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Snowboard showcase on San Francisco streets

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Snow foolin’: The City has hosted snow competitions before

Get stoked — hella stoked — for some wintertime fun in The City.

Snowboarders are returning to San Francisco for a rail-jam urban-boarding competition in the middle of town.

The Downtown Throwdown will bring 100,000 pounds of shredded ice and 25 professional snowboarders to compete for $10,000 in prizes Saturday.

Event organizers and snowboard companies Lib Tech and Snowboy Productions promise “non-stop shred action,” along with food, music and raffle prizes.

That’s a tall order for the bargain price of free admission, but Snowboy Productions President Krush Kulesza is a pro — he’s held similar competitions in Seattle for years, he said.

“The idea is to get people excited about snowboarding and also kind of show people what goes on in snowboarding by bringing it into The City,” Kulesza said. “For a lot of people, probably their only connection to snowboarding is what they see in the Olympics.”

This will be Kulesza’s first event in San Francisco, but The City is no stranger to snow-based competitions.

Between 2005 and 2008, Icer Air brought Olympic competitors to San Francisco — first in Pacific Heights, then at AT&T Park after Pacific Heights residents complained.

The annual ski and snowboard competition went belly-up when a major sponsor terminated its contract and Icer Air was unable to pay its talent.

The Throwdown won’t be anything like that, said Kent Uyehara, who owns SFO Snowboarding and has been working with Kulesza to make the event happen.

“From the spectator standpoint, a half-pipe is more attractive — you won’t see that in this one, but I think the structure of a rail jam is more safe,” Uyehara said.

Boarders will slide down a rail similar to one that accompanies a flight of stairs.

But Uyehara isn’t worried about making spectators yawn. Snowboarding is a close relative to surfing and skateboarding and has a strong following in San Francisco, he said.

Everyone he’s talked to about it is pumped for the event, he said.




Downtown Throwdown

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Civic Center, Fulton and Larkin streets

Cost: Free

Details: Lib Tech’s Downtown Throwdown — San Francisco, on Facebook

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