Park City, Utah (Aug. 29)–The 05/06 Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix will be the ride of a lifetime for American athletes striving to make the 2006 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team. The three-stop series, now celebrating its 10th year as the premier snowboard series in North America, will open in Breckenridge, CO, Dec. 13-17, then blast into Mt. Bachelor, OR, Jan. 5-8, before concluding in Mountain Creek, NJ, Jan. 20-21. The series will be covered by NBC and OLN and will finish with the announcement of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team.
“The Grand Prix series has been the cornerstone of U.S. Snowboarding competition for 10 consecutive years,” said Eric Webster, director of the Grand Prix series. “We are fortunate to have three great host resorts Breckenridge, Mt. Bachelor and Mountain Creek that support U.S. Snowboarding’s goal of fielding the best possible team at the Olympics.”
The excitement will build throughout the series as results from the first three Grand Prix halfpipe contests will determine the field of halfpipe riders at Mountain Creek, where the 2006 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team (including alpine and snowboardcross riders) will be announced. Fields for Breckenridge and Mt. Bachelor will be made up of about 100 men and 50 women. The elite field at Mountain Creek will feature approximately 20 men and 10 women best qualified to make the Olympic Team.
“I can’t believe this is the 10th year of the Grand Prix tour,” said Ross Powers, 2002 Olympic gold medalist and 2005 Grand Prix overall champion. “I’ve been to every one so far and I hope to make it to many more. The Grand Prix are great events. They have worked with the riders, resorts and pipe shapers over the years to make them the best they can be.
“This year will be the third time the Grand Prix will be part of the Olympic qualification process. I think it’ll be the most exciting one so far with all the top riders pushing the level even more. I’m looking forward to the Grand Prix this year and trying to make the Olympic Team again.”
The 2006 season once again will offer one of the largest overall purses for a snowboarding series prizes total more than $340,000 along with the best broadcast package for the sport on NBC, America’s Olympic network. Rebroadcasts and special presentations of exhibition events will be broadcast by OLN. Overall winners of the Grand Prix series will be awarded a new Chevrolet Colorado truck. Pat Malendoski of Planet Snow Designs, who was responsible for shaping the 2002 Olympic halfpipe, will be building the pipes at all three Grand Prix venues.
2005-2006 Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix schedule:
Dec. 13-17, 2005, Breckenridge Ski Resort:
Tuesday, Dec. 13 halfpipe qualifications
Wednesday, Dec. 14 HP finals
Friday, Dec. 16 HP qualifications
Saturday, Dec. 17 HP finals and evening rail jam event downtown
Jan. 5-8, 2006, Mt. Bachelor Resort:
Thursday, Jan. 5 slopestyle (SS) qualifications
Friday, Jan. 6 halfpipe qualifications
Saturday, Jan. 7 SS finals (day) and HP finals (evening)
Sunday, Jan. 8 snowboardcross qualifications and finals
Jan. 20-21, 2006, Mountain Creek Resort:
Friday, Jan. 20 halfpipe qualifications and finals
Saturday, Jan. 21 HP qualifications and finals, exhibition, VISA U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team announcement
The series kicks off in Breckenridge and will be the first stop for American halfpipe riders to qualify to represent the United States in Italy this February. This will be the fifth time Breckenridge has staged a Grand Prix (it also held the event in 2001, ’02, ’03 and ’05). Breckenridge, home to standout U.S. Snowboarding rider Steve Fisher, has consistently been rated as having the best pipes and terrain park in the country.
This will be Mt. Bachelor’s seventh year hosting Grand Prix and World Cup events. The venue’s reliable, record snowfall has made Mt. Bachelor a regular site for U.S. Snowboarding spring training camp. Last yeaar, Transworld magazine voted Mt. Bachelor as the No. 4 top snowboard mountain in the United States.
The series concludes at Mountain Creek, where the 2006 U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team will be announced. Located less than 50 miles from New York City, Mountain Creek is quickly becoming a top snowboarding venue boasting a world-class superpipe and terrain parks. With the halfpipe located right in the base area, Mountain Creek is one of the most accessible venues for spectators and media alike and is expected to draw even larger crowds than last year. 2006 marks the third-consecutive year Mountain Creek has hosted the Grand Prix.
“The excitement at Mountain Creek will be centered around qualification for the Olympic halfpipe team,” Webster said. Deciding who goes to Torino will definitely come down to the last event.”