VAIL, Colo. —Jan 14, 2003—This weekend, under the lights at Golden Peak in Vail, some of the nation’s most talented pro snowboarders will convene in Vail for “The Session. Fearless industry competitors will ride the rails and the hit the jumps of the most innovative and exciting rails and slopestyle course ever built, spinning and grabbing for a few perilous seconds before they land just to do it all again. 

It’s a sport that has bred an entire culture. According to some, it has revived the snowsports industry. And, after the Olympics, snowboarding is garnering a new level of respect and appreciation among audiences of all ages ?— a trend the Vail Valley Foundation and Vail Resorts is embracing. 

“As the number one winter resort in North America, it is our responsibility to foster the next generation of winter sport enthusiasts, said Chris Jarnot, Vice President of Marketing for Vail and Beaver Creek. “We’ve made a concerted effort to provide an exceptional snowboarding product at Vail. Hosting an event like The Session is an opportunity celebrate these athletes valuable contributions to our industry. 

The Session, the first pro snowboarding invitational of its kind in Colorado, is the latest athletic endeavor of the Vail Valley Foundation. Following closely on the heels of what has been called the most successful World Cup ever, this event stands to offer the community, tourists and athletes alike an unprecedented snowboarding experience. After all, it is the first time such an illustrious roster of snowboarders has come together to compete for more than $110,000, comprised of the largest single payouts of the season, and the legacy of Vail. Who will own the rails and super slopestyle course of this inaugural event? It will be decided on the rails on Friday and on the Super Slopestyle course on Saturday, both at 6:00 pm.  

“We felt it was important to make an impression on the sport of snowboarding by producing an exciting and rewarding event for both the athletes and the community, said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation. “This is a new endeavor for us, but we have built an event team that includes many of the industry’s most respected and talented professionals. I believe the expertise and depth of the team behind The Session will be the defining factor of our success.

The team showcases the very best in course construction with rails built by Vail’s own Ryan Hobart and Stephen Laterra, and slopestyle construction by Pat Malendoski and Ryan Neptune of Planet Snow Design. 

Hobart is a long time local and owner of BCS custom metal works. BCS builds unique and custom rail features for resort terrain parks throughout the west. Their work, welded and fabricated at their shop in Eagle, is featured in both California and Colorado’s most popular resorts. The work of Stephen Laterra, Vail’s terrain park designer and builder, earned the resort a prestigious spot on Transworld Snowboarding and FREEZE Magazine’s top ten pipes and parks lists. 

Melandoski, 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 Session’s Slopestyle and Rail courses says Greg Johnson of the International Judging Commission of Snowboarding, “allow and encourage riders to take the sport to the next level with new tricks and combinations. This event will set the standard for the next generation of events in competitive snowboarding. 

On Friday, and for the first time, women riders will join the men to compete together on three custom built rails.  Riders will move from rail to rail during a two-hour jam session for a shot at the title prize of $10,000 on each rail with a bonus $5,000 going to the best female rider of the nighht. On Saturday, the Super Slopestyle competition will feature 35 elite male and 20 elite female riders competing in four to six runs, also in a jam format. The top three males riders Saturday night will walk away with $20,000, $15,000, and $10,000 respectively; while the top women will win $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000. Six judges from the IJC will determine the standings each night. 

The Session, January 17-18, is free for spectators and viewer friendly with both the rails and slopestyle course finish accessible by foot at the base of Golden Peak. For more information, visit or call the Vail Valley Foundation at 970-949-1999