PARK CITY, UT (May 15) – U.S. ski and snowboard venues will play host to 25 World Cup ski and snowboarding competitions next season in four winter sports, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association announced Thursday. There will be one World Cup Snowboard event at Mount Bachelor in March.

USSA Vice President of Events Annette Royle said the schedule – which includes alpine racing and freestyle, ski jumping and snowboarding – begins in late November when the alpine World Cup turns to the traditional start of continuous racing for men and women with the Chevy Truck America’s Opening events at Park City Mountain Resort.

“By design, we haven’t seen the traditional fall-off in activity or interest after an Olympics that’s been true elsewhere,” Royle said. “After the 2002 Olympics here in Utah, and the 2003 FIS Freestyle World Championships at Deer Valley Resort, we’ll still have plenty of activity next winter with more than two dozen World Cup events. We’ll have World Cups in every month from November to March.”

Royle, just back from International Ski Federation (FIS) meetings in Europe, added, “I’m really excited because we’ll have our traditional men’s and women’s races at Park City, although it’ll be over two weekends instead of one four-day weekend. We pointed out (to FIS) Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) is alpine’s true rock star and it didn’t make any sense for him not to have a World Cup giant slalom and slalom in his home country…and we were able to work things out.”

USSA is finalizing television details for the World Cup events, Royle said, “but we’ll have a mix of both network TV through our long-term agreement with NBC and working on cable with ESPN. These events will have additional global significance for the sites, too, because of their European broadcasts and the millions of viewers.

The ski jumping World Cups in late February are at the Olympic venue, Utah Olympic Park in Park City, “and are in keeping with our goal of having Olympic legacy venues,” she said. “We’re extremely pleased about those events. Ski jumping, far and away, is the No. 1 event on television in Europe, so having two events will be terrific. We’re hoping to get back on the World Cup calendar every season, so this is major for us,” according to Royle.

“And getting back on the snowboarding World Cup schedule as the Olympics get set to add snowboardcross for 2006 in Torino – and as quota spots for the Games start to become available – is another big step for us; it’s really good news.” American Seth Wescott (Farmington, ME) was silver medalist in SBX at the 2003 FIS Snowboard World Championships. “Snowboardcross is one of the most exciting events – it’s been called ‘roller derby on snowboards’ because of its non-stop, up-close action on the course – and we’re going to see more and more interest in the sport during these next couple of winter,” she said.

Freestyle will return to Lake Placid, which has hosted more freestyle World Cup events than any other U.S. venue, and Deer Valley, the 2002 Olympic site. “These are two of the strongest freestyle venues in the world,” Royle said, noting Deer Valley has held both the Olympics and World Championships as well as World Cups while Lake Placid has been on the World Cup schedule every year but two since 1985 and also held the 1991 FIS Freestyle World Championships.

“U.S. athletes have had great success at these two venues and we certainly want that to continue,” she said.

The Winter ’04 lineup for skiing and snowboarding World Cup events in the USA:

Nov. 22-23 (Park City, UT) – Chevy Truck America’s Opening at Park City Mountain Resort: men’s giant slalom and slalom

Nov. 28-29 (Park City, UT) – Chevy Truck America’s Opening at Park City Mountain Resort: women’s GS/SL

Dec. 6-7 (Beaver Creek, CO) – Chevy Truck Birds of Prey men’s downhill and super G

Jan. 16-18 (Lake Placid, NY) – Freestyle World Cup: moguls, two aerials events (men/women)

Jan. 29-31 (Deer Valley, UT) – Freestyyle World Cup: moguls, aerials, dual moguls (men/women)

Feb. 28-29 (Park City, UT) – Ski Jumping World Cup: two large hill (K120) contests at Utah Olympic Park

March 5-7 (Mount Bachelor, OR) – Snowboard World Cup: parallel GS, snowboardcross (men/women), big air (men only)

– Best in the World! –