SoBe it

Skiers, riders hit Mavericks Superpipe

There was a huge party in Stagecoach on Saturday night.

Lex and Tori Carrigan-Koski, 17-year-old fraternal twins and members of the Steamboat Mavericks Freeride Team, won the men's and women's open snowboarding divisions at the third annual SoBe Maverick's Superpipe Challenge, collectively winning $4,000 -- a reason to celebrate.

"There's a bunch of people coming over to Stagecoach tonight," said Lex, whose high-amplitude McTwists and minimal mistakes in the pipe earned him top honors and the "Mac Daddy Cash Purse" of $2,500.

He and Tori said they would use the money to travel to more competitions next year. The twins, who have been riding since they were 2, have competed all over the United States and the world. Just last week, they competed in the Junior World Championships in Germany.

"The junior worlds is definitely a different contest," Tori said. "It's like going from, 'God I hope I make the finals,' to standing at the podium at home."

Saturday's half-pipe challenge attracted 93 high-flying competitors, 13 more than last year.

"I think the event came off great," said Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. Marketing Director Doug LaPlaca. "I'm really happy with the turnout, the level of competition, and the organizing the crew did to put on a world-class event. I can't wait to do it bigger and better next year."

Though Steamboat skiers and riders comprised the majority of the field, the event also drew competitors from other Colorado cities and places such as Utah, Denmark, California and Wyoming.

Extensive marketing efforts from LaPlaca, Lynna Hyatt and Heidi Thomsen, and the added incentive of $15,000 in cash and prizes, helped bring in the larger and more diverse group of contenders, LaPlaca said. He said he hopes to raise the bar and attract professionals in coming years by raising the prize level to $20,000 and maybe turn the event into a Winter X-Games qualifier.

"Steamboat has a rich tradition of supporting Alpine skiers, and this is a way to reach out to the new school of skiers and riders," LaPlaca said.

A warm, sunny day and hundreds of spectators added to the atmosphere.

"It was cool seeing so many people from home cheering you on," Lex said.

"The event today compared to last year was so unbelievable," Tori said. "Everything was set up so nice. The pipe was sick. I couldn't believe it. I was so psyched."

Fellow Mavericks Freeride teammate Gina Gmeiner did not participate in the skiing competition Saturday because she injured her knee Friday.

One of Lex's friends, Davis Johnson, also injured himself Thursday, but he did compete and took second, behind Lex, in the open snowboarding competition.

In open skiing competition, Steamboat's Anja Bolbjerg took first for the women, and Fritz Van De Mark of Boulder took first for the men.

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