Deer Valley, UT (Jan. 23) USST- Deer Valley Resort, host of the 2002 Olympic freestyle events (and alpine's slalom races), hasn't put away the cowbells just yet. The resort is preparing for another big party as it hosts the 2003 FIS Freestyle World Championships, starting Wednesday, Jan. 29 and expected to be the largest Freestyle Worlds ever with athletes from at least two-dozen nations competing.
In addition to the 2002 Winter Games, during the last five years Deer Valley's has hosted the Chevy Truck U.S. Freestyle Championships, two World Cups (in 2000 and '01) and the immensely successful U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup Olympic qualifiers for moguls and aerials a year ago.
"The World Championships is a huge event, and we're grateful that the FIS (International Ski Federation) showed its confidence in our abilities by awarding us this competition," says resort President and General Manager Bob Wheaton. "It's also nice to know we'll be hosting exciting events of international caliber even now that the Olympic Games are over. This event will truly be a community endeavor, with celebrations on Park City's Main Street and the first-ever World Championships night-time aerials competition under Deer Valley's starry skies. We're very excited about the plans for this event."
The World Championships ranks just below the Olympics; the best freestyle skiers from all over the world compete, making it, in effect, a mini-Olympics. The schedule for the 2003 Worlds:
Jan. 29 - Moguls qualifying
Jan. 30 - Aerials qualifying and Opening Ceremonies on historic Main Street.
Jan. 31 - Men's and women's moguls and Main Street Celebrations with awards and the band Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy.
Feb. 1 - Dual moguls during the day, aerials at night and all day Main Street party activities.
Feb. 2 - Official "weather day" in case of poor conditions.
Moguls and dual moguls will take place on Deer Valley's 2002 Olympic mogul venues - Champion for moguls, White Owl for aerials. (Duals is not an Olympic event.) All can easily be seen from the spectator arena.
U.S. Freestyle Program Director Polly Jo Clark said the enthusiastic throng of thousands of spectators who attended the New Year's Gold Cup competition under the lights on White Owl a year ago attest to the energy and excitement generated by the competition. "We're looking for more of the same kind of crowd, and we'd be delighted to have the same result - Americans 1-2-3," she said.
NBC will televise coverage from Worlds Saturday, Feb. 1st from 4-6 p.m. EST (2-4 p.m. MST) and Sunday, Feb. 2nd from 1:30-3:30 p.m. EST (11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. MST).
"U.S. freestyle skiers earned three medals at the 2002 Olympics at Deer Valley. It's a venue where our athletes enjoy competing," Clark said, "and it's a venue where we're certainly going to be looking for more success especially with it in our own backyard."
The World Championships is a joint production between Deer Valley and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, which has been headquartered in Park City since 1974. USSA, the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, is awarded rights by the International Ski Federation to major international events and selects the various venues in all disciplines, including alpine and freestyle skiing, snowboarding and nordic skiing.
For more information, visit the official web site of the Freestyle FIS World Championships at http://worlds2003.deervalley.com/