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PARK CITY, Utah (Aug. 8) – The competition promises to be full of action as the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix returns for its 13th season as America’s top snowboarding competition tour. The Grand Prix will feature new stops at Copper Mountain in Colorado’s Summit County, Boreal Mountain Resort in the North Lake Tahoe region near Truckee, CA and a return to Vermont’s Killington for the final stop of the tour.
“I am excited about the resorts that we are partnering with for the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix because not only are they all great destinations in great locations, but they are creating new ways for snowboarders to ride resorts,” said Grand Prix Tour Director Eric Webster. “The line-up of Copper, Boreal and Killington seems like the perfect mix of progression and history which is fitting as the Grand Prix enters its 13th season.”
NBC and Versus will be on hand to broadcast the competition. (Schedule details will be released closer to competition.)
Copper Mountain Kicks the Tour Off
The Grand Prix kicks off Dec. 12-13 at Copper Mountain, one of the best snowboarding resorts in America. No stranger to the Grand Prix tour after hosting it in 1998 and 1999, Copper, which is known for encouraging innovation in snowboarding with its terrain, has signed on to host the tour for three years. The event, which will take place just 75 miles outside of the Denver area, will open with the traditional men’s and women’s halfpipe competition and will include an exciting nighttime exhibition event with the Paul Mitchell Progression Session.
“I am really looking forward to the Grand Prix being at my home mountain,” said Clair Bidez (Minturn, CO), who was on the podium in two of the Grand Prix stops last season. “I know that they’re going to do a really good job with it and I can’t wait to be there with my friends and family watching.”
This season, Copper launches Woodward at Copper. The 19,000 sq ft indoor facility and on-hill components are a first of the kind, using progressive learning techniques already at play in skateboarding and BMX and applying them directly to skiing and riding. Athletes will have an opportunity to progress their skills in a safer, more controlled environment. Woodward at Copper will offer Winter Experience this season and Summer Camps in 2009. (More info www.woodwardatcopper.com).
California’s Boreal Joins the Tour
The tour migrates further west to Boreal, which is right off of I-80 between Reno and Sacramento, Jan. 29 – Feb. 1. Riders will boost their best tricks in the Boreal Superpipe, a 22-foot-pipe which will have athletes going bigger while providing them with a chance to show off their best runs in an Olympic sized halfpipe as the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver hover on the horizon.
Also adding to the excitement in the resort located atop Donner’s Summit is the addition of the Visa Snowboardcross Championship series to the competition lineup. The Tahoe area is busting at the seams with top U.S. Snowboarding SBX athletes, including reigning X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA), Jeep King of the Mountain champion Shaun Palmer (South Lake Tahoe, CA) and Olympian Jayson Hale (Sierraville, CA). The competition will have riders vying for the right to claim the title in a town full of local talent.
“I’m stoked to compete in my hometown. It will be an opportunity to have a lot of friends come and see what I do when I’m gone for half the year,” Holland said. “It will be a unique experience having them at the race and cheering for me. It’s a little added pressure, but I thrive on pressure.”
Killington Awards the Grand Prix Champions
The Grand Prix returns to Killington, right in the heart of New England, for the second year in a row on the final stop of the tour March 14-15. The Killington competition will also include a 22-foot halfpipe and the overall Grand Prix champions will be crowned. Last year snowboarding phenom Louie Vito (Columbus, OH) took top billing with two wins on the tour and Olympic champion Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT) proved her medal winning her fourth Grand Prix title. The weekend snowboard celebration also will feature the final Paul Mitchell Progression Session of the tour.
“Killington has always been a leader and innovator in creating ways to make snowboarding at resorts better, especially this year with the resort building a new Burton Stash trail, and combined with a dedicated staff, creative terrain and events like Spring Loaded that are legend in the sport,” Webster said.
With a field of about 100 invited halfpipe athletes, the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix looks to make waves as the 13th season brings the best snowboarding competitors to towns across the U.S.
2009 U.S. SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX SCHEDULE:
Dec. 12-13, 2008, Copper Mountain
Friday, Dec.12 – Men’s Halfpipe Qualifiers
Saturday, Dec. 13 – Women’s Halfpipe Qualifiers, Halfpipe Finals and Paul Mitchell Progression Session (night exhibition event)
Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, 2009, Boreal Mountain Resort
Friday, Jan. 30 – Halfpipe Qualifiers
Saturday, Jan. 31 – Halfpipe Finals
Sunday, Feb. 1 – SBX Qualifiers and Finals
March 14-15, 2009, Killington Resort
Friday, March 13 – Halfpipe Qualifiers
Saturday, March 14 – Paul Mitchell Progression Session Qualifiers and Halfpipe Finals
Sunday, March 15 – Paul Mitchell Progression Session Finals