Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Ride the rails ?snowless

DNA Tour seeks a Sun Valley champion

Express Staff Writer

The first DNA Tour snowless rail competition comes to Ketchum in search of a winner.

When Descente athletic apparel formed the DNA label in 2001, its mission was to outfit the free riding athlete. Based in Ogden, Utah, DNA continues to abide by its mission to break boundaries and has created the DNA Evolution Tour, a snowless rail system competition. It just could be evolutionary.

On Thursday, July 5, the DNA Evolution Tour will set up its signature snowless rail system in Ketchum's new town center park where hopeful rail riding skiers and snowboarders can compete for $100, which includes $100 worth of DNA apparel.

"We get hundreds of demo videos from kids looking for a sponsorship," said DNA Tour Manager Brad Geiger. "Kids have a hard time getting recognition. We wanted to do something grass roots to find an upcoming star in the industry."

Geiger had been working on an idea for snowless skiing for some time and figured out how to do it.

"It's something I just thought about," Geiger said. "I was working with snowless systems that did not require friction. The snowless system works really well, and it's an exciting new chapter in the snowless ski industry."

Growing up in the industry—Geiger's father is vice president of Descente—Geiger is fortunate to work for DNA and Descente because, in his view, the company is always trying to invent new things.

"The company gave the resources and supported the idea, which was a huge effort on behalf of the entire company," Geiger said. "Free riding and a new school mentality is all about breaking down boundaries and trying new things."

DNA held its first event in June and has traveled to several Colorado towns including Denver, Breckenridge and Boulder. The tour plans to make Sun Valley an annual destination.

"It has a broad age group and is quite diverse," Geiger said. "Some events have more snowboarders than skiers and some are opposite. There is a 13 and under competition for girls as well as boys. When it comes to riding rails the younger kids are usually the better ones."

The top three winners of each tour qualify for a final competition that will be held later in the year and will compete for a professional contract with a $3,000 singing bonus.

"The average turnout is about 30 competitors, and there are about 20 to 30 kids who pay to ride in the open session all day," Geiger said. "It's a good crowd, and it increases while we are there. People come and join after they see it."

Geiger hopes the snowless rail system will be the future of summer training in a controlled environment much like motorcross has done.

"In an indoor facility and environment for the off season is where this will advance," Geiger said.

For more information and to register visit Paul Kenny's Ski and Sports in Warm Springs or Formula Sports in Ketchum.

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