Amateur snowboard series in Steamboat

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The SOS Snowboard Series will open its fifth competitive season Sunday on the steep pitched slopes of Howelsen Hill. Organizer Andy Poole said he expects between 75 and 100 of the region's top snowboarders to show up for the events, which include slalom and giant slalom races.

"It's the largest amateur snowboard series in the Rocky Mountains," Poole said.

He explained that the series is actually a fund-raiser for the Snowboard Outreach Society, which helps "at-risk" youths by teaching them snowboarding.

In Steamboat, the SOS Series will represent the first big races of the season.

Snowboarding director Michael Herget said he expects about 60 Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes to take part in the events.

The slalom race will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday. Poole said the giant slalom is scheduled to follow in the afternoon.

SOS series events will take place throughout the winter across Colorado. The tour will make stops in Steamboat, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone.

The series hosts a variety of events during the winter, ranging from slalom and giant slalom to slope-style, halfpipe and boarder-cross.

The SOS event is the first of several competitive snowboarding events scheduled in Steamboat over the next month.

The biggest will come Jan. 4 and 5, when Steamboat hosts one of three "Race to the Cup" events.

Coach Thedo Remmelink said the event is a NorAm competition and will draw top riders from around the world looking to earn FIS points. The event also is a chance for American riders to earn World Cup spots.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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