Grand Prix not returning to Breckenridge this year
BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge Ski Area has decided to end its four-year run of hosting a stop on the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix.
The Grand Prix – put on by the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) – is one of the world’s premiere snowboard series, attracting an international field of the best halfpipe and slopestyle riders. In 2001/2002, the series was a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic team.
This year, the USSA is adding boardercross to the event list, which became a sticking point for Breckenridge. Boardercross will be an Olympic event for the first time in 2006.
“(The USSA) asked us for a boardercross venue, and we don’t have that,” said Breckenridge Ski Area spokeswoman Dawn Doty. “So that was a complicating factor for us.”
The three-stop series will return to Park City, Utah, this winter then head to Mammoth Mountain in California and, in an interesting departure, to Mountain Creek Resort in New Jersey.
The celebrity of Olympic silver medalist Danny Kass, a Jersey native, helped push the tour to the East Coast.
“We were looking for a venue that was located near a major urban area to bring the sport to more people,” said USSA Vice President Annette Royle. “This will, no doubt, be a unique stop for the Grand Prix.”
Breckenridge will again host the first major snowboard contest of the year – the Vans Triple Crown – Dec. 12-14. Also, the Qualifier for freeskiers is planned for Jan. 9-11.
Breckenridge is hoping to land a high-level freeskiing event to replace the Grand Prix. The ski area is currently reviewing a number of proposals and hopes to have an announcement by the end of the summer.
Neither the USSA nor the ski area has ruled out a return of the Grand Prix to Breckenridge in the future.
“We love going to Breckenridge,” said USSA correspondent Doug Haney. “The crowd is always great. This year, they just couldn’t afford to give us the space.”
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