Sprint Grand National Hits Steamboat

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Steamboat Springs, Colo. Dec 13, 2001 (USSA)--World Cup freestyle mogul skiing returns to Steamboat Springs, Dec. 14-15 as the Steamboat Ski Area hosts the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National, a stop on the World Cup tour, featuring the world's best men and women mogul skiers from as many as nineteen countries including first-time entry, Mongolia.

"Freestyle skiing has always been, and remains a huge part of Steamboat's claim to the Ski Town USA® title, and we are proud to be hosting ourthird Freestyle World Cup," said Jim Schneider, co-chairman of the organizing committee. "The entire community continues to show support forfreestyle skiing year after year. It is especially evident in this Olympic year."

Two members of the U.S. Freestyle Mogul Team -- Ann Battelle (two-time World Cup Champion, 1999 World Moguls Champion, three-timeOlympian and six-time U.S. Champion), and Ryan Riley (2001 U.S. Mogul Champion, 2000 Goodwill Games Bronze Medalist, 1999 U.S. Dual MogulsChampion), along with U.S. Mogul Head Coach Don St. Pierre, hail from Steamboat and will have the crowds cheering for them.

In addition to Steamboat's athletes, the world's best men and women mogul athletes including: 1998 Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley(Tiburon, CA); 1992 Olympic gold medalist, Donna Weinbrecht (W. Milford, NJ); 2001 U.S. champion, Hannah Hardaway (Moultonborough, NH);2001 U.S. dual moguls champions, Shannon Bahrke (Tahoe City, CA) and Garth Hager (Bothell, WA); 2001 World Cup champion, 1998 Olympicgold medalist, Tae Satoya (JAP); Mikko Ronkainen (FIN); 2001 World Cup champion, Kari Traa (NOR) will be competing in single and dual mogulsdown Voo Doo's 1000-foot mogul course at the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex.

"Since the course is very similar to the Olympic mogul course, the World Cup at Steamboat will provide the athletes with the ability to gaugehow they'll feel in February," said Park Smalley, former U.S. Freestyle Head Coach and co-chairman of the organizing committee. "This is theideal opportunity to see Olympic-bound athletes in our own backyard."

The Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National competition begins Friday, December 14th with mogul qualifiers at 10:00 am and the mogul finals roundat 1:00 pm. On Saturday, head-to-head competition takes center stage with dual moguls beginning at 11:00 am. Both single and dual mogulcompetitions will be held at the Park Smalley Freestyle Complex.

The Sprint US Freestyle Grand National will be nationally televised on NBC on Dec. 30 at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Friday evening's opening ceremonies events kick-off at the Bear River Bar & Grill with an athlete autograph session from 5:30 ¿ 6:00 pm,immediately followed by official opening ceremonies featuring Steamboat Springs famous Skiing High School Band. The evening will culminatewith a special nighttime aerials and fireworks exhibition beginning at 6:15 pm. In addition, the massive portable television unit, "Screen Works"will be on hand so that spectators don't miss out on any aspect of the event that night. Friday evening's activities will take place at the base ofthe Steamboat ski area.

After Steamboat, the U.S. Freestyle Team travels to Oberstdorf, Germany; St. Lary, France; Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Blackcomb, B.C., for threeWorld Cup competitions before heading back to Steamboat for a pre-Olympic training camp prior to the 2002 Games.

Fans can visit Ski Town USA® and experience the excitement of the World Cup. The World Cup Escape package features two nights motelaccommodations, a two-day lift ticket starting as low as $139* per adult, based on double occupancy. Stay a third night and ski a third day forfree, and kids 12 and under stay and ski free.

Steamboat vacation packages may be booked through Steamboat Central Reservationsàƒ,à‚„¢, which represents the majority of lodging properties inthe area, at 1-800-922-2722 or online at www.steamboat.com. Steamboat One-Call Vacations offer the greatest value and coonvenience withpackages customized to your individual tastes.

Check in with skimag.com for full coverage of the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National from Steamboat, Colo..