The Colorado Summit, the state’s semi-professional ultimate disc team, has punched its Golden ticket.
The team, which was founded last year, has found a home in Golden and will play this season’s six home games at Colorado School of Mines’ Marv Kay Stadium.
It kicks off its home season at 6:30 p.m. May 13 against the Seattle Cascades.
“We couldn’t be happier about our permanent move to Golden,” the team recently announced on its Facebook page. “ … It truly is a mountain town that embraces outdoor recreation … That is the definition of the Colorado Summit.”
The lowdown on the Summit
The Colorado Summit was one of three new teams in the American Ultimate Disc League last year. The league, which is starting its 12th season, is comprised of 24 teams across North America, according to the AUDL website.
Teams play seven-on-seven non-contact ultimate disc, also called ultimate Frisbee. The league is called semi-pro because the players aren't paid enough to play full-time, so most have day jobs, but AUDL is the top league in the world.
There are 20-30 players on the Summit’s roster, and coaches rotate them based on strategy and availability.
Among the players is Golden resident Jonathan Nethercutt, the team’s lead handler — which is like a quarterback. Nethercutt, who also works at Powder7 Ski Shop in north Golden, led the AUDL in throwing yards last year and has been named a preseason candidate for 2023 MVP.
The Colorado Summit played at the University of Denver last summer, where it averaged 1,000 fans per game across its six regular season home games. With their support, the team won the 2022 Western Division Championship in its inaugural season.
Overall, games are high-intensity and fast-paced with dramatic dives and jaw-dropping jumps on both offense and defense.
“It’s perfect for highlights in athleticism,” Sal Pace, the Summit's majority owner, said of ultimate disc. “ … The scoring is quick and frequent with big throws.”
The Colorado Summit went undefeated in its home games last year, and the team hopes to repeat that feat in Golden. Not only that, but the Summit is hoping to build on its regional championship and take the national crown this year, Pace continued.
Making the move
After playing at DU last summer, the team started looking for a new home venue because of seating capacity, price and schedule availability. The team’s owners stated in an email that, of all the options they explored, they believed Golden was the best.
Along with its proximity to Denver, Pace explained how the owners liked Golden’s unique character, history and atmosphere. The city’s an “epicenter” for outdoor recreation, as Pace described, and the owners believed it’d be a perfect fit for the Summit, which has also embraced Colorado’s great outdoors.
“Golden has its own community identity,” Pace continued, “and we want our team to be a part of that community.”
In February, the Summit hosted a community meeting with Goldenites to talk about its hopes for the 2023 season and impacts from hosting the games. More than 150 people attended the virtual meeting, with most if not all supporting the Summit’s move to Golden.
Afterward, Pace said he went door-to-door around the stadium to meet the neighbors, who were generally positive.
The team met with Mines, the City of Golden and the Chamber of Commerce multiple times, and has assembled plans to mitigate noise, traffic and other impacts.
Finally, the team signed an agreement with Mines to play at Marv Kay Stadium this season. Summit’s agreement is year-to-year for now, which Pace said is typical, but he hoped Golden will become the team’s forever home.
What to expect this summer
The team’s still finalizing details, but Pace hoped to offer Goldenites free tickets to either the Summit's May 13 or May 20 home games.
Games have a family-friendly atmosphere, with face-painting, games, on-field activities between quarters, and a “base camp” set up by the Summit’s sponsors and partners.
The Colorado Summit's house band, Brothers of Brass, plays in the stands before every game, and then a different musical artist performs “Rocky Mountain High” before each game.
“You don’t need to be a fan of ultimate Frisbee to come and have a good time,” Pace continued. “ … We put a heavy emphasis on creating an entire experience.”
Fans will be directed to park on the Mines campus, not in the surrounding residential areas. With school out for the summer, the team owners believe the on-campus parking will meet the demand for the games.
After each game, to discourage fans lingering around the stadium, Pace said the team will host an all-ages after-party at local establishments.
The Colorado Summit has already partnered with several local businesses and nonprofits, and is looking to become an active member of the Golden community by participating in activities beyond ultimate disc games.
“We’re going to embrace the community,” Pace said. “And if we do everything as we plan, the community will embrace this team as well.”
For more information about the Colorado Summit, including the team's 2023 schedule, visit theaudl.com/summit.