Denver Big Air: Rider Recap

The Inaugural Denver Big Air contest went down during SIA and X Games smack dab in the middle of Colorado’s famous Mile High City. A crowd of over 14,000 people lined the streets and spilled over into Civic Center Park for the evening event.

The stage was set with a massive steel structure soaring into the sky an incredible fourteen stories high. The man-made metal jump jetted out 300 feet and was a solid 80 feet wide. World class athletes were invited for the big event and were competing for World Cup ranking points, a share of the prize purse, and the bragging rights of being in the first-ever Denver Big Air.

We caught up with Quiksilver rider, Jake LaRue, to hear about his exprience competing in the comp.

Here’s what he had to say:

I have been a snowboarder for 13 years and hitting a 60 foot jump in the middle of Denver was one of the craziest things I have ever done. During the Denver Big Air all U.S. athletes had coaching and support of the US snowboard team. Being the first time a FIS World Cup event made its appearance in Denver, there was a ton of media coverage.

Every morning we went out to practice we would get interviewed by several different media outlets. Leading up to the event I was a little nervous about dropping into the 106 ft tall feature because the in run seemed like it was only 5 ft wide. Hiking up the 160 stairs for the first time was both exciting and nerve-racking, but once I reached the top and focused on the jump, I knew it was just all about snowboarding.

Standing at the top of the ramp it was impossible not to catch the awesome views of the Denver skyline. Below, surrounding the landing, I could see thousands of people standing in what should have been Bannock street, but instead, it had turned into a crazy corral of snowboard fanatics.

The crowd was blowing up, and it felt like a Nuggets play-off game with all the excitement surrounding me. My friends and family brought a group of at least 30 people to come and watch, so it didn’t even matter that my trick landed me a few spots out of finals. It was just awesome to compete and to be apart of the first ever Denver Big Air.

When the contest was over we all went to an after party sponsored by Quiksilver at the Blake Street Vault in LoDo. The party was all time and the perfect ending to an awesome event. I am so stoked I got to be a part of the Denver Big Air, maybe next year I’ll stand on the podium.

This year, Rocco Van Straten from Holland won the event with a gnarly backside double cork 1080. Rounding out the podium was Canadian Zach Stone in second, and Michael Macho in third.

Congrats to everyone who competed and we’re excited for next year’s event. Check out the video recap: