Rocky Mountain Regionals in Steamboat this week

About 200 freestyle competitors are expected

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— About 200 competitors will have the chance this week to prove their talents against the area's best in big air, halfpipe, aerial and mogul events.

The Rocky Mountain Division Freestyle Championships begin Wednesday and run through Sunday at Mount Werner.

"This is it," said Erik Skinner, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club freestyle program director. "Everyone in the Rocky Mountain Division is going to be here, from junior skiers to those who are competing on the NorAm tour."

For five days the slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area will be transformed into a stage featuring some of the biggest names in the sport of freestyle.

"It's important to all of these skiers," Skinner said. "It's their last chance to earn points for nationals, and you can't look past the bragging rights that go along with winning."

Skinner said the skiers tend to ski their best at this event. Skinner anticipates about 50 skiers from Steamboat Springs will compete in the events.

"I expect every kid on our team to have a big week," Skinner said. "They have the home field advantage and they will use it to their advantage."

The events will begin at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday with halfpipe. The big air competition will follow in the afternoon. Both events will take place in the Bashor Bowl area.

The skiers will head to the aerial hill Thursday, and championship and senior moguls are Friday on Voodoo. The junior mogul event is Saturday and the dual mogul is Sunday.

Steamboat hosted the event two years ago but couldn't last year because of the Junior Olympic Championships.

Skinner said it is common for the regional championship to alternate between Steamboat Springs and Winter Park.

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

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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