of course to our sponsors. We do plan on hosting the Rhythm Rally next season.”

It’s not every day you get to charge gates with a Paralympic medalist.

But this isn’t every day.

On March 26, Copper Mountain Resort and Adaptive Action Sports partner to host the second running of the Rhythm Rally Banked Slalom, a fundraiser for the local nonprofit’s year-round slate of programs and clinics. The race is open to anyone and everyone on a snowboard — adaptive and otherwise — with divisions for groms, youth, adults, masters and adaptive riders like Amy Purdy, the Frisco-based phenom and double amputee known for “Dancing with the Stars,” “The Amazing Race,” a viral TED Talks video and, let’s not forget, a bronze medal at the 2014 Paralympic Games for boardercross. She and husband Daniel Dunn co-founded Adaptive Action Sports, which became the first program just for amputees and other adaptive athletes who love an adrenaline rush.

“I feel stronger now than I ever have, snowboard, race-wise and mentally,” Purdy told the Summit Daily News in 2014. “I’m really excited and dedicated to the innovations of proper prosthetics for this sport. For the next four years, I want to focus on that. I’m excited for not just my riding but the proper leg setup for riding — through the organization, helping other people.”

Armed with two state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs, she joins a group of fellow adaptive athletes for the fundraiser, including Paralympic hopeful James Sides, a retired Marine who lost most of his right arm to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Last year’s race was one of his first experiences on a hybrid banked slalom course — imagine a slalom course with berms at the gates and boardercross features near the end — and, although he didn’t quite enjoy it on his first run, he couldn’t help but give it another try.

“I didn’t like banked slalom much last year, but now I’m really liking it,” he said. “The way these things are designed is that you let the board run. You hardly even have to take an edge.”

If you’ve never raced on a banked slalom course before, the Rhythm Rally is a must-try introduction to the sport. It’s held on a hybrid course, with a mix of tight snow berms up top and dynamic boardercross features down low, like small drops and rollers. The Rhythm Rally course is built on Bittersweet, a blue run off the American Eagle lift at Copper, and starts with whip-fast upper turns before leading to snow features in the final section.

“For me, the banked slalom is more flowy,” Sides said. “It almost feels like surfing. That’s what I did before I was a snowboarder, and so you get in the pockets and let the course pull you down the hill.”

Last year, the event was open to teams of five. This year, Adaptive Action Sports decided to remove the team format and open the race for solo racers. The daylong event includes live music, prizes and the chance to crash gates with paralympians.

It’s also a can’t-miss opportunity to support those same athletes. Proceeds from the race help Adaptive Action Sports supply adaptive equipment, coordinate clinics and support Paralympic hopefuls like Sides.

“This event gets us out in the community where people might not know us,” Sides said. “We’re trying to make the Paralympic team with four guys in the pipeline, but it’s not just about that. It’s about people who come here for the weekend or a few days a year. This raises money to to help those people get equipment they’ve never had before, to get out and enjoy the mountains with their family.”

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