Winter Park Freestyle Competition Draws Big Players - Ski Mag

Winter Park Freestyle Competition Draws Big Players

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Winter Park, CO, Dec. 7, 2000-- Heavyweights from the freestyle World Cup ski tour - Olympic champion andrecord-setting aerialist Eric Bergoust (Missoula, MT), World Cup winner Joe Pack (Park City, UT) and moguls kingJanne Lahtela of Finland - will be competing at Winter Park Resort Friday through Sunday in an innovative,multi-dimensional 3-for-1 weekend.

The weekend also will see the return after two years away of Olympic moguls champions Jonny Moseley (Tiburon,CA) and Donna Weinbrecht (Killington, VT). Moseley was the 1998 World Cup champion in addition to the hisOlympic gold medal; Weinbrecht, the first women's champion as moguls joined the Olympic program in 1992, is afive-time World Cup champion (46 World Cup victories), the 1991 world moguls champ, seven-time U.S. championand two-time World Championships silver-medalist (1993, '97).

The Winter Park schedule opens Friday with aerials, rolls to moguls Saturday as part of the Sprint U.S. FreestyleGrand National and concludes Sunday with dual moguls as part of the three-site Captain Morgan FreestyleAdventure. Total prize money for the weekend is $62,000.

ESPN2 will broadcast the Captain Morgan Freestyle Adventure Dec. 22 at 1:30 p.m. EST and NBC will televisecoverage of the moguls and aerials contests Dec. 23 at 4 p.m. EST.

"The snow's good and I'm sure we'll see some great competitions. It's a fun, media event," said U.S. Head CoachJeff Wintersteen. "We've got all the top World Cup athletes, got everyone who'll be in the Olympics next season, soit should some outstanding competition...make great television and be a tremendous billboard for our sport.

"And, as far as our athletes are concerned, it's a great chance for the C Team kids to go up against the A and BTeamers. And everyone's got a chance for some national TV exposure and to make some nice money."

Bergoust, the 1998 Olympic champion and '99 World Championships gold medalist, won the first two World Cupevents of the season last August in Australia. Saturday at Blackcomb, B.C., Pack won and Bergoust was second.

Among other competitors scheduled for the weekend: Men - four-time World Cup aerials champion NicolasFontaine of Canada, Finland's World Cup and reigning world moguls champ Janne Lahtela (who won the silver medalbehind Moseley in '98) and Olympic bronze medalist Sami Mustonen, and Olympic aerials bronze medalist DmitriDashinski of Belarus; Women - reigning World Cup and world aerials champion Jacqui Cooper; Alla Tsuper ofBelarus, who won the women's event at Blackcomb last weekend; and World Cup dual moguls champ Kari Traa ofNorway.

Top U.S. athletes who will compete include reigning U.S. moguls champion and 1998 Olympian Evan Dybvig(Tunbridge, VT), defending women's aerials champion Kelly Hilliman (Tonawanda, NY), current Nor Am and U.S.moguls and dual moguls champion Hannah Hardaway, and several '98 Olympians, including moguls skier AlexWilson (Buffalo, NY), aerialist Brenda Petzold (Andover, MA), and U.S. dual moguls gold medalist Garth Hager(Bothell, WA).

Winter Park was the scene of several U.S. freestyle championships in the early Nineties - when Wintersteen wasstill competing as a World Cup acro skier. "They have a strong tradition of excellent competitions," he said, "andthis weekend should be even more fun for everyone."

The Sprint U.S. Freestyle Grand National, now in its third season, attracts the top World Cup skiers and focuses onthe traditional Olympic events, i.e., moguls and aerials.

The Captain Morgan Freestyle Adventure, in its first season, features cutting-edge, non-Olympic events (hence"Adventure") spread over three sites. Winter Park will host the feisty, side-by-side dual moguls while SundayRiver, Maine, will be the site for a halfpipe contest - on skis! - during the Chevy Truck World Cup Jan. 26-28.Waterville Valley, N.H., will have a Big Air event on skis as part of the Chevy Truck U.S. championships in March.

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