BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (Dec. 13) – For the third consecutive year, the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix opens at Breckenridge Resort, once again voted the best halfpipe in North America by readers of Transworld Snowboarding Magazine.
Expected to compete are six Olympic medalists including Gretchen Bleiler (silver ’06; Aspen, CO), Lindsey Jacobellis (silver ’06; Stratton Mountain, VT), Kelly Clark (gold ’02; Mount Snow, VT), Ross Powers (gold ’02; Stratton Mountain, VT), Danny Kass (silver ’02, ’06; Mammoth Lakes, CA) and JJ Thomas (bronze ’02; Golden, CO).
“The first event of the year is always one of the most exciting where the fans and riders get to reunite with the tour veterans and at the same time get a glimpse of what the future of competitive snowboarding holds,” said Grand Prix Director Eric Webster. “New names emerge and new levels of riding are exposed and Breckenridge provides the perfect venue and atmosphere because of their snowboarding history and anticipation of the sports future.”
Over the tour’s 11-year history, the Grand Prix has gained a much deserved reputation for building the best halfpipes in the country, thanks to Pat Malendoski of Planet Snow Designs, the man responsible for building the 2002 Olympic halfpipe, which produced four Olympic medals led by Grand Prix veterans Powers and Clark.
“Breckenridge is one of the most challenging contests of the year because the Grand Prix draws the best riders in the world. In the past couple of years, it’s been pretty windy here and that has also made it tough, but it’s been beautiful all week and the pipe is super consistent. They do such a great job dialing this pipe and I always look forward to this contest,” said Bleiler, the reigning Grand Prix champion.
Snowboarding history has been written and rewritten at Breckenridge as the resort was one of the first in North America to allow snowboarding in 1984, then one year later, hosted the first world championships.
“The Grand Prix is the domestic kick off for the competition season and Breckenridge is almost always the best pipe we ride all year, so all the best riders are here,” said U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski. “We’ve been training on this pipe for about a week and the contest excitement is really starting to build, everyone has been putting together some phenomenal runs in training and I can’t wait to see them stomped this weekend.”
In its fifth year at Breckenridge, the Grand Prix added to that history last season when Luke Mitrani (Mammoth Lakes, CA) boosted a 31-foot air out of a quarterpipe via snowmobile tow-in during the Paul Mitchell Progression Session. Riders will have a chance to topple the mark this Saturday night as another monstrous quarterpipe is constructed in downtown Breckenridge. The event also serves as the only North American qualifier for The Arctic Challenge, hosted by snowboarding legend Terje Haakonsen in Norway.
Adding to the excitment, Rip-It Energy Drinks will award a daily best trick award of $2,500, while $14,000 will be awarded to both the men’s and women’s halfpipe champions. The overall purse of the Grand Prix is $300,000 including two new Chevrolet trucks, which will be awarded to the halfpipe champions at the end of the three-stop series.
Breckenridge Competition Schedule:
Friday, Dec. 15 – Men’s Superpipe Qualifiers, 8:30 a.m. MT
Saturday, Dec. 16 – Women’s Superpipe Qualifiers, 8:30 a.m. MT
– Superpipe Finals, 12:30 p.m. MT
– Paul Mitchell Progression Session, QP, 7:00 p.m. MT*
*DJ Roots and DJ Vajra will perform live during and after the downtown exhibition
Can’t make the competitions in person? Tune-in to NBC and Versus for all the action coming from Breckenridge. Check local listings as air times are subject to change.
– Sun. Dec. 24, 3 p.m. ET, Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix, Breckenridge, CO – NBC
– Sun. Dec. 24, 5 p.m. ET, Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix, Breckenriidge, CO – Versus
– Sun. Dec. 24, 6 p.m. ET, Paul Mitchell Progression Session, Breckenridge, CO – Versus
Remaining Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix Dates:
Feb. 2-4, 2007, Mountain Creek Resort, NJ:
Saturday, Feb. 3 – Superpipe Qualifiers and Night Finals
Sunday, Feb. 4 – Slopestyle
Feb. 24-25, 2007, Tamarack, ID:
Saturday, Feb. 24 – 22-foot Superpipe Qualifiers and Finals
Sunday, Feb. 25 – Snowboardcross Time Trials and HeatsFor complete details on the 2007 Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix tour, log on to http://www.ussnowboarding.com/grandprix.