Colorado is easy to make fun of, but in reality it is so much more than Spring Breakers from the south and Area-51. Colorado has a deep history in snowboarding and in the mid and late 90s was home to an impressive list of pros including Mark Frank Montoya and Jason Rasmus. Long before the X Games, Dew Tour and other more well known competitions descended on the Rockies, locals and pros alike would gather at places like Loveland and Vail Passes to hold DIY contests and have a good time. Hell, even the Volcom classic, ‘The Garden’ has a Loveland pass section. The point is, there is more to Colorado than what the Vail Resorts marketing team wants you to believe.
Tired of the growing exclusivity of some of the more marquee events along the I-70 corridor, Satellite boardshop owners Raul Pinto and JG Mazzotta decided it would be way more fun to hold their own event, open to anyone who just wants to ride with good people and get stoked on the atmosphere of a bunch of snowboarders taking ownership of their sport. Each year sponsorship of the event has grown and in true DIY fashion, riders gather on Loveland Pass the day before the event to hand build and shape features for the jam. With three distinct zones offering riders different challenges, the Love Games has something for everyone, including a massive hip as well as classic Colorado style log jibs. Every year the Love Games has grown, and it’s quickly becoming a not-to-miss event among Colorado snowboarders.
Zone 1 consisted of a massive hip/quarter pipe combo giving riders some options provided they could hold it together on the firm in-run. Those that survived the drop zone were putting down some memorable tricks including rodeos from Flow Snowboards Jordan Zdanek and Satellite rider Austin Gregory. Ryan Cruz contributed a method so tweaked a Clear Creek County meth head would be proud.
Sean Murphy flips out!
The call was made and it was on to zone 2, ‘the ironing board’ where a massive hip that is a Colorado classic resides. After a short lunch, and what seemed like a safety meeting for nearly everyone in attendance, riders started sending this deceptively challenging feature. The tricky part of this feature is that the sweet spot of the landing is very small and if you miss it, you’re gonna land pretty fucking flat and may even tomahawk once or twice. It wouldn’t be a DIY event if there weren’t at least a little sketch factor right? Standout riders on the hip included: Hunter Wood with a frontside air that he sent to the west suburbs of Denver, a stylish back-flip from Nightmare’s Sean Murphy, and a method from 14-year-old Luke Winklemann, which earned him what might be his first set of tits and the best method award.
The final zone for the day reminded some of the infamous Bone Zone and consisted of three different features. The far riders left option was made up of a small table top into a 10ft death gap which flowed nicely into a hand shaped banked turn that directed riders into a hip with log coping. The center line was a 25-30ft table top and last but not least was a tree jib that allowed riders to spin off the larger pine tree providing support of the entire feature. I watched 12-year-old Satellite team rider Justin Phipps do a one-footer over the table and decided conclusively that I won’t ever be that good, raised my beer to him and began to mingle with friends and soak in the scene.
The day came to a close in the lower parking lot where awards and swag alike were given out. Never Summer rep and all around good guy Mike ‘Gags’ Gagliardi walked away with the legends award for giving ‘er in all three zones despite being one of the oldest guys there. Good show Gags!!! The smell of hotdogs and legal weed wafted through the air and smiles were abundant. The Love Games are snowboarding the way you remember it growing up: Just a bunch of kids hyped to be out on the hill together sharing the stoke. It’s a great thing to see and we will no doubt be back next year.
1. Francesca Deitreich
The Northface Legend award
Mike “Gags” Gagliardi
Froth Puppy awards (most stoked riders) Sponsored by Burton