by Samantha White
Copper Mountain invites you to join in another year of the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix! This is Summit County’s first major competition of the winter season but for participating athletes this is one of the last stops to earn points to qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The event is scheduled to start Dec. 6 at the base of Center Village and since this is a free event, visitors and spectators are more than welcome to come join and watch all the action. The finals will take place over the weekend and Copper Mountain will host live music by 40 oz. to Freedom on Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m.
Spectators will be able to get a great view of some of the best freeski and snowboard athletes that have traveled all across the world to participate in the Halfpipe and Big Air. The Halfpipe measures at 22 feet tall and is 500 feet long and the Big Air jump will measure at about 70 feet. It’s been extremely impressive to watch how far this course has come along.
Summit County has experienced a bit of a dry beginning to our season and without much snow, Copper’s snowmaking team has been a trusted source to meet the standards of this build. To make the Halfpipe and Big Air jump meet Olympic qualifying standards, the snowmaking team doesn’t primarily focus on how much snow they can create in a short amount of time but they focus more on the quality of the snow, since the safety of the athletes is the primary concern. Noah Schwander, Woodward Copper's Terrain Park and Progression Manager, has been in charge of this build and explains, “We take extra care to make the best snow we can and use a few industry tricks to make the best product for the athletes.” The patience and hours put into building this beautifully sculpted course is what viewers can expect to watch this weekend as athletes push themselves to reach new heights. NBC will be airing the finals on television but come on out to Copper Mountain to root for your favorite athlete up close while you have the chance!