Loon Boosts Street Cred With SnowboardersBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent April 13. 2014 7:12PM
LINCOLN — Loon Mountain began winding down its 2013-2014 season on Sunday by boosting its "street cred" with snowboarders who got to take on a specially-designed "urban" course.
Less a competition than a snowboarders-only gathering, the third annual "Street Cred" event was sponsored by Red Bull, 47 Brand, Oakley, Volcom and Snowboarder Magazine.
Red Bull provided the $2,000 in prize money — $500 went to an overall champion while the rest was distributed in $10 and $20 increments by judges for any and all cool tricks they observed — and the company also paid Loon to build many the course's unique features.
Held on the Little Sister slope, "Street Cred" 2014 boasted more than 60 participants from as far as Canada and all throughout New England, said Kevin Bell, who is Loon's marketing manager. The turnout, despite the threat of rain, was nearly double that of 2013 and a very positive indicator for next year, Bell added.
"Street Cred," Bell said, celebrates a popular trend at alpine resorts that emulates skateboarding in urban environments. Loon's course, complete with concrete ledges, chain link, rails, wall rides, and what he called the "infamous swinging gate," is like a skateboard course, said Brian Norton, who is the resort's terrain park manager.
With a staff of 18 employees, Norton oversees seven terrain parks and New Hampshire's only Superpipe at Loon, but the "Street Cred" course is special because not only does it have its own chairlift, but it also boasts 18 "features" as well as a jump.
Like a skateboard park, the "Street Cred" course was designed to let riders try the different features at their own pace, said Bell, as groups formed Sunday afternoon around the individual features to watch and learn from other riders in a process Bell called "sessioning."
Whereas other similar events are built around a competition, "Street Cred" is about the vibe, said Norton.
"It's not structured, it's come have fun," he said, "people are hanging out."
Although only three years old, "Street Cred" has become a signature happening for Loon, said Bell, in so far that it is unique both for its offerings and its participants.
Parker Szumowski of Newburyport, Mass., who is a Loon Mountain team rider, said "Street Cred" has gotten better each year.
"It's really cool how they created a private park and how they broke it down into a lot of sessions," Szumowski said, adding it was cooler still to get receive some cold, hard cash for a well-executed trick.
The money he won Sunday would come in very helpful, said Szumowski, who had already designated his earnings to cover "gas and debts to my friends."
Loon Mountain will officially close for the season on April 20.