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Jeep King of the Mountain Qualifier This Saturday

Squaw Valley, CA Feb. 13, 2004 - Jeep King of the Mountain, the professional snow racing series, returns to the Olympic slopes of Squaw Valley USA this weekend February 14-15, 2004 for the event championships.

Part dual giant slalom and part skier and boardercross, part world-class athlete, part amateur competitor, this uniquely formatted event combines the skills of former Olympic and World Cup downhill skiers and snowboarder racers with two Wild Card teams of local athletes as they compete in the newly created "Y course for cash and prizes worth over $500K.

This exciting event is not just for the series' roster of internationally famous athletes, it is open to a select few local athletes. Twelve teams (six ski teams; six snowboard teams) are invited from around the world, representing the United States, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, and Sweden. The remaining teams are determined by the National Open Qualifier to be held on Saturday February 14, 2004. The Qualifier is open to top-notch amateur and professional racers from the Tahoe area and from across the country. Simply get a ski or snowboard team together (one man and one woman) and try your hand against the international Jeep teams. Any team that qualifies to race against the pros in the professional Jeep KOM race is entitled to win any prize money allocated for that race.

For the main event on Sunday, competitors begin on separate courses and must maneuver parallel giant slalom turns. Midway through the course, racers meet at the Y, the point where the two parallel courses merge into one. Here, skiers and snowboarders then negotiate a single set of banked turns, and a series of single and double rollers and table-top jumps leading to an exciting finish.

Athletes participating in this season's series include US Olympic Downhill Gold and Silver Medalist Tommy Moe, 2002 US Olympic Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom Bronze Medalist Chris Klug, Canadian National Ski Team and Squaw Valley Freeride Team member Anik Demers and Olympic Gold and Silver Alpine Snowboard Medalist Karine Ruby of France, plus many more.

In the series finals, teams are battling to capture the King of the Mountain title for their country, a share of the $450,000 prize purse, two two-year leases on a Jeep Liberty, and $20,000 in bonus prize money courtesy of Paul Mitchell.

Spectators are welcome to attend and viewing is easy as the course is located on Exhibition with the finish coral in the base area near the lower terminal of the Funitel. Sunday's schedule is a 10:30am start for qualifying with semi finals and finals from 2-3pm. An awards ceremony follows immediately after the race.

Two different one-hour telecasts of the Squaw Valley event are scheduled to air on CBS. The first on February 28 and the second on March 6, both at 1PM EST (check local listings to confirm times).

Title sponsor for The Jeep King of the Mountain series is Jeep, a division of Daimler Chrylser. Marketing partners include, Columbia Sportswear, Mopar, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, Harman, Paul Mitchell, Ski Magazine, Atomic, Charles Schwab, AT&T Wireless and Zatarain's. Site sponsors include Telluride Ski Resort and the Town of Mountain Village in Colorado, The Wyndham Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa of Colorado, Killington Resort of Vermont, Squaw Valley USA in California, and Sunshine Village of Banff, Canada.

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