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Freeski Tour '99

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Top Freeskiers Hit Snowbird
Let the Ropes Drop
Thursday, January 22, 2000

Thursday is bluebird at "The 'Bird" — just in time for the first day of competition for the US Freeskiing Nationals. This freeskiing World Tour Event begins today with 25 women and 55 men competing on Snowbird's Blackjack run. Qualifiers kicked off the week's festivities on Wednesday with an opportunity for skiers to race with pre-qualified World Tour athletes in this amazing event.

Silver Fox

The semi-finals today begin with the women competitors heading down the unmarked territory of Blackjack. The women's field includes an incredibly diverse group, including Allison Gannett, back from injuries last year and ready to rip again. Glen McConkey, 57, mother of renowned freeskier Shane McConkey, advanced from the qualifiers and is an inspiration to everyone here. According to Glen, competing is a way to spend time with her son.

"I'm not sure if I'll make it to the finals, but I'm really having a great time...."— Glen McConkey, freeskier and Shane's mom

"I really enjoyed myself," says McConkey. "I'm not sure if I'll make it to the finals, but I'm really having a great time." Charlotte Moats, winner of the World Tour event in Whistler in early January, is here to try for two in a row. The women's field also includes last year's US Nationals winner Jennifer Berg, local Alta skier Linda Peterson, and 1998 World Extreme Skiing Champion, Francine Morellion, who took first in the Big Mountain Event at the Gravity Games for the women.

Jen Berg in '99
In the men's field, the skiers are world-class, including Brant Moles, Gordy Peifer, Shane McConkey, Guerlain Chicherit, Dave Swanwick, Hugo Harrison... and others who you'll hear about in the coming days. We're going to see some incredible skiing on the semi-finals venue at lower Peruvian Gulch. Named "Gun Tower Chutes" by Snowbird's patrollers, this pristine area is typically closed to skiers and snowboarders all year, but the ropes will drop as the world's best freeskiers charge this unmarked and ungroomed run. Stay tuned for the action.

Michelle Quigley, watching the best of the best for

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