On February 4th & 5th in Crested Butte, Colorado, FUSE SnowSkates hosted a strapless derby. Unlike some resorts, Snow Skates are not limited to specific terrain at Crested Butte. Many participants travelled hours-on-end to join forces with other SnowSkaters for the event; several from Denver and the front-range, and some from as far as Idaho and Oregon. The number of Snow Skates we counted on the hill Saturday was impressive. “There must have been over thirty skates out there. Every time I looked up I saw another one,” said local snowboarder (and No-Boarder) Gareth Van Dyk. FUSE also unveiled their new line of skates, and participants had chances to demo all the new goodies.
The ‘mob’ tore up the slopes of the resort on the first day of the event, both in and out of the terrain park – but predominantly in it. Scores were totaled from the day’s freestyle runs (they utilized all 3 parks on the mountain), and Sean Davis from Tahoe took first place, earning himself a brand-spankin’-new FUSE Snow Skate. Reek Ellis, also from Tahoe, took the silver, and Matt Quam out of Silverthorne, Colorado got the bronze.
Derby highlights: Kickflip onto the box, shuv-it out by Reek Ellis; Backside shuv-it to frontside boardslide on the Rainbow-box by Matt Quam; technical butters all day long by Sean Davis; Pat Bonser laid down some super-steezy scratchers in the Super Pipe. (The unofficial Best Bail award was given to Paul Elkins for his horizontal “lay-back” flight over the 20’+ Grandaddy – see photos.)
Sunday was funday. Not that Saturday wasn’t fun, Sunday was just a bit more ‘lax. Snow Skating began around noon (a late night to blame for the late start) on the hill adjacent the resort, where the crew utilized an untouched, low-angle powder field. Here, a quick boot-pack was rewarded with bottomless turns, and each skater enjoyed back-to-back knee-deep laps. By the end of the session the majority of the hillside had been destroyed. At the bottom of the hill, Paul Elkins (Owner/Founder, FUSE SnowSkates) had worked hard all week building multiple features for the event, including a mailbox, flat rail, quarter-pipe, mini-kicker, table-top, and a big jump. The big jump was more like the Grandaddy of jumps, and became the highlight-feature. Made from plywood and a pallet and set atop a 20’+ gap, it was built with one thing in mind…hang-time. Paul was the only one to hit it, and he stomped it second try while the rest of us stood aside and watched, astonished. To send that much air without bindings securing you to your board takes serious skills…and cajones. I’m not sure that footage exists of someone going that big on a Snow Skate. If anyone can prove me wrong, please do.