Alex Bellemare, Spencer Milbocker, and Ben Moxham won the Nature Valley Big Air Challenge Tuesday night, representing Armada Skis in a Battle of the Brands format for the first of two Denver Big Air competitions.
With tricks like Bellemare's double cork 1260 blunt, Milbocker's Kangaroo flip Japan air, and Moxham's double cork 1080, the Armada team beat out the Line Skis team (Joss Christensen, LJ Strenio, and Mitch Gilman) in finals on an enormous steel truss ramp erected in Denver's downtown Civic Center Park.
"It's the best scaffolding jump I've ever done … and it's the first one, too!" joked Bellemare, celebrating before the awards ceremony Tuesday night. "It was a real fun format, a sick jump, and a great night."
The temporary structure for the step-down jump, built to FIS Snowboarding World Cup specs for Wednesday night's snowboard competition, stands 106 feet tall, 300 feet long, and 80 feet wide, and is framed by the Colorado State Capitol building to the east, Denver's City and County Building (and the Rocky Mountains) to the west, the Denver Art Museum to the south, and Denver's downtown skyscrapers to the north, making for a dramatic competition setting.
"My home mountain is Bittersweet, a small hill in Michigan, and this crazy building is almost as big as our whole mountain," said Milbocker, who was celebrating his 18th birthday along with the win. "I couldn't have asked for a better team and I never could have imagined that a jump in the middle of a downtown area could be so much fun."
Moxham, a Breckenridge transplant by way of Boise, Idaho, was the clear local favorite of the night.
"This was my first time ever doing an event like this and I couldn't be more stoked on the way it turned out and to have so many of my friends here," said Moxham. "Every time you landed a trick and got to the bottom the whole crowd was just screaming, going crazy. It was wild."
John Spriggs, representing Nordica, won Best Trick honors with a double cork 1260 mute that sent his long dreadlocks spinning in his first contest after recovering from a shoulder injury. Teams from K2 (Sean Joran, Aleks Aurdal, Ole Mustad) and Full Tilt Boots (Kim Boberg, Mike Hornbeck, Audan Linnerud) were eliminated in semi-finals. Other teams in the competition included 4FRNT, Faction, Head, Marker-Volkl, Moment, Nordica, Scott, Technica Blizzard, the Rookie Team Rev Tour, and the Colorado All-Stars.
The event served as the kickoff for Mile High Snow Week, held in conjunction with the SIA Snowshow, the annual ski and snowboard industry trade show.
The Denver Big Air action continues tonight with the LG FIS Snowboarding World Cup, featuring 28 riders representing Australia, Austria, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, and the United States. Canadian rider Sebastien Toutant currently leads in the World Cup Big Air points race with 1220, ahead of Norwegian rider Staale Sandbech (1090) and Slovenian rider Marko Grilc (1018), after his win in Stockholm in November.