The Spring Thaw

CSM slacklining club put on their annual slackline event called spring thaw this past weekend. The event took place on kafadar commons and featured music, free food, and free drinks. Additionally, there were two slacklining competitions held on kafadar. Slackline members arrived at seven Saturday morning to start setting up the equipment that would be used all day. In total eighteen slacklines were set up. These lines varied in difficulty from beginner lines under fifteen feet in length and under two feet above the ground, to lines as long as 180 feet in length, to a variety of one, one and a quarter and two inch tricklines. Less conventional lines were available as well. These included rodeo lines and a space anchor. Rodeo lines are classified as non-tensioned lines. At this year’s spring thaw the rodeo lines had about ten feet of sag in them. The space anchor refers to a system where three or more lines are anchored in space to an O-ring. This system allows multiple slackliners to walk separate lines and feel actions of the other slackliners through the line, but without being too difficult to walk because the motions of the slackline (especially side to side motions) are greatly dampened by the other slacklines attached to the space anchor.

At noon burgers and hotdogs were grilled and served for free to anybody attending or passing through the event. Throughout the day two contests took place.The first was the long line speed challenge. In this competition competitors had to walk the distance of the 180 foot long line as fast as they could. If the competitor fell off, their time didn’t count and they had to start over. Competitors could attempt this contest all day and the only proof they needed was a witness and a timer. The winner of this contest was Seth Brown a slackliner from UC Boulder. He won 150 feet of flowline webbing.

The other contest was the yoga slackline contest. This event took place on any line that was tensioned using a primitive set up, excluding one beginner line that was deemed too short. In this event slackliners had all day to perform yoga tricks listed on a “trick sheet.” Tricks on the sheet included tricks involving flexibility, strength, and balance in order to hold difficult positions on the slackline. The winner of this competition was Spencer Roberts from Boulder as well.

The climax of the event occurred during the trickline competition. This event brought nationally and internationally ranked slackliners to compete at CSM even though the competition would score them no points in the national circuit. Prominent names included Mickey Wilson, CSM physics Alumnus and second place USA national champion as well as the UK national Slackline Champion Jake White. As is common in the annual spring thaw many inverted aerials as well as some of the newest and innovative tricks were being put down by the competitors. The judging panel consisted of two CSM juniors, Marcus Nelson, who being an avid trickliner himself would likely have competed if not for a recently dislocated elbow, and Vinny Delaney, a long time veteran in the slackline club, as well as Michael Bross, an avid slackliner from UC Boulder, and Teresa Rohde, the former faculty adviser for the slackline club at Mines. Unsurprisingly, Mickey Wilson won the contest today with Travis Brown, another student from CU Boulder, taking second and Zack Duckworth taking third place.

After the final competition people slowly started to disperse. The slackline club frantically tried to finish up and give away the bbq supplies they had left. Around 6:30 they started taking down their lines and Kafadar was empty again just as the sun had started to set.

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