NORWALK, Conn., June 2 — A week following the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest, SoBe snowboarder Stephen Koch announcedhis plans to descend the North Face of the world’s highest peak via snowboardin August. The successful completion of this quest will make Koch the firstperson ever to snowboard the highest peaks on all seven continents, and willpermanently etch his name in snowboarding and mountaineering history.

“My quest to climb and then descend the seven summits via snowboard startedten years ago. I’m looking forward to accomplishing this longstanding goal,”said the 34-year-old Koch. “I’ll be climbing without oxygen and I’ll carry myown board. When you really think about it, this is as pure as snowboardinggets.”

“Stephen’s inspirational determination, athleticism and fearlessness, pairedwith his fascinating survival story make him a perfect member of SoBe’s Team Lizard. We wish him luck on his upcoming quest, and wholeheartedly support hisdream and passion,” said SoBe spokesperson, Kristine Hinck.

No Stranger to Danger

Koch has encountered some serious situations in his quest to climb and ridethe world’s highest peaks. He was at Everest base camp during the 1996climbing tragedy that claimed eight lives, and he gained a unique perspectivewitnessing the aftermath of the most tragic day in Everest history.

Koch also survived an avalanche in the Tetons in 1998. In a slide where hetraveled over half a mile in under half a minute, Koch sustained multipleinjuries, and he spent the night on the mountain alone. He was rescued thefollowing day by helicopter, and less than ten months later, after intenserehabilitation, Koch climbed and rode the same route.

Avalanche Awareness

As a result of his avalanche experience, Koch has founded the AvalancheAwareness and Education Fund, a program dedicated to public avalanche survivaleducation and awareness. He has delivered over 40 presentations on the topic toschools, businesses and local organizations.

Snowboarding Support

Koch relies on sponsor support from companies like SoBe Beverages to help himpursue his passion. He will be the featured athlete on the SoBe website forthe month of July at, and he will correspond with SoBe fansvia web journal updates from Everest base camp.

Koch departs for Tibet on July 6, 2003, and plans to summit Everest in lateAugust — weather permitting. For more information on Stephen Koch, or tocoordinate a pre-climb interview, please contact Kristine Hinck at SoBe:( or 203.899.7163.)