Olympic Champs Highlight Sprint Ultimate Airwave


As resorts across the country are closing for the season and summer gear is being dusted off, the spring skiing in the eastern Sierra is going off.…

Park City, UT, Sept. 9–Olympic champions Eric Bergoust (Park City, UT) and Nikki Stone (Westborough, MA), along with Park City’s hometown favorite Joe Pack, will headline the field for an exciting afternoon and evening of aerial competition Sept. 11 at the second $35,000 Sprint Ultimate Airwave at Utah Winter Sports Park. Finals begin at 4 p.m., followed by a synchro team competition at 4:30 p.m. and a spectacular freestyle exhibition at 6:00 p.m., along with live entertainment throughout the afternoon.

Bergoust, who turned 30 last month (Aug. 27) followed his spectacular Olympic success in Nagano, Japan by winning the gold medal at the ’99 World Championships in Meiringen, Switzerland and is looking to earn his first World Cup overall title this season. The two-time Olympic skier has compiled nine World Cup victories and also captured the silver medal in aerials at the ’97 World Championships. He will go up against his teammate and U.S. champion Joe Pack, Park City, who took the bronze behind Bergoust at last winter’s World Championships. They’ll both be going after ’98 men’s Airwave men’s champion Matt Chojnacki (Aurora, CO).

Stone, who moved Park City several years ago for better training opportunities, will come out of retirement to compete for the $6,500 first prize. Stone is expected to battle with reigning women’s champion Tracy Evans (Park City), who also is un-retiring for the day, plus U.S. champion Marissa Berman (Mt. Kisco, NY) and Brenda Petzold (Andover, MA), who takes over as the top U.S. World Cup jumper.

Before retiring last spring, Stone had won everything her sport offered – the ’98 Olympics gold medal, ’95 World Championships title, two World Cup titles, 11 World Cup events, and four U.S. titles. Twelve men and six women have been invited to compete in the second annual event, which will have top prize of $6,500 each for men and women.

Gates open for an afternoon of excitement at the Sports Park at noon, with qualifying and live entertainment. Quarter-finals begin at 3 p.m. with a field of eight men and four women. Finals begin at 4 p.m., followed by a synchro competition in which two skiers go off kickers simultaneously and perform identical jumps; judges will score the skiers on the synchronization of their jumps as well as execution of the maneuver and landing. A huge freestyle exhibition will cap the evening. Event parking will be in the lower lot at The Canyons, with free bus shuttles to the Sports Park.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for kids 4-12 and seniors 65 and older. Insatiable, a popular band from Salt Lake City, will provide live entertainment in addition to the aerials action throughout the afternoon.

Check out an online chat with Eric Bergoust this Friday (Sept. 10) at 2 p.m. EDT (noon MDT) on CNN/SI.