PARK CITY, UT (June 16) – Colorado’s Telluride Resort will be the new home of international snowboarding competition in the U.S. as the 2010 Visa U.S. Snowboardcross Cup hits the Rocky Mountains Dec. 17-20. Telluride will be the sole U.S. stop of the LG FIS Snowboard World Cup and will feature an SBX and PGS competition during what will be the second in a series of five Olympic qualification events for the two sports.

“It’s very exciting to be able to bring an event of this scale to a resort as great as Telluride where the enthusiasm and drive to make this World Cup a success is so strong,” said USSA Vice President of Events Calum Clark. “It’s been a really exciting process to go work with Telluride. It’s more than a resort wanting an event. It’s a community taking on an event as a part of their program.”

In its debut as a host to an elite level snowboarding competition, Telluride is excited to forge a long lasting relationship with the snowboarding World Cup event community as well as kick things off on the cusp of the Olympic year with a first-class event.

“We’re thrilled to bring the World Cup to Telluride,” said Telluride Ski & Golf CEO Dave Riley. “Following the great success last season with the U.S. team training, we’re ready to have the national and international snowboard communities focused on Telluride in the run-up to the Olympics. Our entire destination has come together to make this event happen, and we look forward to becoming a regular stop on the World Cup tour.”

“The Telluride Ski Area and the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride are excited to be hosting the upcoming Snowboard World Cup beginning on December 17, 2009,” added Frank Bell, Co-Chair of the Organizing Committee. “These challenging and crowd pleasing events, which will be the Telluride area’s first World Cup competition, will showcase things to come at the Vancouver Olympics in February of 2010. We hope the world will join us either in person or through the media coverage in introducing the best snowboarders in the world to the great terrain, spectacular mountain setting, and two great ski towns that embrace the 2009 Snowboard World Cup.”

The idea to have Telluride host the World Cup was sparked by an early season snowboardcross camp held there last season.

“The athletes and the coaches came out of that camp blown away with the level of service they received. It was like an event,” Clark said. “Telluride took the spark of having the U.S. athletes there and thought, ‘We could really make something of this.’”

According to U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley, Telluride Resort will make a perfect home in the west for an early-season World Cup stop.

“We are very excited to be having our World Cup at Telluride. The hill they have is so good and the snowmaking system is perfect for that time of year. No place in the world can get those kinds of courses done at that time of year,” Foley said. “We almost hate to share it with the rest of the world, but I think everyone is going to be amazed at the level of quality. I think it’s going to be one of the, if not the best World Cup of the year and we’re going to be able to do it before Christmas.”

The heat will be on in the snowboardcross as heats of four athletes race through rollers, jumps and bank turns in an attempt to be the last man standing.

The pressure will be on the U.S. Snowboarding’s men’s SBX roster as Olympic champion Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME), five-time X Games gold medalist Nate Holland (Squaw Valley, CA), World Championship bronze medalist  Nick Baumgartner (Iron River, MI),World Cup winner Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID), World Cup podium performer Jonathan Cheever (Saugus, MA) Olympic halfpipe gold medalist Ross Powers (Londonderry, VT), snowboarding legend Shaun Palmer (South Lake Tahoe, CA) and the rest of the domestic riders battle it out to solidify their spot in the up to four spots open on the men’s Olympic team.

Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis (Stratton Mountain, VT) will also be on hand looking to dominate the women’s field.

Parallel giant slalom athletes will also be in the hunt for their Olympic team nominations. Michelle Gorgone (Boston), who took to the podium of two World Cups last season, will be aiming to take the stand again in the U.S.

On the men’s side Tyler Jewell (Steamboat Springs, CO) will be back in the race after an injury kept him from competition last season. Joining him will be Adam Smith (Bend, OR) who finished second in a World Cup last season.

Capping things off in Telluride will be a team SBX exhibition competition. Team SBX pairs two riders from the same country on a team. One races the course against three to five other competitors and when that competitor crosses the finish line, the gate at the start triggers for the next teammate to begin racing.

“The World Cup at Telluride will be filled with intense competitions, and the setting provided by the resort provides us with the perfect opportunity to showcase the sport in the U.S. before it hits the world’s stage at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver,” Clark said.

The Visa U.S. Snowboardcross Cup Schedule:
Thursday, December 17 – PGS qualifications and finals
Friday, December 18 – SBX qualifications
Saturday, December 19 – SBX finals
Sunday, December 20 – Team SBX

NBC, the Olympic network, and the cable network Versus will broadcast the event. TV schedule details to follow.