Lake Tahoe, CA/NV, Jan. 13--Thanks to the firepower of the West Coast's largest snowmaking system and ongoing cold temperatures, the world's best freestyle skies will once again compete at Heavenly. The Sprint® U.S. Freestyle Grand National, an F.I.S.World Cup event, will feature up to 300 competitors in three days of high flying action.
"The F.I.S. World Cup is one of the most prestigious events in skiing," explained Dennis Harmon, Heavenly's Managing Director. "We are extremely proud to be one of only a handful of resorts in the United States to host a World Cup event. The international exposure for South Lake Tahoe and Heavenly will be significant."
One of only two freestyle competitions to take place in the United States this season, the Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National will take flight Friday afternoon, January 21st, with the Acro competition and Grand Opening Ceremonies. Saturday's event features the bump competition on Lower Gunbarrel, one of the country's most difficult mogul trails. The weekend's festivities wrap-up on Sunday as competitors take flight in the Aerial competition.
The U.S. Ski Team, including Northern California's favorite skiing son, Jonny Moseley, will be joined by competitors from Japan, Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Argentina, and Switzerland. A total of 30 countries will be represented. Other local competitors include Heavenly's own Brooke Ballachey, Travis Ramos and Travis Cabral from South Lake Tahoe, Shannon Barkhe, North Lake Tahoe and Shelly Robertson from Reno.
In preparation for the weekend, Heavenly's snowmaking crews have been working around-the-clock, temperatures permitting, for more than two months. The aerial jump site alone is 150 feet wide by 50 feet deep. The mogul course on Lower Gunbarrel will feature bumps two and three feet deep.
"We've been concentrating 100% of our efforts this past week on preparing for this event," commented Malcolm Tibbetts, the resort's Vice President of Mountain Operations. "We look forward to, once again, hosting one of the best freestyle World Cup events on the circuit."
The Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National will be aired nationally on CBS Sports, January 29, 2000. For more details on event times and weekend festivities, freestyle skiing fans can call (775) 586-7000. To arrange athlete interviews, receive event B-roll or competition results, members of the media can call Monica Bandows at (775) 586-7000, ext. 94451, Molly Cuffe at (775) 586-7000, ext. 94458 or Juliann Fritz with the U.S. Ski Team at (435) 647- 2061.