Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Biche takes aim at skier cross dream

Ketchum racer seeks sponsors for Olympic bid

Jean Christophe “Biche” Rudigoz grew up skiing in Ketchum, where he still lives as he looks forward to his third winter season as a skier cross competitor. Photo by David N. Seelig

Biche Rudigoz has logged plenty of hours as a ski racer, and now he wants to spend more time pursuing a dream in the cutting edge sport of skier cross. And he's asking for financial support to help him along.

Ketchum resident Rudigoz, 27, is entering his third year as a skier cross competitor after 16 years as an alpine racer—12 of those on the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF) teams. He competed for four years on the Nor-Am level with many U.S. Ski Team and elite racers.

Born during the 1980-84 stretch when his father Michel Rudigoz was a U.S. Ski Team women's team coach during that team's glory days on the World Cup, Biche recently turned his attention to skier cross. The American-born sport has been called a snow skiing version of motocross.

"Skier cross has four competitors simultaneously racing on a single course with bumps, jumps and turns," Rudigoz said about the spectator-friendly single elimination event. "The winners of each heat are then pitted against each other into a semi-final and then the final race."

After last season, Biche said, "I have just finished my second year racing in the skier cross event. It is an exciting, high-speed competition that will offer medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010 and then will make its debut as a full-fledged winter sport at the Sochi Games in Russia in 2014.

"I've achieved a ranking of 4th in the U.S. and 54th in the world after the 2008 season. I've been strongly encouraged by these two years competing against world-class athletes and have committed myself to attack this goal with a single-minded focus."

"I believe I'm poised to seriously challenge top competitors for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. It requires enormous mental, emotional and physical dedication to train hard and smart and effectively, but I believe I have the drive, talent and total motivation needed to be an American Olympic competitor."

A 2000 Wood River High School graduate, Rudigoz said fund-raising is part of his new career. He said, "My parents have been incredibly supportive of my racing over the last 16 years, but the financial help I will need to train and compete as an Olympic hopeful is a different level."

Rudigoz can be contacted at P.O. Box 5705, Ketchum, Id. 83340 or by email at Tax-deductible contributions on his behalf may be written payable to Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF).

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