Slopestyle + pools = insanity; Red Bull SlopeSoakers hits Copper on April 16

Slopestyle + pools = insanity; Red Bull SlopeSoakers hits Copper on April 16

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April 16, 2016 marks Red Bull SlopeSoakers’ fifth annual return to Copper Mountain, CO. That day will also mark my fourth consecutive go-’round at judging this rowdy event (alongside my FREESKIER brethren) and there’s only one thing upsetting about that fact: It’s the idea that I’ll be stuck in a judging tower rather than grabbin’ tail and greasing metal above a beautiful-blue pool. Still, the view from the judges’ perch is historically one to behold, and I suspect 2016 will be no different.

In the past few years we’ve seen multi-tiered slopestyle features (i.e. skiers string lines together between three or more jumps and jibs) constructed above, across, beside and inside of pools; typically, four or more pools are incorporated into the course design. And year after year, we bear witness to some genuinely spectacular stuntin’ and truly gut-wrenching slams, too. Add to the mix a raucous crowd of spectators, sunshine, ultra-weird outfits, Bloody Mary’s, pizza, pool toys, music and badass prizes, and you’ve got a winning recipe.

“People love it, it sells out every year and everyone is so excited to end the season with such a bang,” says Noah Schwander, Terrain Parks Manager for Woodward Copper. “It’s definitely quite the build. The pressure is on to construct the quality course that our competitors have come to expect.”

Schwander and co. have certainly risen to the occasion time and time again, one-upping their designs, helping to inspire ever-better skiing and ever-more-spectacular spills. He tells us that in 2016, they’re going back to basics.

“This season, we’re switching up the location to give our guests better viewing opportunities… we’re getting more creative in a smaller course footprint.” Specifically, Schwander explains that Woodward and Red Bull “started with a loose idea of a shipwreck and let the layout evolve from there. We have some creative, fun features that we’re excited about. One big change for this year’s course is that we went back to a single pond event to make hiking and viewing easier for both competitors and spectators.”

Don’t let this “smaller footprint” fool you, though. This year’s course is expected to include seven main features with, in the words of Schwander, “countless ways to hit those features.” The event is open to 130 competitors (sign up soon!) who will participate in a jam format qualifier and (if deemed worthy by yours truly) a 20-minute final. Participants will be judged in categories including costume, creativity, technical difficulty, skimming steeze, crowd factor and overall style. Prizes include cash ($500 for the top male and female; $250 for best crash, best trick, etc.), season passes to Copper, GoPro cameras and more.

As far as I know, there’s no other comparable, slopestyle-inspired pond skim that’s open to both skiers and snowboarders anywhere in the world. Join us on April 16 and witness some of the most unique springtime skiing you’ll ever lay eyes on. Look for me in the judges’ tower. I’ll be the one sporting a Boston Bruins jersey. I may or may not share my Bloody Mary. But I will give you FREESKIER stickers, that much I can promise.

Note: We’ll be rockin’ at Copper on Sunday, April 17, as well. April 17 marks “Closing Day” and we’ll be participating in High Fives Foundation’s Retro Ski-A-Thon. Let’s make a weekend of it, shall we?

Related: 11 raucous spring ski resort parties you’d be a fool to miss

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