Local favorite, Sho Kashima, will compete on home snow as U.S. Freestyle Championships move to Heavenly.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CA (April 26) – The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) announced Thursday that the U.S. Freestyle Championships will return to world-class Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. A spectator-friendly venue, Heavenly will play perfect host to men’s and women’s aerials, dual moguls and moguls events beginning March 29-31, 2013.
Heavenly last hosted the championships in 2004 and is one of only a handful of resorts to do so two years in a row. Recent peers include Stratton Mountain Resort (2011, 2012), Squaw Valley (2009, 2010) and Killington (2006, 2007).
With a deep seeded heritage in freestyle skiing, the resort promises two more good shows in the upcoming years. Aerials competitions will again be held at night under the lights while the competition finish lines will sit in direct view of the sumptuous California Lodge, located at the base area.
"Building on our heritage of freestyle skiing and competition that dates back to its roots in the 1970’s, we’re excited and honored to host the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly on Gunbarrel," said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager. "Gunbarrel is the most iconic moguls run in North America and has spawned such great skiers as Glen Plake and current U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athlete Sho Kashima. It’s the ultimate challenge for America’s top freestyle skiers."
A hotspot for freestyle skiing since the sport’s inception, Heavenly is no stranger to the development of elite athletes. Many of the United States’ top freestyle skiers hail from the resort including Brooke Ballachey, Chris Hernandez, Ryan Hickey, Anna Park, current U.S. Ski Team athlete Sho Kashima and Glen Plake, an icon of 1990s skiing culture. Heavenly is also home to the legendary Gunbarrel moguls run, a popular competition venue, and features two man-made terrain parks that include jumps, bank turns, table tops, rollers, hits and rail slides, providing optimally-diverse training opportunities for up-and-coming skiers and pros alike.
Indeed, local spectators are sure to cheer for Kashima, a former Heavenly Valley Ski Foundation athlete who grew up skiing in Lake Tahoe.
"I can’t think of anything more inspiring than competing on my home hill during such an exciting time in the winter sports world,” said Kashima. “Heavenly provides excellent support to its freestyle athletes and I am proud of the resort’s selection as host of the U.S. Freestyle Championships.”
Because the U.S. Championships event falls after the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, spectators will also have the opportunity to watch U.S. Olympic athletes compete after they return from the Games.
“Heavenly will provide a great combination of spectator-friendly venues plus a rich heritage of freestyle skiing,” said USSA Vice President, Events Calum Clark. “The U.S. Freestyle Championships will showcase our most accomplished freestyle skiers both as they prepare for and return from the Olympics in Sochi.”
About Heavenly Heavenly Mountain Resort is a world-class destination offering guests a one-of-a-kind combination of scenic beauty, exhilarating on-snow experience and nightlife unmatched in the ski industry. Heavenly is a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc., the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. One of the largest resorts in North America, Heavenly spans 4800 acres, climbs to Lake Tahoe’s highest elevation at 10,067 feet and features 97 trails for every level of skier or snowboarder. The famous moguls of Gunbarrel were the site of the U.S. Freestyle Championships in 2004. For more information on Heavenly Mountain Resort, please visit www.skiheavenly.com or call 800-HEAVENLY.
About the USSA The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding and the parent of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing. Developed to facilitate participation in national and international competition, the Olympic sports organization provides structure for competitive skiing and snowboarding. From grassroots programs to governance of sport, management of rules, competitions and athletic rankings, the USSA oversees athletic pipelines for development in the sports. With a vision to make the USA the best in the world in Olympic skiing and snowboarding, the USSA provides leadership and direction for tens of thousands of young skiers and snowboarders who share an Olympic dream while maintaining a strong adherence to core values. The USSA, established in 1905, operates out of the national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, in Park City, UT. For more information, visit www.ussa.org.