Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Smith Limo comes home, finally


After touring ski resorts all winter, the Smith Sport Optics Limo returned to Ketchum and generated a buzz among young freestyle skiers and boarders, who jumped at the chance to ride the iconic limo-mounted rail in their own home town.

"The minute that limo rolls into town, the cell phones start blowing up," said Andy Gilbert, Snowboard Team Director. "My phone was going off all morning with kids wanting to know what the deal was."

As tele-skiers were racing on the mountain, several young freestyle skiers and boarders lent a helping hand to the Smith crew that erected scaffolding, a drop in ramp and a jump onto the rail. It took most of the day, roughly five hours, Gilbert said, to build the apparatus.

The payoff was huge, though, as hundreds gathered on Picabo Street in front of Apple's Bar & Grill to watch a line-up of young boarders, skiers, team coaches, and a few brave tele skiers perform under pressure on the tricked-out limousine. There were some spectacular crashes, but no serious injuries among the 22 rail-riders.

"The car seems to act as a bumper, breaking their falls," Gilbert said, somewhat amused. As for his absence from the rail-jam, Gilbert's freestyle career is past such risk taking. "Falling eight feet off a rail onto the street isn't high on my priority list at this point," he said.

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