Snowskating takes center stage at rail jam event in Minturn
MINTURN – Little Beach Park proved to be the perfect atmosphere to bring together snowskaters from across the country on Saturday.
Hovland Snowskates, the town of Minturn and the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department collaborated to bring the first-of-its-kind event to the park, which hosted a four-feature course designed by local snowskaters Dan “the Wrench” Rolfe and Angelica Clemmer.
Rolfe said the turnout was much bigger than expected, with dozens of snowskaters coming from Colorado and beyond to enter the competition.
An amateur division, a women’s division and a professional division kept spectators entertained throughout the evening. Among the pros to finish on top was Spencer Nuzzi, a well-known YouTube personality and professional skateboarder who came in from Los Angeles for the event, and 17-year-old Edwards resident Jack Coyne, a member of the U.S. Snowboarding rookie team.
Coyne, 17, just returned from Switzerland, where he finished fourth in the Junior World Championships halfpipe competition in Leysin on Jan. 26.
“So stoked they had this event while I was back home and able to take part in it,” Coyne said. “I love snowskating.”
Nuzzi said snowskating has progressed so fast, a few years ago he would have never imagined he would be in Minturn in February enjoying such a scene.
“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it,” Nuzzi said. “Last year Hovland decided to hook me up with some snowskates … before I knew it one thing led to another, I’m out here with everybody, shredding with all of these people, experiencing something I never thought I’d see or ever be able to do in my life.”
‘LOVE THE FEELING’
Snowskating has been called both the future and the past when it comes to on-snow board sports.
The device itself is nothing new, snowskates have been around since the early 2000s, but when large corporations like Vail Resorts started allowing them on their mountains in the early part of this decade, their popularity began to take off.
With no bindings and no special boots needed, a snowskate is the most affordable way to shred your local hill or mountain, and with the “bi-deck” technology lifting the deck off the ground and giving the ride a feeling much like skateboarding, it wasn’t long before board-sport athletes like Nuzzi would discover the sport.
“The bi-deck snowskate really brings skateboarding and snowboarding together, you can carve, you can turn, you can kickflip, and you’re going down a mountain,” Nuzzi said.
Dan Russell with Hovland Snowskates said seeing the community turn out in Minturn on Saturday proved something he already knew.
“People love the feeling of being on a snowskate,” he said.
With locals like Rolfe taking to snowskating naturally, it wasn’t long before we saw snowskaters cruising down all the classic runs on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains.
The event in Minturn on Saturday was an obvious next step for the Eagle County snowskating scene, which has exploded in popularity in recent years.
Rolfe said he found support in all corners of the valley.
“We had our town of Minturn event coordinator Cindy who did so much for us in getting this event ready to go in a short timetable,” Rolfe said.
A big bonus of the event was the music. On Saturday Rolfe said a wonderful coincidence led to them finding an amazing DJ to go hard throughout the whole event.
“DJ Tang from Radio Free Minturn walked his dog at especially the right time, came over and said ‘oh yeah ‘I’ll come DJ your show,’ literally this afternoon,” Rolfe said on Saturday.
Every person who has ever strapped into a board owes a debt of gratitude to Burton.