VAIL, Colorado ??вЂќ Before heading off to the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, to try and secure a medal for their respective countries, snowboarding standouts Jasey Jay Anderson of Canada and Doresia Krings of Austria will first try to earn the top podium position at the Jeep King of the Mountain Professional Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships, set for Feb. 3-4 at Sunday River, Maine. As many as five additional Jeep King of the Mountain snowboard athletes have been nominated for their respective countries’ Olympic teams, which have yet to be finalized.
The Jeep King of the Mountain Series, professional snow sports most prestigious event for the past 13 years, offers the richest cash purse in snow racing and is seen annually by millions of television viewers via CBS Sports and nationally syndicated television. The event features 32 of the world’s top skiers and snowboarders competing head-to-head to capture the coveted title of World Professional Champion as well as a share of the record prize payout topping $450,000 (U.S.) 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.
The event at Sunday River will begin with a National Open Qualifier on Friday, Feb. 3, allowing top-notch amateur, club and professional snowboard racers from across the northeast a chance to earn a wildcard spot in the World Professional Championships. National Open Qualifier registration information can be found at www.jeepsports.com, and registration will take place on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Grand Summit Hotel in Sunday River. Then on Saturday, Feb. 4, the mountain will serve host to the men’s and women’s snowboard portion of the Professional Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships.
Heading into Saturday’s race, Anderson, the defending Jeep King of the Mountain World Professional Champion, sits in second place in the season standings behind Graham Watanabe of Salt Lake City, Utah, a member of the U.S. Snowboard Team and winner of the 2005 Valle Nevado World Cup and 2005 South American Cup. The Canadian Rocket, as Anderson is known, will be trying to add to his impressive list of credentials that includes winning the overall World Cup title each year from 2001-2004, and earning two gold medals at the 2005 World Championships. Dieter Krassnig of Austria, who has amassed 53 top-10 World Cup finishes in his career, sits in third place, followed by U.S. Snowboard Team member and Jeep King of the Mountain 2005 event titlist, Jeff Greenwood, of Portland, Ore. Rounding out this extremely strong field of competitors are Lukas Gruner of Austria, ranked second overall in the FIS Snowboard Cross Standings, and Guillaume Nantermod of Switzerland, a former FIS World Champion currently ranked fourth in the world. Krassnig, Gruner and Nantermod have also been nominated for their respective Olympic rosters, with a decision to be made in the coming weeks.
In the women’s snowboarding competition, Krings, the 2005 World Cup Champion, sits in third place behind Julie Pomagalski of France, a multiple World Cup titlist, and Leslee Olson of Redmond, Ore., a member of the U.S. Snowboard Team and a finalist in the Winter X Games. Ursula Smith of Denver, Colo., the 2003 ISF Snowboard X Silver Medalist, holds the fourth spot, trailed by Manuela Riegler of Austria, the 2005 FIS World Champion, in fifth. Riegler and Pomagalski have also been nominated for their respective Olympic rosters, with a decision to be made in the coming weeks.
Running from December 2005 through February 2006, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series features stops at some of the most spectacular outdoor havens in the U.S. and Canada, each offering world-class recreational facilities and breathtaking scenic backdrops. Thus far races have been held in Crested Butte, Colo., and Sunshine Village, Banff, Canada. Following the races at Sunday River, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series will next head to Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Calif. on Feb. 25-26 for the season’s grand finale.
A national audience will be able to view the Jeep King of the Mountain Series event at Sunday River on CBS Sports on Feb. 19 from 2:30 ??вЂњ 3:30 p.m. EST. Over the course of the season, the races will be shown via CBS Sports and through national syndication for a total of six hours of coverage between January and April 2006. In addition to broadcast coverage, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts can now view the Jeep King of the Mountain Series online. Through a special partnership with Ski Press Magazine, the website www.skipresstv.com will allow race fans to follow their favorite ski and snowboard athletes during each race of the 2005-2006 Professional Skiing & Snowboarding World Championships. The site will also carry archived footage and highlights from some of the best races in the 13-year-old events’ storied history.
Formerly a pure downhill series, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series has established a reputation for drawing the most elite skiers and snowboarders of the sport, and carries with it a rich history of past Olympic champions, such as Jean-Luc Cretier (’98 Nagano), Tommy Moe (’94 Lillehammer), Josef Polig (’92 Albertville), Pirmin Zurbriggen (’88 Calgary), Bill Johnson (’84 Sarajevo), Leonard Stock (’80 Lake Placid), and Franz Klammer (’76 Innsbruck). The 2005-2006 Series will maintain that legacy, with a line-up that has produced Olympic medals, world championship titles, national titles and numerous world cup victories between them.
The Jeep King of the Mountain Series implements an innovative racecourse known as “The Y,” which 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 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, 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 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, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Mopar, Sirius Satellite Radio and Ski Press Magazine. During each Jeep King of the Mountain event, the points leaders from the men’s and women’s brackets don the coveted black and white John Paul Mitchell Systems leader’s bib, signifying their progress toward earning the World Professional Championship. In addition, racers have the opportunity to earn additional bonuses through Sirius Satellite Radio’s Race to the Big Dog challenge.
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