FRISCO— Colorado snowboarding fans will get a first look at some athletes likely heading for the 2012 Winter Olympics in Sochi when the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix comes to Copper Mountain this week. Qualifying runs are Jan. 9 and 10, with finals set for Jan. 11 and 12.
Along with the traditional halfpipe comps, this year's Grand Prix stop at Copper includes a slopestyle event, newly elevated to World Cup status by FIS and on the schedule at the Sochi winter games as the newest Winter Olympics event. Athletes competing at Copper will be working toward earning points to qualify for next year's winter games.
There's foot spectator access to the Main Vein Superpipe from Center Village, or on-mountain access skiing via Main Vein trail. Get up close and personal in the new Central Park Lounge spectator viewing area located on the World Cup Slopestyle course in the Woodward Central terrain park — complete with beverage service.
Slopestyle course viewing is only accessible for skiing guests via Loverly trail off of the Union Peak Quad chairlift. The competition schedule is subject to change, but check out ski comp details here, and snowboarding here.
Along with the competition, Copper has added some other events to liven up this year's Grand Prix.
On Jan. 10 Taylor Guitars holds a free Jam Session in the Lower Lobby Area of the Copper Conference Center from from 4 to 8 p.m.And 2012 X-Games Gold Medalist and AFP Halfpipe Champion Rosalind Groenwoud will meet fans Jan. 11 at the Spyder Concept store in Center Village at 11:30 a.m.
Burning Stones Plaza in Center Village transforms into Grand Prix Vendor Village on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sprint, Chipotle, Nature Valley, Paul Mitchell and a wide variety of other sponsors will be handing out swag and hosting giveaways.
The party continues into the night and throughout the weekend when Copper Mountain’s Center Village comes to life. Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the Copper Mountain Conference Center, Taylor Guitars presents a free screening of Waiting for Lightning, a film that documents the life of the iconic skateboarder and visionary, Danny Way.
After the finals Saturday, Chicago-based duo Wild Belle takes the stage for a free concert at Jack’s Slopeside Grill at 6:30 p.m. for the U.S. Grand Prix closing concert. An up-and-coming rock/folk musical duo, Wild Belle was recently featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien making their television debut.