VAIL-November 4, 2003- After a successful inaugural year, The Honda Session snowboard pro-invitational returns to Vail, Colorado, January 16-18, 2004. Snowboard’s elite will compete for more than $110,000 in cash and prizes in the Salomon Rails and Bud Light Super Slopestyle events. Last year’s male and female leading prizewinners, Shaun White and Jenny Jones, head up the impressive competitor roster promising another weekend of big air, big tricks and big prizes. The event is free to spectators and both the rail and slopestyle finish area are accessible by foot at the base of Golden Peak in Vail.

In addition to White and Jones, other confirmed competitors at The Honda Session include Ryan Paris, Max Henault, George Oakley, JJ Thomas, Ryan Lougee, Chad Otterstrom, Chris Englesman, Josh Malay, Todd Richards, Nate Sheehan, Matt Peterson, Ryan Thompson, Hannah Teter, Barrett Christy, Megan Pischke, Kim Bohnsack and Jonnel Janewicz.

The action starts on Friday night with the Men’s Salomon Rail Competition at 5:30pm. Riders will compete in a session format for 90 minutes on three unique rails, strategically deciding which to session as they pull out their best tricks to win the title prize on each rail. A team of two International Judging Commission (IJC) judges scores each rail individually. The women take on the rails on Saturday at 5:45pm with same format for 45 minutes.

On Saturday, the ladies are first on the Bud Light Super Slopestyle course at noon, followed by the men at 7pm under the lights. Women riders have 75 minutes to session the course and the men have 90 minutes. It is estimated that each rider will get 4-6 runs and each scored run counts for overall placing. Six judges from the IJC are in charge of deciding the standings.

On Sunday, aspiring riders get a chance to learn from the pros during Salomon’s Public Pro Clinic followed by a casual session style competition. Salomon’s hottest pro riders, along with Vail snowboard experts, will take you on a guided tour of Vail’s Golden Peak terrain park providing instruction and trick tips along the way.

Following the clinic, riders can show off everything they learned during the Salomon Public Competition. Salomon pros will judge competitor’s newfound skills and winners will take home a new snowboard or Vail season pass. Both the clinic and the competition are open to riders of all levels but everyone must register. Registration forms are available online at www.sessionvail.com or at the tent in Golden Peak, January 14- 17, 8am-6pm or on Sunday, 9am-11am only. Both the clinic and the competition are free; however, participants are responsible for their own lift access.

“We felt it was important to add a public component to The Session beyond spectatorship,” said Kurt Krieg, vice president of sales and operations at the Vail Valley Foundation. “Watching the nation’s best freestyle snowboarders compete is inspirational and we wanted to take that a step further. We’re excited to offer an educational and competitive experience to riders who might not otherwise have an opportunity like this.”

The Honda Session features rails and slopestyle course construction by Pat Malendoski and Ryan Neptune of Planet Snow Design. Malendoski, owner of Planet Snow Design, a rider-driven company headquartered in Oregon, is responsible for the planning, design and construction of renowned parks, pipes and other terrain features at mountain resorts and events worldwide. The Company’s resume includes such notable competitions as the US Open, Grand Prix Series and the 2002 Olympics.

The only pro snowboarding invitational of its kind in Colorado, The Session is an athletic endeavor of the Vail Valley Foundation and produced with the cooperation of Vail Mountain. The event is free for spectators and viewer friendly with easy pedestrian and snowboard/ski access. For more information, visit www.sessionvail.com or call the Vail Valley Foundation at 970-949-1999.