Women take their turn in X Games superpipe
ASPEN – A few minutes after the completion of the men’s skiing superpipe prelims, Sarah Burke and five other women got to do something no woman has ever done at the Winter X Games – ski the superpipe at Buttermilk Mountain in a formal demonstration event.Even though the 19-foot high, 515-foot long superpipe, custom built for the event, was larger than anything the skiers had faced before, they adjusted to it quickly, Burke said.With the increase in qualified women competitors for such an event, the promoters of the Winter X Games are considering adding a women’s superpipe competition.”This is my fourth time at the X Games, and this is their first time giving us a comp,” Burke said.Burke used the opportunity to showcase the skills that earned her a gold medal in the inaugural Global X Games held in Whistler, B.C., last summer.But her real goal is to win a gold medal in a competition at the original extreme snow sports competition, the Winter X Games.”It would be amazing,” she said after finishing one of her runs during the demonstration.”It’s definitely a goal of mine right now.”Competitions for women freestyle skiers are few and far between, but opportunities for skilled women skiers are growing.The Nature Valley U.S. Freeskiing Open, which begins Thursday in Vail, hosts a women’s skiing slopestyle competition.The Open also features a daily exposition for women to jam in the halfpipe.Each day, beginning at noon and continuing for an hour, women will be allowed into the pipe to throw their tricks.”The addition of Ladies Happy Hour to the 2004 Nature Valley U.S. Freeskiing Open is something that we’ve been wanting to do for quite some time,” said Michael Jaquet, director of sales and business development for TransWorld Media, the parent company of event sponsor FREEZE Magazine.”The females who compete in the Open are incredible athletes.”And we want to help promote and expose them as much as possible in order to ensure they are receiving as much coverage and publicity as the men,” Jaquet said.Hannah Epps, a skier from Michigan who took part in the event, sees a growing future for women’s events.”There’s more girls getting into the sport,” said Epps, who earned a silver medal in the World Skiing Invitational in Whistler in 2003.”It’s awesome to be invited to the biggest competition (in winter skiing sports),” she said.Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236 or email@example.com
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