Steamboat Kicks Off U.S. Freestyle

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Steamboat Springs, CO Dec. 15--Freestyle skiing returns to Steamboat Springs, December 16-18, 1999, as the Steamboat ski area hosts the Sprint US Freestyle Grand National, featuring the world's best Freestyle athletes from fourteen countries around the globe.

The Sprint US Freestyle Grand National will be nationally televised on CBS as a one-hour sports special on January 1, 2000 at 2:00pm (MST).

The world's best men and women mogul and aerial athletes including: 1999 World Champion, World Cup Champion and US National Champion, Ann Battelle; 1999 World Cup Champion Michelle Roark-Dual Moguls; 1998 Olympic Gold Medalists: Jonny Moseley-Moguls and Eric Bergoust- Aerials, as well as the top-ten world cup competitors in each discipline will battle each other for the $62,000 purse in this first ever invitational event.

"This is a unique event that combines the 'best of the best' in Freestyle skiing and incorporates new elements such as the team and night synchro events," said Park Smalley, former US Freestyle Head Coach and co-chairman of the organizing committee. "It also showcases the US Freestyle Ski Teamand one of America's premier freestyle facilities in the world, Steamboat's Voo Doo Complex."

The Sprint Grand National kicks off Thursday evening, December 16th at 6:30pm with opening ceremonies, fireworks and a night synchronized aerials competition--the first of its kind--at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area. Teams of two aerialists will compete side-by-side judged on synchronization,form and landing. In addition, the massive portable television unit, "Big Mo" will be on hand so that spectators don't miss out on any aspect of the event that night or throughout the competition.On Friday, December 17th, the Dual Mogul and Team Mogul Events begin qualifying runs at 10:30am on Voo Doo.

Athletes will experience 1,000 feet of knee pumping adrenaline on Voo Doo as they go down side by side in search of the title "king and queen of moguls" at Steamboat. The Dual Mogul Finals take place at 1:00pm, with awards immediately following the competition.The top aerialists will take off from the Voo Doo Aerial venue on Saturday, December 18th at noon. 1998 Olympic Gold Medalists Eric Bergoust (also the 1999 World Champion) headlines the action. Competitors will soar over 50 feet in the air, twist and flip several times before trying to execute a perfect landing in just a matter of seconds.

The Sprint US Freestyle Grand National events at Steamboat and Heavenly Resorts are the hallmark of a unique partnership agreement between Sprint, the United States Ski & Snowboard Association and the American Skiing Company. This three way partnership is unique within the sports industryand is a first in the ski and snowboard industry, tying together a corporate sponsor, sports property and a resort owner/operator.