Alyeska chugach open partners with world freeriding championships

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 4, 2011 10:15 am

Top Finishers of this years Alyeska Chugach Open will receive entry to the World Freeriding Championships in Valdez.  The World Extreme Skiing Championships and King of the Hill contest are part of the successful Tailgate Alaska World Freeride Festival where athletes, media and dedicated participants rub elbows in a two-week long festival that offers, ‘The experience of a lifetime.’ In 2011, the festival is scheduled for March 25 – April 10, 2011.

The top place men and women ski and snowboard finishers in the newly formatted Alyeska Chugach Open, scheduled for March 17-20, 2011, will receive entry to the invitation only championships in Valdez. The registration value is $500 per person; however, the prestige and opportunity to compete among the top in the field greatly over-shadows the monetary prize. Given the timing of the competition schedule, Alyeska’s event may be the last opportunity for national professional athletes to earn a place on the World Freeriding Championships roster.

The World Extreme Skiing Championships (WESC) took a ten-year hiatus, and will return this spring celebrating its 20th anniversary. WESC has been an integral part of the growth of big mountain skiing. The competition has hosted ski legends early in their careers including Doug Coombs, Dean Cummings, Shane McConkey, Chris Davenport, Wendy Fisher, and Brant Moles.

The World Freeriding Championships will crown the best skier and snowboarder from all disciplines of their respective sports and has drawn legendary professional athletes including many X-Games and Olympic participants. The event producers continue to utilize the Chugach Mountains because they provide the perfect steep-and-deep conditions that a big-mountain competition of this caliber requires. The championships feature steep, exposed faces inundated with cliffs, crevasses, snow sluffs and other hidden natural obstacles for more than 3,000 vertical feet. The competition is the only format in North America that utilizes helicopter access.

The Chugach Open has three days of competition, open to Alpine, snowboard and Telemark athletes. The high-level competition showcases Alyeska’s challenging double black diamond terrain with features such as steep cliffs, chutes and 2,500 feet of vertical, creating a venue that will test the abilities of the most experienced freeriders. In addition to the entries to the championships in Valdez, there are over $13,000 in cash and prizes.

The King of the Hill (KOTH) contest represents the snowboarding arm of the World Freeriding Championships and is snowboarding’s original big-mountain event. Considered by many in the industry to be the sport’s premier event, the legendary King of the Hill snowboard competition was founded in 1993 and defined an era of snowboarding freeride competition.

The two-day event will feature a freestyle oriented freeride competition as well as a big mountain event to decide the overall best snowboarder in the world. The event producers will  select venues based on natural terrain features, snow stability, spectator viewing from the hundreds of extreme peaks that surround the Tailgate Alaska basecamp. Past KOTH champions include Travis Rice, Axel Pauporte, Matt Goodwill, Steve Klassen, Julie Zell, and Karleen Jeffrey.

Alyeska Resort is well-established as a big mountain competition venue. The resort hosted the Subaru Freeskiing World Championships and Subaru U.S. Freeskiing Series Finals in April 2009. Produced by event promoter Mountain Sports International, the 2009 series included five other resort venues and featured Alyeska as the culminating finale. More recently, Alyeska partnered with Tough Guy Productions to host the 2009 World Telemark Freeskiing Championships and 2010 Alyeska World Comp, which opened the competition to all disciplines.

During the weekend of Alyeska’s Chugach Open, legendary musician Peter Rowan and his band, the Mexican Airforce, are scheduled to play three nights at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill. The shows, March 17, 18 and 19, start at 10:00 P.M. with doors opening at 9:00 P.M. Tickets are $20 in advanced and $30 day of show, and can be purchased online, at any Alyeska Ticket Office and over the phone at 907-754-2275. To register for the Chugach Open and to learn more about the activities throughout the competition weekend, please visit