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Top Finishers of the Alyeska Chugach Open will receive entry to the World Heli Challenge in Valdez, April 14-26


GIRDWOOD, Alaska – Alyeska Resort announces a newly formed partnership with the World Heli Challenge Alaska as part of its inaugural Alyeska Chugach Open event scheduled for March 22 to 25, 2012. With one of the biggest winters in the resort’s history, the 2012 Alyeska Chugach Open promises to be an exciting big mountain event with challenging venues featuring deep snowpack and plentiful lines. The top placing men and women ski and snowboard finishers in the Alyeska Chugach Open will receive entry to the 2012 World Heli Challenge scheduled to be held in Valdez, Alaska from April 14 to 26.

"Alyeska Resort has always nurtured and produced many world class athletes. To provide the opportunity for them to compete in a world tour event in their own state is most exciting news and a great pathway to the development of Alaska's rising stars,” said Tony Harrington, World Heli Challenge Event Director, Tony Harrington. “The organizers of the World Heli Challenge share this same vision, we are excited to unearth new stars!"

The Chugach Open includes three days of competition, open to Alpine, snowboard and Telemark athletes. The high-level competition showcases Alyeska’s challenging double black diamond terrain with select venues typically not open to the general public. The terrain offers such features as steep cliffs, chutes and 2,500 feet of vertical with the ability to test the mettle of the most experienced freeriders.

Registration for the Chugach Open starts February 10 and additional information is available online at www.alyeskaresort.com/chugachopenregistration. Athletes must be 18 years of age and of advanced or better ability to compete in the open division. There will also be a juniors division for those between 13 and 17 years of age for all disciplines. There are three levels of registration: $110 includes entry to competition only, $230 includes entry plus three day lift tickets, and $310 includes entry plus five day lift tickets. All participants will be required to wear a helmet and beacon during the competition. The 2012 Chugach Open is sponsored in part by Salomon USA.

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.

The newly announced partnership with World Heli Challenge Alaska (WHC) provides the top finishers in the Chugach Open a chance to compete amongst the best big mountain freeriders in the world. Entry to the World Heli Challenge Alaska is by application only with a limited amount of spots. The World Heli Challenge Alaska will crown the best skier and snowboarder from all disciplines of their respective sports and has drawn legendary professional athletes including Travis Rice, Antonin Lieutaghi, Steve Klassen, Julie Zell, Matt Goodwill, Doug Coombs, John Hunt, Brant Moles, Adam Arnaurd, Dean Cummings, brothers Chris and Ted Davenport, Wendy Fisher, and many X-Games and Olympic athletes.

World Heli Challenge Event Director, Tony Harrington, created the original New Zealand event in 1995. After a seven-year hiatus, the event stormed back onto the freeriding calendar in 2009.  The newly formatted World Heli Challenge Alaska event combines big mountain and backcountry freestyle elements and embraces two legendary Alaskan big mountain competitions – the King of the Hill and the World Extreme Skiing Championships (WESC).

The event producers have continued to utilize the Chugach Mountains because the range provides the perfect steep-and-deep conditions that a big-mountain competition of this caliber requires. The challenge will feature steep, exposed faces inundated with cliffs, crevasses, snow sluffs and other hidden natural obstacles over more than 3,000 vertical feet. The competition is the only format in North America that utilizes helicopter access.

The World Heli Challenge Alaska competition utilizes a photographer and filmer shoot-out format producing a series of short films and photographs documenting all aspects of the ten-day gathering and culminates with a Showcase Awards Evening screening where winners will be announced. Unique to the World Heli Challenge is an innovative judging format pioneered at the New Zealand event in 2011 in which every athletes’ run is filmed and posted online.  A popular voting category is also open to fans, friends and family worldwide who can see all the on-mountain action up close via the website.

To register for the Chugach Open and to learn more about the activities throughout the competition weekend, please visit www.AlyeskaResort.com.

About Alyeska Resort (www.alyeskaresort.com)
Alyeska Resort is Alaska's premier year-round destination featuring The Hotel Alyeska, an award-winning 304 room full-service property. Located just 40 miles from Anchorage, Alyeska Resort is your base camp for summer and winter excursions. Alyeska Resort stands out during ski season with 650” of average snowfall annually and the longest-continuous double black diamond ski run in North America. Learn more about the resort at www.alyeskaresort.com or 800.880.3880.

About World Heli Challenge (www.worldhelichallenge.com)

Three iconic, grassroots, big mountain events at the foundation of the freeriding movement in the 90’s have joined forces to host the world’s best freeriding skiers and snowboarders: 2012 World Heli Challenge Alaska. The event features an innovative judging format pioneered in New Zealand in which every athletes’ run is filmed and posted online. The goal is to combine the best of big mountain and backcountry freestyle elements and to find the top skiers and snowboarders and crown the best all-around challenge champions.

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