Greg Bretz soars out of the pipe at Mammoth Mountain. (Mammoth Mountain)

Greg Bretz soars out of the pipe at Mammoth Mountain. (Mammoth Mountain)

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA (Oct. 13) – A year after hosting one of the most amazing matchups in the sport’s history between Shaun White (Carlsbad, CA) and Danny Davis (Detroit, MI), Mammoth Mountain is back again to host the 2011 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, March 2-6, for the second consecutive year and fifth overall. The tour returned to Mammoth last season as a part of Olympic selection after a several year break.

The Paul Mitchell Progression Session, a staple at the Grand Prix events, will launch a standalone slopestyle competition.

“Mammoth is truly one of the classic Grand Prix venues, having hosted some of the most noteworthy snowboarding contests over the last 15 years,” said U.S. Snowboarding’s Grand Prix Tour Director Eric Webster. “Mammoth brings not only perfect venues for halfpipe and slopestyle, but a veteran staff that knows what it takes to host world class snowboarding competitions.”

Last winter, the Golden State’s Mammoth Mountain hosted one of the most progressive halfpipe competitions to date. The 2010 season was all about the double-cork, and Davis threw down three back-to-back double-corks at Mammoth, to take the win. He topped two-time Olympic gold medalist White, who went on to win all of the other four 2010 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix events.

“2011 is going to be a pivotal year for the growth and future of snowboarding. The time is now for the riders to innovate and set the tone for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi,” said Mammoth Mountain’s Action Sports Brand Manager Josh Chauvet. “I’m looking forward to see the coming of age of the local Mammoth riders with the continued progression of veterans.”

Headlining the 2011 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix is Mammoth native, Olympian Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA). Bretz took the 2010 U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix series by storm, launching big tricks and amplitude out of the pipe to land a spot on the 2010 Olympic Team.

“It was a great contest last year,” said Bretz, whose father also works at Mammoth. “Hopefully it will be again this year. I’m looking forward to it.”

Bretz, among others, will be hitting the 22 foot halfpipe hard trying to clinch victory and land the next big trick in halfpipe riding. The halfpipe contest will showcase the growth of talent, variation of competition style and the growth of the sport. With a concert and the Western Hemisphere’s best riders added to the four day event, Mammoth is set to host another memorable competition.

“Snowboarding is such a progressive sport and the riders are always pushing the limit trying to land the next big trick,” said Angie Lovett, senior manager of sports sponsorships for Sprint. “Sponsoring the 2011 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix is a natural fit because we are pushing the limits of technology as well and have been introducing next big thing in wireless technology – Sprint 4G which delivers wireless speeds up to 10 times faster than current 3G networks. It is the next big evolution in wireless and it’s here in 55 cities across the country.”

The event will kick off with the men’s and women’s halfpipe finals on Saturday, March 5, followed by a concert Saturday evening. The event will then transform into the men’s and women’s Paul Mitchell Progression Session Slopestyle Sunday, March 6.

Alongside the halfpipe stars, is slopestyle newcomer Tyler Flanagan (Mammoth Lakes, CA), who hopes to shine in the Paul Mitchell Progression Session. Flanagan, at just 17, has already made a name for himself in the snowboarding slopestyle scene, winning his first Dew Tour contest in 2009. The Paul Mitchell event will showcase a mixture of standout athletes and impressive tricks from jumps to rails and preview of what to expect from the recently added FIS World Championships discipline. In addition to being added to the FIS World Championships schedule, slopestyle is also being considered by the International Olympic Committee for future Olympic inclusion.

The Paul Mitchell Progression Session will conclude the 2011 Grand Prix series, with Mammoth marking the final stop of the 2011 Grand Prix tour. The event is set to air on two different dates. Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix is scheduled for March 12 at 1 p.m. ET on NBC and March 19 at 4 p.m. ET on Versus. The Paul Mitchell Progression Session’s airdate is March 19 at 5 p.m. ET on Versus.

For more information about the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, please visit http://www.ussnowboarding.com/.
For more information about Mammoth Mountain, please visithttp://www.mammothmountain.com/.  

2011 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix
Mammoth Mountain, CA

March 4, Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Qualifications
March 5, Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Finals 

Paul Mitchell Progression Session
March 6, Paul Mitchell Progression Session Slopestyle

RIDER TO WATCH
Greg Bretz

Hometown: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Home Mountain: Mammoth Mountain
Board: Lib Tech C2 Power Banana
Sponsor: Nike 6.0, Red Bull, Oakley, Kicker, Grenade, Mammoth Mountain
Career Highlights:
•    Won Halfpipe World Cup 2008
•    2010 U.S. Olympic Team