Gravity Games rail jam lights up Frisco
FRISCO – Skiers and riders went styley, buttery and clean, but still nasty and always risking injury Friday night at the Winter Gravity Games rail jam in downtown Frisco. Breckenridge rider Chad Otterstrom showed the most style in the snowboard competition, winning the 45-minute free-for-all jam and taking home $6,000. Otterstrom won $20,000 earlier in the day for taking gold in the slopestyle competition at Copper Mountain. “Slopestyle was stressful,” Otterstrom said. “This was fun.”Mammoth resident Tim Russell won the skiing portion of the rail jam after begging the organizers to let him compete.
“They didn’t even want me to be in this,” Russell said. “I didn’t get invited to Gravity Games, so I’ve been fighting with them all day today and yesterday. Then Sammy Carlson dropped out, and they gave me the spot. I told them I wouldn’t let them down.”Russell was one of 11 skiers throwing a barrage of spins over the two rails, a kinked and a flat rail. Russell landed a 450-on, 270-off several times, coming in both facing the rail and switch. Canadian Leanne Pelosi won the women’s snowboard jam, while Norway’s Grete Eliassen won the women’s ski competition. Each earned $2,000 for her victory. About a thousand people crowded around the temporary terrain park that stood on Third Avenue as the tallest structure in Frisco for the day. Bright lights, announcers and DJs filled the town with a party atmosphere that went along with the tricks going down on the imported snow.
“This is the best rail jam I’ve ever seen,” said Peter Olenick, a perennial X Gamer who’s been to his share of rail jams. “It’s set up really well. Most of these things are pretty ghetto.” Copper freeride skier Lisa Solberg had one of the worst falls of the night, straddling the flat rail on one of her first few attempts. After lying on the ground for a few seconds she hopped up while the announcer declared her “100 percent woman.” Solberg was all smiles after the jam.”This is sick,” Solberg said. “Anytime they let the girls in, it’s sick.”Pelosi was the best and gutsiest female snowboarder Friday. She pocketed the prize money, but not without some injury.
“I think I got a little concussion,” Pelosi said. “Everyone I look at has one big eye and one small one.”For more stories on the Gravity Games, visit http://www.summitdaily.com/gravitygames.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.