Sun Valley Resort held a Big Air Exhibition on Friday at Dollar Mountain — designed as a preview of the sport that will join the Olympics in 2018 (snowboard only). The event featured snowboarders and skiers repeatedly doing tricks off a jump designed for landings 70 to 75 feet away. While in the air, they flipped and spun. We asked two Big Air participants — Banks Gilberti of Hailey and Reed Snyderman of Sun Valley (formerly of Boston) — about the sport:
Q: Why do you enjoy hucking yourself off a 75-foot jump?
Gilberti: That’s a really good question. I don’t really know. We’ve been doing it for so long. It becomes second nature. Adrenaline gets up, your buddies throw down and you start to throw down.
Snyderman: For me, it’s just about the freedom. It’s more than the adrenaline for me. It’s all about the creativity and being able to express yourself.
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Q: Do you compete at this?
Gilberti: I used to compete for years. Now I just do film projects. ... This kind of reminds me (of competing). It’s kind of nostalgic.
Snyderman: I’m a former member of the U.S. mogul team. Now I’m the head freestyle coach (at Sun Valley). ... The (team members) inspire me every day. Three kids I coach (participated). They did beautiful tricks. I was stoked to see them doing that.
Q: There was a huge turnout for the exhibition (more than for the U.S. Alpine Championships slalom races earlier in the day). What does that do for the freestyle program?
Snyderman: This means so much to our program. This turnout was absolutely phenomenal. I’m just glad we got to hit it as many times as we did (before wind forced an early end to the event).
Gilberti: If we could do this once a year, it would be awesome. We deserve something like this. This mountain deserves it, for sure.