(Jan. 25, 2003 - News Release)Snowbird, UT, U.S.A.-After a challenging two days of unusually foggyweather, the Subaru US Freeskiing Nationals Skiercross event was given justenough clearing to run the competition today at Snowbird Ski & SummerResort. The women's time trials were graced with sunny skies and a fastsnow conditions, but shortly into the running of the men's trials, the fogcame in and held through the entire semi-final rounds. It was not until thefinals that the athletes and many spectators were able to truly enjoy thefast and furious competition which was taking place amidst the clouds.
The single-run timed trials, which seeds the athletes for the semi-finalrounds, had ESPN X Games Gold Medalist Aleisha Cline of Whistler, BC Canada,Anik Demers of Squaw Valley, Vicki Bates of Snowbird leading the field of 6women. Little changed for the women into the finals, as they held theirtrial placements through to the final round. In the men's division, JustinGlick of Silverthorne, CO had the fastest timed trial, followed by EnakGavaggio of Savoie, France, Davie Barr of Whistler, Kaj Zackrisson ofRattuik, Sweden, and Kyle Darling of Snowbird.
The course was designed by Keith Phaler and Jason Webster, incorporating aseries of motocross influenced jumps, burms, and whoops combined with gates.Four racers hit the course together, their keys to success are the infamous"hole shot", and consistent speed to break away from the other athletes, andbeat them to the bottom. The final obstacle of the course was a large"Subaru" table top jump where the athletes sailed over the automobiletowards the finish line.
Of forty four male competitors entered in the event, 32 were seeded to formthe initial round of heats. After the sweet 16 round, skies had cleared andthe great 8 round consisted of Justin Glick, Kaj Zackrisson, Kyle Darling,Ryan "The Rock" McCullough, Reggie Crist, Matty Wittner, Enak Gavaggio andDavie Barr. The level of athleticism was extraordinary. 2002 ESPN X GamesGold Medalist Reggie Crist came through the finals triumphant on the eve ofX Games title defense, "I was thinking that we may get shut out again todayby the fog, after the timed run. My timed run was pretty scary, I couldn'tsee the take off for that last jump over the Subaru", said Crist of thecompetition, "I'm stoked about the win today because it was my firstskiercross of the season, and it got rid of the nerves, and fired me up forX Games in Aspen next week". Finishing 2nd in the finals was Davie Barr ofWhistler, BC Canada, Justin Glick of Silverthorne, CO came 3rd, KajZackrisson of Rattuik, SWE earned 4th, Matty Wittner finished 5th, lastyear's US Nationals Skiercross Champion Enak Gavaggio finished 6th, 7thplace went to Kyle Darling and Ryan McCullough finished in 8th place.$10,000 cash was the total prize purse for the event and Crist took $3500,Cline was awarded $1500. Many of the athletes will be competing in boththe big mountain and skiercross events in hope of winning an additionalcombined title prize of $5000.
Tomorrow, Sunday, will start the Big Mountain competition. Athletes willski some of Snowbird's most challenging terrain on the "Silver Fox" run andcompete for $10,000 cash. Competition will get under way with the women at9:30am. Spectators are welcome to watch the competition, which is easilyaccessible to all levels of skiers. The finals will be held on Monday at"North Baldy".