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Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National Set For Jan. 17-19


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LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (News Release) — One of the most athletic and entertaining events on the winter calendar is set to return to Lake Placid over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend.

The Sprint United States Freestyle Grand National, a World Cup freestyle tour stop, will play out Jan. 17-19 with aerial skiing events on Friday and Sunday at the MacKenzie-Intervale Ski Jumping Complex. The aerial assaults are wrapped around mogul competitions on Saturday on Whiteface Mountain’s Wilderness trail. Training takes place at both venues Jan. 14-16.

Many in the field that battled for Olympic glory in Utah before capacity crowds will come to Lake Placid for the U.S. Freestyle Grand National. A lift ticket or season pass is all that’s needed for a box seat alongside the Wilderness course.

Admissions to the aerials is $10 for adults, $6 for juniors and seniors and includes chairlift and elevator rides to the top of the 120 meter ski jump tower. Children six and under are admitted free of charge.

“We’re excited to be here in Lake Placid for not only this winter, but in 2004 as well, said Brian Marcouiller of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Events Dept. “We are happy with the partnership we have with ORDA, and feel this is a good location to continue the growth of freestyle skiing. It makes every sense to return here.

The women’s aerial event marks the return of all three 2002 Olympic medal winners. Australian Alisa Camplin (gold) and Canadians Veronica Brenner (silver) and Dierdra Dionne (bronze), after spending much of their off-season training in Lake Placid’s Kodak Sports Park, will resume their friendly rivalry on the adjacent aerial hill.

The men’s field is lead by Olympic champion Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic who used a quintuple jump en route to the gold. Eric Bergoust, the American skier who failed to medal in Utah after winning gold in Nagano, returns undaunted. The highly-decorated Bergoust will have his hands full with many of his own teammates including Olympic silver medallist Joe Pack.

Norway’s golden girl Kari Traa, the women’s mogul winner at Deer Valley, will be pushed by the likes of Americans Shannon Bahrke (one victory and three seconds this season) and Jillian Vogtli who qualified for the 2002 Olympic team here last winter.

Scandinavian men, particularly Olympic gold medal winner Janne Lahtela, are always a factor. However, U.S. mogul skiers Travis Mayer, Olympic silver medallist in Utah, as well as University of Colorado football player / skier Jeremy Bloom, Toby Dawson and Travis Cabral are equally strong.

The Lake Placid meet will air on NBC Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. ET.

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