First ski freestyle event hits Steamboat Dec. 15-16

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— December is here and the first major ski freestyle event of the year is just around the corner at the Steamboat Ski Area.

"This is the first big competition of the season at the ski area," Steamboat Ski Area spokesman Mike Lane said.

The Papa John's Bumps and Jumps is scheduled for Dec. 15 and 16. The first day of the event will feature some of the world's top mogul skiers battling for a paycheck on the slopes of VooDoo. On Saturday, the action will move to the Park Smalley Freestyle complex as skiers go head-over-heels in the aerials event.

"Steamboat has a huge freestyle following, and by holding events like this one, we keep Steamboat in the international freestyle spotlight," Lane said.

While the event is not a World Cup stop, it will feature many of the top athletes in the world, such as American Eric Bergoust and Canadian Nick Fontaine.

The two-day event will be televised on Dec. 24 at 2:30 p.m. on CBS.

The actual event will open at 10 a.m. Dec. 15 with the qualifying rounds in the mogul competition. The finals are estimated to start at about 1 p.m.

The aerialist will hit the jumps at 10 a.m. on Dec. 16. The finals in that event will take place at noon.

The Steamboat Ski Area has stepped up to the plate the past four years to host several major freestyle events. Steamboat held a Sprint Bumps and Jumps event three seasons ago, a World Cup two season ago and the Sprint Grand Nationals last winter.

Lane said the ski area is always interested in bringing top freestyle competitions to Steamboat because of Steamboat's strong tradition and the interest in the sport across the country. Steamboat will also be the site of a nordic combined World Cup event in January. The ski area is looking for volunteers to fill a number of positions for the events. Folks interested in helping out should contact Lynn Masters at the Steamboat Ski Area at 870-6323.

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