April 21, 2007
WHISTLER, BC - (News Release) - Whistler Blackcomb's search for their Ullr Girl ended at the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard's Playstation Big Air on Saturday April 21 when skier Grete Eliassen was crowned with a Viking helmet befitting a mountain goddess and awarded with a cheque for $25,000. The Minnesota native dominated over a field of 14 skiers and snowboarders in the resort's girls-only contest based on online votes, a park event, a big mountain event, and an arts and culture presentation.
"I've never won this much money before and I know how blessed I am to be able to have this opportunity," says Eliassen. "I've decided that I want to give back and donate the entire prize purse to charity."
"At only 20 years old, this is a huge amount of money to donate to a cause," says Liesl Holtz, Grete's Oakley Team Manager. "She plans on splitting her winnings among the Women's Sports Foundation, the organization that promotes women in sports and is responsible for lobbying for, and securing, equal winnings for men and women in the 2007 XGames by ESPN; the Stand Strong Again organization, a group that was developed in 2005 to fund research of spinal cord injuries after Lars Veen, a close friend of Grete's, was paralyzed during a ski training accident; and an undisclosed hunger relief organization."
"The If Ullr Was a Girl contest was amazing because it gave skiers and snowboarders the chance to hang out and have fun together. I made so many new friends through the week," says Grete. "The best thing was the Ullr Unleashed art show, it really broke everyone out of their shells as they displayed their talents."
Last weekend the girls displayed their park skills in the TWSSF Stompede arena and on Monday's Ullr Unleashed event at the Glacier Shop the girls expressed themselves and a diverse array of talents to a packed house. Standout performances included snowboarder Bev Vuilleumier rapping as the Notorious B.E.V., a beautiful Chinese song sung by Grete and an old school dance performance and photo slideshow by snowboarder Dominique Vallee.
To cap the Ullr events, Wednesday saw the girls putting their big mountain skills to the test on Blackcomb Mountain's Chainsaw Ridge, home to the infamous Couloir Extreme and False Face, one of the steepest skiable faces at any ski resort in North America.
Whistler Blackcomb posted 442 online profiles from girls all over North America seeking the Ullr Girl title and the site, www.ifullrwasagirl.com, generated, on average, 660 user sessions per day with 20 page views per session.
Standings in each event are as follows:
Stompede - Park
Top Ullr Girl Skier - Grete Eliassen
Top Ullr Girl Snowboarder - Joanna Dzierzawski
Ullr Unleashed - Arts & Culture event
Top Ullr Girl Skier - Lynsey Dyer
Top Ullr Girl Snowboarder - Vanessa Stark
Amateur Category Winner
During the on-mountain events, skiers and snowboarders were judged by different judging panels and ranked separately. All four event categories carried equal weight and the finalists were awarded points for their ranking in each event. The grand prize winner in the open category and in the amateur category were the two athletes who accumulated the most points after all four categories were totaled.
Whistler Blackcomb would like to thank the generosity of the Ullr Event sponsors: Oakley, Dakine, K2, Sapient Snowboards, Mountainside Lodge, Perimeter Transportation, Tab, Evian, the Glacier Shop, Showcase Snowboards and Rocky Mountain Production Services.
The 14 Ullr Girl Finalists:
Angie Seeley, snowboarder, Sun Peaks, BC
Meredith Eades, skier, Vancouver, BC
Joanna Dzierzawski, snowboarder, Tahoe, California
Vanessa Stark, snowboarder, Pemberton, BC
Pip Hunt, skier, Salt Lake City, Utah
Bev Vuilleumier, snowboarder; Incline Village, Nevada
Mercedes Nicoll, snowboarder; Whistler, BC
Dominique Vallee, snowboarder; Squamish, BC
Grete Eliassen, skier; Grand Marais, Minnesota
Lynsey Dyer, skier; Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jess Cumming, skier; Boulder, Colorado
Sarah Burke, skier; Whistler, BC
Leanne Pelosi, snowboarder; Whistler, BC
Meg Olenick, skier; Carbondale, Colorado
Consistently ranked as North America's top ski and snowboard resort, Whistler Blackcomb continues to raise the level of mountain excitement for its guests, and has introduced the Symphony Express, a new high speed quad accessing further into Whistler Mountain's spectacular high alpine this season. Located a scenic two-hour drive north of Vancouver up the spectacular 'Sea to Sky' Highway, this resort is home to the continent's two greatest vertical-rise ski mountains - Whistler and Blackcomb. With over 17 alpine bowls, four glaciers, 200 trails, 8,171 acres of skiable terrain and a one mile vertical rise, the choices of where and what to ski/ride at Whistler Blackcomb from beginner to advanced terrain are staggering. Joined at the base by a vibrant pedestrian village filled with restaurants, patios, cafes, shops, galleries and spas, and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, this four season resort is spectacular. Check it all out at www.whistlerblackcomb.com.