Squaw Valley USA, Calif. (Squaw valley Press Release)--The best in the U.S.! This is the title that hundreds of the country's finest alpine ski racers will be competing for March 14-19, 2002 when Squaw Valley USA, site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, hosts the 2002 Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships. It is the final and most prestigious U.S. racing event of the 2001-2002 ski season. America's best racers will compete for the national title and bragging rights in Downhill, Super G, and Giant Slalom at Squaw Valley USA while nearby Sugar Bowl Resort will host the slalom events.
Following closely on the heels of the Closing Ceremonies of the 2002 WinterOlympic Games, this annual competition matches the best world-class U.S. SkiTeam athletes with hundreds of aspiring U.S. racers, giving theup-and-comers a chance to measure themselves against the very best.
"The timing is perfect for Squaw Valley to host this event," explained GaryPedersen, Director of Squaw Valley Ski Corp's Race Department and Chairman of the Organizing Committee. "The entire U.S Team is expected to attend, giving spectators an opportunity to see world-class and well known local athletes and Olympians such as Squaw Valley's Marco Sullivan and JuliaMancuso, Sugar Bowl Ski Ambassador Daron Rahlves, and Heavenly's Jonna Mendes in action. Olympic caliber athletes, competing on an Olympic race course, following an Olympic Games on U.S soil, what could be better?"
This series has been a right of passage for many young racers for over65 years and is considered the highest level of domestic ski racing.The first championship took place in 1933 at Cannon Mountain in NewHampshire and featured only men's and women's downhill. The event saw the addition of slalom in 1935, GS in 1952 and Super-G in 1987. There was an interruption during WWII from 1943-45, but otherwise this national championship has been a staple of every ski-racing season for more than half a century.
From March 14-19, 2001 ten separate races are scheduled for this season'schampionship, with the Downhill, Super-G and Giant Slalom events takingplace on Squaw Valley USA's KT-22 Olympic Race Course featuring some of themost demanding terrain the U.S. Championships has ever been contestedon. Site of the 1960 Women's Olympic Downhill, the courses begin atop KT-22,the flagship of Squaw Valley's fleet of double diamond terrain, descendingthrough steep and fast terrain to the finish on Squaw Valley's lower mountain.
The men's and women's slalom events will take place at the nearby Sugar BowlSki Resort on March 17, 2002. Athletes will be competing on Sugar Bowl'srecently developed state of the art race arena. The Sugar Bowl Ski Team andResort have developed this arena as part of their ongoing mission to createa ski racing program and academy capable of producing world-class athletes.According to Pedersen, "by splitting the event we can give the athletes achance to compete on Sugar Bowl's newly developed slalom venue. It is anexcellent way to provide a memorable race experience for all competitors."The combined trophy, consisting of results from the Downhill and Slalomevents will be awarded following the slalom Sunday evening March 17, 2002 atthe awards banquet.
Competitors at this season's Championship Event will be racing not only fornational pride but also for over $50,000 in prize money. For eachChampionship event first-place finishers will walk away with $3,000, second-place $1,500 and third-place $750. In the combined event $2,500 will beawarded to first-place, $1,250 to second and $600 to third.
Also part of the week-long competition is the annual "Return of theChampions" event, which pits current U.S. Ski Team members against several"legends" from past Olympics including Squaw Valley's 1960 Games in a dualslalom race. This fun race is not only a reminder of the U.S. Ski Team'slengthy history of success but an opportunity to honor competitors from pastWinter Olympic Games. "This is aa particularly exciting event for us thisseason," explained Nancy Wendt, President of Squaw Valley Ski Corp. "The1960 Olympic Winter Games remain a very significant part of our history andit will be a pleasure to welcome back a remarkable group of athletes thathelped forge Squaw Valley's success."
The Championships will be televised nationally on ESPN and are scheduled toair on April 7, 2002 at 12:30pm (EST). A one-hour, nationally syndicatedprogram featuring the Return of the Champions event will run between Octoberand December 2002 on ESPN.
For more information about the U.S. Alpine Championships at Squaw Valley USAplease call 530-583-6985, visit www.squaw.com. For information about theslalom events at Sugar Bowl visit www.sugarbowl.com. Additional informationabout the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association visit www.usskiteam.com.