Down to earth
Gravity Games organizers decided to go in a different direction with their promotional poster. Instead of the typical action photograph with some big names and text to hype the event, OLN is using a comic-strip superhero look that features two skiers and two snowboarders (three males, one female) dressed in skin-tight leather and standing on what looks like a glacier, with a giant creature – half lion, half elephant seal – rearing its head in the stark blue background. A third skier is launching off the beast’s left ear into the sky, presumably to land on the glacier. “What’s free?” That’s what a spectator asked a Gore Tex tent rep on Friday, seemingly speaking for all of the fans at the Gravity Games this week. Yes, the swag giveaways are there, and yes, spectators have come to expect it. Among the items on the free market: OLN/Gravity Games socks from Denver’s 93.3 “The Adventure”; CDs from KSMT; Snickers bars from, well, guess who; and Chris Klug “Fearless” DVDs from OLN.Although he was absent on Day 1, noted action sports commentator Uncle E made his presence known on Friday while announcing the skiercross action for OLN. Things went smoothly, and his personal connections to the athletes he covers were once again evident and contributed to his knowledge of the action on the slopes. He did get himself in somewhat of a pickle, though, when he invited the first 20 fans to sprint his way at the finish area for what he thought was going to be a race up the final jump on the course to a collection of free swag (what else). After all the spectators had taken off their gear and were ready to go, however, course officials called off the sprint and the 20 crowd members were left to fight like wolves over the swag in an OLN staff member’s arms.Uncle E may have shored up the commentating, but the the emcee on the mic in the Burning Stones Plaza base area could have used some more expertise on the day’s attraction. This was one of his lines: “Hey everyone, so happy to see you here on this supersunny day. Right over there is the bordercross. We’re going to have men’s and women’s skier boardercross today.” He didn’t seem to know how contradicting his statement was.Vail, Colorado
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.