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Freeride Tour brings athletes, money to Utah

Published February 27, 2014 10:35 am

Competition • California's drought moves big-mountain races to Snowbird, starting Friday.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

UPDATE • Tuesday's Freeride World Tour competition at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort has been postponed because of a forecast for more snow.

Organizers said a decision will be made later Monday about whether the big-mountain skiing and snowboarding competition will resume Wednesday.

A skiing and snowboarding competition moved just recently to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort because of limited snow in California will give the state's economy an estimated $430,000 boost.

The Swatch Freeride World Tour by The North Face will take place Friday through Wednesday, featuring big-mountain riding for both men and women athletes.

Its move to Snowbird was aided by the Utah Sports Commission, a quasi-governmental agency charged with bringing national and international sporting events to the state.

Originally scheduled for Kirkwood, Calif., where snow has been scarce this winter, the stop at Snowbird will be the fourth on the Freeride Tour. Events have been held in Courmayeur, Italy, Chamonix, France and Fieberbrunn, Austria, and are scheduled later for Revelstoke, Canada and Verbier, Switzerland.

Besides the direct economic impact, television broadcasts and webcasts of the competition are projected to generate another $1.1 million worth of publicity, said Jessica Kunzer, spokeswoman for Salt Lake City-based Mountain Sports International, the event organizer.

The field of athletes includes Salt Lake City resident Shannan Yates, 36, the leader on the women's snowboard circuit. A University of Utah nursing student, Yates is sponsored by Salty Peaks snowboard shop in Millcreek.

Another American, Sammy Luebke of Squaw Valley, Calif., is leading the male snowboarding competition.

The freeride skiing leaders are Loic Collomb-Patton of France and Matilda Rapaport of Sweden.

mikeg@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribmikeg