Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ski Tour makes SV its final stop

Event set for March 14-16, 2008

Express Staff Writer

Kipp Nelson

The second annual Ski Tour is a go, and while the other stops on tour have not yet been set in stone, it is official that Sun Valley-Ketchum will anchor this year's tour, serving as the event's final stop.

"Last year we brutalized everyone by holding it in Sun Valley in January," said Kipp Nelson, co-founder of The Ski Tour and a Ketchum resident. Nelson credited the enthusiasm of local residents for the success of the inaugural tour. "The one outside event we held was 'The Wailers' and it was the largest attended act of the weekend."

Despite the hardy spirit displayed in temperatures well below freezing, this year's tour will come to the Wood River Valley from March 14 to March 16, 2008.

The Ski Tour made its mark last year by bringing a plethora of talent—both on the mountain and on-stage—to Sun Valley, Breckenridge, Aspen/Snowmass and Squaw Valley.

The Ski Tour features two of the more rambunctious events in professional skiing: skier half-pipe and skier-cross. The events offered the largest purse in skiing, $25,000 to each winner at each stop, and featured the biggest names in the sport.

Last year's skier-cross notables included X Games skier-cross champion, former World Cup and U.S. Ski team member and Ketchum native Zach Crist. Brother Reggie was also slated to compete but was sidelined by injuries. Also gracing Sun Valley's ivory slopes was Daron Rahlves, whose resume is simply too long to list in it's entirety, but it includes a World Championship in Super G, and multiple first place finishes at the World Cup and at the U.S. Nationals. Casey Puckett, the winner of the Sun Valley event and one of only two Americans to ever compete in four Winter Olympics, was a perennial standout at each event, finishing second overall. Canadian Stanley Heyer took home the overall skier-cross grand prize in The Ski Tour's first year.

Simon Dumont, of Bethel, Maine, dominated the first year of half-pipe events taking home the championship and more than $80,000 in winnings. The final event in Squaw Valley was held in balmy 60-degree weather, a trend The Ski Tour hopes will continue for Sun Valley in 2008. Dumont, 16-year-old New Zealander Jossi Wells, Colorado native Peter Olenick and a slew of talented riders topped the short-list on The Ski Tour's first season of half-pipe competition.

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