Kaitlyn Farrington rides to victory last season in Copper. The 2011 Sprint U.S. Grand Prix kicks off the international season at Copper Mountain this weekend. (Tom Zikas)
COPPER MOUNTAIN, CO (Dec. 8) – A record field will be on hand this weekend at Copper Mountain with around 150 athletes from 21 nations battling in the 22-foot halfpipe in the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, a TTR 5Star event. Louie Vito (Columbus, OH) and Kaitlyn Farrington (Sun Valley, ID) will be going for repeat wins. But they'll face tough competition from the likes of Olympic medalist Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) and Olympic champion Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT), the top ranked athlete in TTR standings, who is coming off a sensational season
The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, which kicks off the international snowboarding season for the fourth year at Copper, is a TTR (Ticket to Ride) 5Star event and a FIS Continental Cup.
Full event coverage will be showcased on NBC (Dec. 18, 12:30 p.m. ET) and Versus (Dec. 24, 4:00 p.m. ET). Live webcast will be available on major snowboarding websites.
2010 Champions: Men: Louie Vito (Columbus, OH), ranked number two in TTR; Women: Kaitlyn Farrington (Sun Valley, ID)
Other top U.S. riders include: Olympic champion Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) and TTR rankings leader who dominated snowboarding last season, Olympic medalists Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, CO) and Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH), and 2011 Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix winner Matt Ladley (Steamboat Springs, CO) .
Top international riders include TTR top-ranked Ryo Aono of Japan and TTR third ranked Iouri Podlachikov of Switzerland for men, along with TTR top-ranked woman Queralt Castellat of Spain.
Men's qualification heats are Thursday with finals Saturday from 12:00-1:30 p.m. MT. Women qualify Saturday morning.
The event concludes with a Paul Mitchell Progression Session Saturday evening from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix is the longest standing series in snowboarding and will conclude at Mammoth Mountain, CA in March.
TV NBC – Sunday, Dec. 18 12:30-2:00 p.m. Versus – Saturday, Dec. 24 – 4:00-5:00 p.m. Versus - Saturday, Dec. 31 - 4:00-500 p.m. (Paul Mitchell Progression Session)