Feb. 25, 2006
Squaw Valley USA, Calif. (Squaw Valley Press Release)—An already star-studded lineup of racers slated to compete in the grand finale of the Jeep® King of the Mountain Professional Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships on Feb. 26, grew even deeper following Saturday's National Open Qualifier at Squaw Valley USA, Calif.
The participants arrived from near and far, with an anticipated strong contingency of amateur, club and professional racers representing all parts of California and Nevada. Others came from as far away as Idaho, Colorado, Alaska and all points in between. Demonstrating the depth of the competition, those on hand included two athletes that recently raced in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, skier Marco Sullivan of Tahoe City, Calif., and snowboarder Nate Holland of Squaw Valley, Calif.
Each athlete received two timed runs down a Parallel Giant Slalom and snowboard-cross integrated racecourse known simply as the "Y-Cross. At the end of the day, the following eight athletes posted the fastest times and now have an opportunity to compete against the most decorated racers in the world for a share of the $150,000 prize purse:
Adam Smith, Bend, OR —Men's Snowboard
Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, CA—Men's Snowboard
TJ Lanning, Park City, UT—Men's Ski
Jake Fiala, Frisco, CO—Men's Ski
Lynn Ott, Bend, OR—Women's Snowboard
Joanie Anderson, South Lake Tahoe, CA—Women's Snowboard
Amy Harris, Incline Village, NV—Women's Ski
Elyse Saugstad, Girdwood, Alaska—Women's Ski
[pagebreak]If Saturday's event was challenging for the five open qualifiers, the path to victory grows even more difficult from here. Sunday's Professional Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships, set to start at 10:00 a.m., will pit them against a lineup of 24 of the top races in the two sports. Among the standouts include seven athletes from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, including Daron Rahlves of Truckee, Calif., Graham Watanabe of Salt Lake City, Utah, Jasey Jay Anderson of Canada and Austrians Doresia Krings, Manuela Riegler, Dieter Krassnig and Lukas Gruner.
In addition to battling one another, the qualifiers will be racing on the Jeep King of the Mountain Series' Y-Cross racecourse. The innovative course design delivers high-speed excitement in a format that combines the technical skill of Parallel Giant Slalom with the cutting edge drama of skier-cross and boarder-cross. The Y-Cross has proved ideal for skiers and snowboarders alike, and the Jeep King of the Mountain Series is the only series to combine the racing elements of these two sports into one event. Racers begin on separate courses and must maneuver Parallel Giant Slalom turns. Midway through the course, racers meet at the Y-Cross, the point where the two parallel courses merge into one. There, skiers and snowboarders must race side-by-side on a single course while negotiating banked turns and single and double rollers leading to an exciting finish.
The ski and snowboard racers will be competing Sunday for a $150,000 cash purse. Overall, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series offers the richest cash payout in snow racing, including $450,000 (U.S.) in prize money plus $20,000 (U.S.) in additional bonuses from John Paul Mitchell Systems. Adding to the allure of the event, this year the keys to four new 2006 Jeep Commanders will be presented to the men's and women's ski and snowboard champions.
A national audience will be able to view the Jeep King of the Mountain Series race from Squaw Valley USA on March 25 from 1:00 — 2:00 p.m. EST on CBS Sports, and on nationally syndicated television across the U.S. between March 13 and April 2.
The Jeep King of the Mountain was established in 1993. Jeep is the title sponsor for the Jeep King of the Mountain Series. The Professional Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships are the sister competition to summertime's Jeep King of the Mountain Professional Mountain Biking World Championships. Other marketing partners for this season include: Atomic, Columbia Sportswear Company, Edge Advanced shave gel, Fender Musical Instruments, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Mopar, Sirius Satellite Radio and Ski Press Magazine.