Back from the dead: pro skiers look to once again dazzle on Utah’s legendary ‘Chads Gap’

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 1, 2010 7:53 pm

Well the cat’s out of the bag.

Some not-so-secret plans are currently underway for the first session in nearly five years of the infamous Grizzly Gulch (located near Alta) backcountry jump that almost single-handily launched the career of French skiing legend Candide Thovex, and nearly prematurely ended the career of X Games superstar Tanner Hall.

The perfect mixture of this season’s generous Utah snowfall, combined with the frenzy of progression going on in the freestyle ski world, have made the re-boot of “Chads” a necessity this year. Pro skiers Mike Wilson and Tim Durtschi have decided it’s been long enough, and have published preliminary shots of the monster.

The sleeping beast being prepared for 2010 sessions

For those who have been living under a rock the last 10 years or so, let’s give you a glimpse of why this is such a momentous occasion.

First off, the gap is nearly 120 feet, bigger than even the jumps found at Superpark each year. Not to mention, there isn’t a whole lot of room for error. Scratch that – there is zero room for air. From takeoff to the landing, there is essentially a ravine with nothing but air between the two former mining piles. Coming up short on this thing is the last thing you want to do. Just ask Tanner Hall:

Side note: let’s take a look at that date. March 5, 2005. Let’s just hope our brave friends Durtschi and Wilson will be choosing a different date to mark their upcoming session. Call me superstitious but I wouldn’t want to be launching 5 years to the day after that nasty crash.

Besides just the superstitious nature of the date, take a look at the year. It’s been nearly 5 years since anyone dared venture out to the famed spot to construct the enormous feature. Partly this has been due to the once-limited amount of tricks that could be thrown on the gap, but also partly related to the mystic of hitting the jump. Jon Olsson and Tanner have both already hit it switch, Candide has launched a cork 7, and it has been flipped countless times. What was left to do?

Enter the doubles era. Well it’s true guys like the Collins brothers, and Kris Ostness have double back flipped the behometh before, no one has unleashed the new age double flips and corks that dominate the scene today. Durtschi has already laid his mark on another famous Utah gap with last season’s “kangaroo flip” on Pyramid Gap. Pyramid, while shorter than Chads, will definitely serve as a nice warm-up for the bigger jump.

Bottom line: expect the unexpected with Chad’s, and let’s just hope the cameras are rolling.