Calling all SOS riders: Race series returns

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The popular Snowboard Outreach Society race series returns to Steamboat Springs on Saturday for a giant slalom and a slalom race down Howelsen Hill.

The giant slalom begins at 10 a.m. with the slalom race to follow.

Competitors can register online at www.sosoutreach.org or www.active.com. There is a $25 competition fee, and a one-time $60 membership fee for the U.S.A. Snowboarding Association.

Lift tickets will be $10 for those who don't have season passes to the ski area.

The SOS series has become the largest snowboarding series in the Rocky Mountains with 17 events at Colorado ski resorts. This year, snowboarders will compete in slalom, giant slalom, halfpipe, slopestyle and boardercross. Skiers also can compete in halfpipe and slopestyle events.

The events are held to raise money for SOS programs, which serve at-risk youth.

This year marks the 11th anniversary of SOS, which has involved more than 10,000 youth in snowboarding programs designed to teach values such as courage, discipline and integrity.

"Being new to the SOS organization, I never realized what an impact the programs and events make in the lives of these kids," SOS Series Director Katie Brauer said. "It's amazing to see how excited they get for these events and what a great time they have."

SOS competitors can accumulate points throughout the winter toward qualifying for the USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain from April 2 to 9.

In addition to Howelsen Hill and the Steamboat Ski Area, Keystone, Beaver Creek, Vail and Buttermilk will host SOS events.

Saturday's races open the series, and the next time SOS comes back to Steamboat, a halfpipe and slopestyle competition will be held Feb. 5 and 6, respectively.

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