January 21, 2007
BEAVER CREEK, CO - (News Release) - There may not be two snowboard-cross racers more in groove than Lindsey Jacobellis and Seth Wescott, as the American pair proved while capturing their second straight Jeep® King of the Mountain titles today at the Skiing & Snowboarding World Professional Championships in Beaver Creek, Colo.
Jacobellis, the 2006 Winter Olympic silver medalist, just captured her second snowboarding World Championship last weekend in Arosa, Switzerland, while Wescott, the 2006 Winter Olympic gold medalist, finished second at the World Championships. Having won the first race of the season in Snowbird, Utah, and with only one snowboard race remaining in the Jeep King of the Mountain season, they are strong favorites to earn their first World Professional Championship along with the keys to a new 2007 Jeep Patriot and the lion's share of the record cash purse topping $450,000.
With temperatures at the original race site, Zel am See, Austria, nearing 50 degrees with rain in the forecast, the decision to reroute the Skiing & Snowboarding World Professional Championships to Beaver Creek was reinforced early and often Sunday. Snow fell throughout the day, making for ideal racing conditions not only for the event's stellar line-up, but also for thousands of fans gathered at the base of Haymeadow run to catch the action. Having the race back in the U.S. also worked out well for the strong American men's field, who managed a red, white and blue sweep of the medal podium.
Wescott, from Farmington, Maine, started the day with a hard fought win over Radoslav Zidek of Slovakia, who earned the silver medal in Torino, Italy. In the next round, Wescott battled fellow Olympian Nate Holland of Squaw Valley, Calif., to move into the Championship Heat. There he would be matched up against defending World Professional Champion Graham Watanabe of Park City, Utah. Watanabe, himself an Olympian, took out Austrian National Champion and Olympian Mario Fuchs in the first round before dispatching of Olympic bronze medalist Paul-Henri "Polo" Delerue of France in the semi-finals. In the Championship Heat, Watanabe suffered a crash in a closely contested first race before Wescott took over in the second race to earn the title. Holland defeated Delerue in the Consolation Heat to capture third place honors.
"Today was a lot of fun and the competition was outstanding," said Wescott. "To go up against guys like Rado (Zidek), Holland and Watanabe and come away with a win was really big for me. A lot of this course was about the start. Who could get out the quickest and get over that big hip determined who could gun it down the home stretch and bring home the victory."
Stratton Mountain, Vt.'s, Jacobellis faced an equally impressive line-up of contenders. In the first round, she defeated qualifier Lindsey Telling of Edwards, Colo., before out dueling the upset-minded Callan Chythlook-Sifsof of Girdwood, Alaska to reach the finals. In the other bracket, Julie Pomagalski of France knocked out Seattle, Wash.'s Marni Yamada to begin the day and followed up with a spirited race against Olympic gold medalist Tanja Frieden of Switzerland. Pomagalski made it through unscathed, setting up a repeat of the Championship Heat from the first race of the season in Snowbird, Utah. Though the venue changed, the result remained the same as Jacobellis defeated the French champion in consecutive races. In the Consolation Heat, Frieden held off Chythlook-Sifsof to finish third.
"I felt great out there today and everything was working for me," said Jacobellis. "I had good starts all day, which is important as I'm not always the quickest coming out of the gate. I like this format because it can be less of a distraction racing against just one other person at a time. You can control what you're doing throughout."
The athletes in Beaver Creek competed on the Jeep King of the Mountain Series' innnovative Y-cross racecourse. As part of the event's "athlete inspired" racecourse design initiative, Palmer put his two decades of extreme sports brilliance to work in personalizing the course with his own technical elements. For the first part of the course, two racers navigated the dual features section consisting of single and double rollers. Once through this section, the two courses converged into a single course, forming the approximate shape of a Y. The second section featured terrain characteristics of snowboard-cross racing, including banked turns, jumps, and tabletops.
The snowboard exclusive race at Beaver Creek will air on Feb. 17 from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. on CBS Sports. Each race of the 2006-2007 Skiing & Snowboarding World Professional Championships will air on CBS Sports, with additional broadcast coverage on nationally syndicated television. The Jeep King of the Mountain Series next heads to Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico on Feb. 10 for a ski-exclusive race, before concluding the season with the grand finale on March 3 at Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado, featuring both ski and snowboard racing.
About the Jeep King of the Mountain Series
The Jeep King of the Mountain was established in 1993. Jeep is the title sponsor for the Jeep King of the Mountain Series. The Professional Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships are the sister competition to summertime's Jeep King of the Mountain World Professional Mountain Biking Championships. Other marketing partners for the Jeep King of the Mountain include Beaver Creek Resort Company, Bern Helmets, Columbia Sportswear Company, Edge ActiveCare, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Infinity Systems, Michelin, Mopar, Rossignol, Ski Press Magazine and Sprint. Based on their wins in Snowbird, Utah and Beaver Creek, Lindsey Jacobellis and Seth Wescott retain the right to wear the coveted black John Paul Mitchell Systems leader's bib heading into the final snowboard event of the season.
JEEP KING OF THE MOUNTAIN
Skiing & Snowboarding World Professional Championships
FINAL STANDINGS - BEAVER CREEK, COLO. - JAN. 21, 2007
1. Seth Wescott, Farmington, Maine
2. Graham Watanabe, Park City, Utah
3. Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, Calif.
4. Paul-Henri "Polo" Delerue, France
5. Drew Neilson, Canada
6. Radoslav Zidek, Slovakia
7. Mario Fuchs, Austria
8. Shaun Palmer, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
1. Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton Mountain, Vt.
2. Julie Pomagalski, France
3. Tanja Frieden, Switzerland
4. Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, Alaska
5. Doresia Krings, Austria
6. Maria Danielsson, Sweden
7. Marni Yamada, Seattle, Wash.
8. Lindsey Telling, Edwards, Colo.