Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Nationals at Snowbird Jan. 21-26


SNOWBIRD (News Release) - Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort will host the SUBARU U.S.Freeskiing Nationals presented by Amstel Light, Jan. 21-26. The event willinclude a big mountain freeskiing event and a skiercross event. This is thesixth year that Snowbird has held the Freeskiing Nationals and the secondyear the Little Cottonwood Canyon resort has hosted the skiercross.

"The terrain at Snowbird is exceptional for a big mountain contest -challenging steeps and glades, good cliffs, the competitors love it," saidAndy Love, Mountain Sports International Event Director. "Snowbird also hasa great location above the lower parking lot, where people can easily accessthe finish of our skiercross event."

The events get under way Wednesday, Jan. 22, with a single-day qualifier toinvite approximately 25 additional athletes to compete against the 2002pre-qualified athletes in the World Tour event. The World Tour SUBARU U.S.Freeskiing Nationals will be held on the weekend of Jan. 25-26. In yearspast, the competition has been held on Mt Baldy, but organizers refrain fromdisclosing the exact venue locations based on weather and snow conditionsuntil the night prior to the contest. The skiercross event will be held inGad Valley Friday, Jan. 24. The Skiercross event will qualify athletes forthe 2004 ESPN Winter X Games.

One hundred and twenty of the best freeskiing athletes from 14 states andprovinces and eight countries will compete for over $25,000 in cash andprizes. These men and women from around the globe will travel to Snowbird,Utah, to test their abilities against some of the best all around skiers ofour generation. The Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Nationals is the second stop onthe International Free Skiers Association World Tour. The first stop wasJan. 7-12 in Whistler, BC, Canada, and the World Tour Freeride Finals willbe held in Les Arcs, France March 3-7. Attending the event are 2002Nationals defending champions, Jamie Burge of Northstar, Calif. and GuerlainChicherit of Tignes, France and 2002 IFSA World Tour Champions HugoHarrisson and Jennifer Ashton both from Whistler, Canada. Local Utahfavorites include Rick Greener of Alta/Snowbird, who finished third in theevent last year. Alta/Snowbird skier Linda Peterson finished fourth in 2002,and additional Utah competitors include Will Burks, Jamie Blair, BrantMoles, Carlo Travarelli, Chris Paulding and Laura Ogden.

What are Big Mountain Freeskiing & Skiercross Competitions?

Unlike ski racing, where a course is set up for the competitor, big mountainfreeskiing (formerly "extreme" skiing) allows a competitor to utilize thefeatures existing on the mountain between the start house and the finisharea. Competitors use areas such as cliffs, steeps and skiing speed toincrease the difficulty of their run. Freeskiing is a judged competitionthat requires five judges to evaluate the competitor on five categories:line choice, control, fluidity, technique, and aggression. There are 10possible points in each category, an averaged total of 50 points possibleper run. There are three runs scheduled for the main event. All competitionvenues at the Snowbird event are accessible to skiers and snowboarders ofintermediate ability level with a lift ticket. Skiercross is afull-featured, man-made, racecourse in which four to five athletessimultaneously leave a single start and navigate burms, whoops, their ownspeed and jumps to surpass their fellow competitors. The goal is to advancethrough a series of heats to reach and win the final heat.

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