Powder Video Awards and Reader Poll classes up a swanky joint
On its surface, one name sums up last year's Powder Video Awards and Reader Poll in Aspen: Shannon Elizabeth. The luscious minx who achieved fame by stripping in the movie American Pie validated the awards show not because she graced it with her presence, but for the fact that no one really took notice. Not even a woman of such sublime stature could steal the limelight from the skiers and filmmakers on this night.
Drawing four television networks, industry VIPs, fans, and the best athletes and filmmakers in the business—not to mention the white-fur-bikini-clad Vox Vodka girls—the fifth annual show saw nearly 1,500 people pack the posh ballroom of the Hotel Jerome. It was the first year the party was held at the luxurious Jerome, Aspen's oldest lodging establishment and a place that exemplifies class and distinction. Those two words don't normally apply to this ski crowd—nor should they, really—but when the lights went up afterward, the event had more than secured its reputation as the industry's most important night recognizing the artistry, creativity, and athleticism that go into making ski films.
"In the age of the sport film, where athletes don't necessarily compete to prove their standing in their sport, it's hard to judge where people stand other than to say, 'Yeah, that segment was rad,'" says Shane McConkey. "This lends credibility and gives value where we as athletes stand."
McConkey exhibited plenty of radness in his segment for Matchstick Productions' Yearbook—helping the film take home Movie of the Year—and was presented with his second-consecutive Amstel Light Full Throttle Award, given to the athlete who demonstrates unparalleled aggressiveness. He also won the Powder Reader Poll, outpacing previous winner Seth Morrison.
Even Shannon, who admitted that she was only an occasional skier, was impressed. "I'm really surprised at how they can fall like that and get up," she said after watching the Worst Slam category, won by Per Huss for cartwheeling over cliffs in Free Radicals–Serious.
The show also drew a couple of men considered hot by female standards. G. Love, though sans Special Sauce, offered a unique perspective on one of skiing's most visible characters. "I have a new name for Tanner [Hall] and his C-Crew," G. Love said. "Instead of homies, you could call them snowmies." (Hall wasn't particularly psyched about this new moniker.) Jason Lewis, who, coincidentally, achieved fame by stripping in HBO's Sex and the City, presented the award for Best Female, won by Ingrid Backstrom for her giant performance in Yearbook. Too bad her flight to Aspen was delayed, causing her to be a few hours late. So instead of presenting the award to Backstrom, Lewis asked all of the Best Female nominees—Sarah Burke, Kristi Leskinen, Ashley Battersby, and Marja Persson—to find their way up to the stage. The girls couldn't have been more nervous had they been asked to throw nines in their underwear.
"I guess I was sort of bummed to miss seeing that dude, because he is rather hot," Backstrom said after she finally arrived, picking up her awards for Best Female, Breakthrough Performance, and Second Place in the women's Reader Poll. "But, you know, it wasn’t that bad because I don’t even think he skis, so how hot can he really be? I was more bummed to be missing the party and hanging out with all my skier friends. They're all way hotter than some actor." –Matt Hansen