There’s even more to love about Lake Tahoe with the announcement by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association that it will once again hold its U.S. Freestyle Championships in Heavenly for the next two seasons. The decision was made in part due the spectator-friendly nature of the mountain resort’s venues and its reputation as a world-class ski and snowboard destination. Heavenly will host the U.S. World Champs in men and women’s aerials, dual moguls and moguls. The first events will kick off starting on March 29-31,2013.
The last time Heavenly hosted the championships was back in 2004, and is among an elite group of resorts to be selected two consecutive years in a row. The very short list includes Stratton Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley and Killington.
Heavenly knows what it takes to put on an epic freestyle skiing competition. Resort officials plan to hold the aerials competitions under the lights at night, with a finish line placed directly in view of the California Lodge.
“Building on our heritage of freestyle skiing and competition that dates back to its roots in the 1970’s, we’re excited and honored to host the 2013 and 2014 U.S. Freestyle Championships at Heavenly on Gunbarrel,” said Pete Sonntag, Heavenly’s general manager. “Gunbarrel is the most iconic moguls run in North America and has spawned such great skiers as Glen Plake and current U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athlete Sho Kashima. It’s the ultimate challenge for America’s top freestyle skiers.”
Many of the event’s athletes actually got some of their first turns on the slopes of Heavenly. Notable names such as Brooke Ballachey, Chris Hernandez, Ryan Hickey, Anna Park, current U.S. Ski Team athlete Sho Kashima and 90′s skiing icon, Glen Plake will all be in attendance.
For these athletes the competition will be a homecoming event. Sho Kashima grew up in Lake Tahoe and is a former Heavenly Valley Ski Foundation athlete.
“I can’t think of anything more inspiring than competing on my home hill during such an exciting time in the winter sports world,” said Kashima. “Heavenly provides excellent support to its freestyle athletes and I am proud of the resort’s selection as host of the U.S. Freestyle Championships.”
The coolest part about the 2014 event will be the fact that its timing will coincide with the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Excited spectators will get an opportunity to watch some of their favorite Olympians after they make their (hopefully triumphant) return from Sochi, Russia.
“Heavenly will provide a great combination of spectator-friendly venues plus a rich heritage of freestyle skiing,” said USSA Vice President, Events Calum Clark. “The U.S. Freestyle Championships will showcase our most accomplished freestyle skiers both as they prepare for and return from the Olympics in Sochi.”
For more information on the U.S. Freestyle Championships, or the USSA, please visit www.usskiteam.com/freestyle.