post #1 of 1
Thread Starter 
Forwarded from Chris Davenport---------
For Immediate Release
December 4, 2001

Introducing the Aspen/ Snowmass Freeride Team

Aspen, Colorado - Aspen/ Snowmass is proud to announce the formation of a locally based but internationally focused Freeride Team of ski and snowboard athletes. The Team consists of Olympians, World Cup skiers and snowboarders, Triple Crown and Freeskiing World Tour competitors, and photo and film stars. It is a tight group of distinct personalities.

"We have always had great athletes living here in the valley and training on our four mountains," said Team Manager and ski athlete Chris Davenport, "but we have never brought together a team of this size in partnership with the resort itself. Now these athletes will have a more powerful voice and more support towards their competitive and media oriented goals."

While the eight skiers and nine snowboarders on the team will travel and compete individually in their respective disciplines, they will also be involved in working with and bringing media and industry partners to Aspen/ Snowmass, and in participating in local ski and snowboard programs and events.

"I'd like Aspen/ Snowmass to be globally known as a destination not only with amazing big mountain terrain and a fantastic community, but a place where athletes from around the world choose to come and ride," said Susan Darch, director of communications for Aspen/Snowmass. "The athletes on our Freeride Team are passionate about where they live and because of that they will help spread the word to the world how amazing this place is."

Members of the 2001/02 Aspen/Snowmass Freeride Team are as follows:

Chris Davenport, Freeskier, 30

Chris is known globally as one of the icon of the sport of skiing. An athlete who makes his home in big mountains around the world, Chris is a two time World Freeskiing Champion (1996, 2000) as well as a winner of the 24 Hours of Aspen and Red Bull Ultracross events. "Dav" can also be seen in many ski films over the past seven years, and will be commentating all of the skiing events at this winter’s ESPN X-Games. Chris is sponsored by Red Bull, Salomon, Smith, Giro, DaKine, and BackCountry Access.

Chris Klug, Snowboarder, 28

Chris, an Olympian who finished sixth at the Nagano Olympics, has been described as a speed freak. He competes around the world in giant slalom, slalom, super g, and boardercross. 2002 will be Chris’ ninth year on the World Cup circuit, certainly making him one of the veterans of the sport. Look for Chris to make a big impact at Salt Lake City this winter. Chris will also host the Burton-Klug snowboard Freeride and race camp at Ajax from April 9-14. Chris rides for Burton.

Gretchen Bleiler, Snowboarder, 21

Gretchen is quickly gaining a reputation in the pipe as one of the most progressive women riders in the sports. In only her third season of competition, Gretchen was ranked 4th in the USA and 7th internationally. Gretchen was featured on NBC Sports "A Day in the Life" program this year, and is now focused on bringing Olympic Gold back to Aspen. Also watch for Gretchen to go big at the ESPN Winter X-Games at Buttermilk. Her sponsors include Salomon, Oakley, and Pride Snowboard Shop.

Steele Spence, Freeskier, 18

Steele is one of the brightest young up and comers on the Freeskiing scene. Steele was born and raised in Snowmass and now attending classes at Sierra Nevada College. Know for big, style airs and masterful rail slides, Steele rules the terrain park. Steele’s riding was featured in the films Propaganda by Poor Boyz Productions and in Warren Miller’s Cold Fusion. A former mogul competitor turned freeskier; Steele is poised to become one of the great icons in skiing. Steele rides for Atomic, Smith, and Obermeyer.

Travis Mclain, Snowmobiler & Snowboarder, 23

Travis clears big jumps and makes big jumps. He is a dynamic snowboarder (4x World Junior Champion racer, X-Games Gold Medallist) turned madman snowmobiler. Travis will compete in the Winter X-Games in the Snowmobile HillCross event, and will also be doing Freestyle snowmobile demos at national Snowcross events this winter. Also look for Travis in the insane snowmobile video from Slednecks next winter. Travis is sponsored by Pro Sports Polaris, Oakley, Airwalk, and CNA Pro.

Katie Monahan, Skier, 29

"Katie Monahan is one of America's premier alpine ski racers. "Olympian," "U.S. National Champion," "World Cup Medallist," and "nine-year U.S. Ski Team member" are all titles that apply to her. In 2002, Katie plans to continue her string of successes at the elite World Cup level, and once again represent the United States at the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City." Katie’s sponsors include, Atomic, Carrera, Lange, Booster Strap, Aspen Valley Ski Club, Swix, and Aspen Club

Zach Horwitz, Snowboarder, 25

Zach has been snowboarding for 13 years and has been riding as a professional for about 6. I am currently on the US Snowboard team and I work at Windell's snowboard camp all summer long. I compete in halfpipe and quarterpipe competitions all over the world. I live the craziest life and I don't think I have grown past the age of 19. Zach’s sponsors are Nokia, Allian, Mission 6, DeeLuxe, Smith Sport Optics, and Visa.

Jim Mangan, Snowboarder, 28

Jim is a prominent local snowboarder and a member of the national Airwalk Team. He is responsible for the creation and implementation of all of the terrain parks in Aspen/ Snowmass, including the new Crazy T’rain Park at Buttermilk. Jim will compete this season in the Vans Triple Crown events, and will be at the Aspen 180 Spring Jam. Jim has shot with Standard Films and has traveled around the world riding and designing terrain parks. Jim rides for Airwalk and Iris.

Tyler Williams, Freeskier, 31
Tyler Williams grew up skiing the mountains around Aspen. As a racer, Tyler was one of the fastest downhillers in the West before turning his focus to big mountain skiing and skiercross racing. Also know as one of the toughest competitors on the circuit, Tyler raced in the legendary 24 Hours of Aspen 6 times, winning the event twice. Tyler will compete in this winters ESPN X-Games SkierX, to be held at Buttermilk January 19th. Tyler is sponsored by Red Bull, Dynastar, Lange, The North Face, Oakley, and

Erin Simmons, Snowboarder, 25

Erin Simmons is a strong competitor in the snowboard scene who can be found pushing her limits whenever possible. For Simmons, boardercross is her main focus. In the 2001 season, after recovering from a knee injury, Simmons returned to the sport and came back strong. In the 2001 season Simmons placed in the top six of every race except two, pulled in a 2nd at the X-Games and ended the season with an amazing 1st place Boardercross title in Canada and a 3rd place title in the World! Simmons is psyched with her success in her first official season as a pro boarder and hopes to make this next season even better! Erin rides for Obermeyer, Palmer, Oakley, Pride Snowboard Shop, Dawls Clothing, West 49, and the AVSC Snowboard Team

Ryan Lougee, Snowboarder, 22

Ryan has been a member of the prestigious the Burton Team for the past five years. Ryan has made it to every big air final at the Vans Triple Crown events he has entered. He is an X-Games veteran and is widely considered the best all around snowboard athlete in the Aspen Valley. Ryan kills it with film and photo shoots, and has been featured in every major domestic snowboard publication. Ryan rides for Burton, Analog, and Anon.

Mitch Stout, Snowboarder, 26

Mitch moved to Colorado from Connecticut in 1993 and has been snowboarding full time ever since. His pictures have appeared in most major snowboard magazines and he is currently featured in a new Visa commercial airing nationally. Watch for Mitch in the Vans Triple Crown series this winter. When in Aspen, Mitch can often be scene on any of our four mountains with a camera pointed at him, going huge! Mitch rides for M3, and Vans.

Aaron Estrada, Freeskier, 25

Aaron is a product of the Aspen Valley Ski Club, and is one of the most dynamic freeskiers on the competitive circuit today. As two times U.S. Extreme Skiing Champion (1999, 2001) Aaron has already left an imposing mark on competitive Freeskiing, and will continue to do so this year on the Freeskiing World Tour. Aaron is sponsored by Head/ Tyrolia, Scott USA, and Fate.

Kiffor Berg, Freeskier, 24

Kiffor is a talented young freeskier ready to make his mark in the competitive realm. "I enjoy all aspects of mountain life especially skiing. This
season I plan to compete in many disciplines of the sport, including Big Air, Big Mountain, Pipe, and Slopestyle." Kiffor is one of a new breed of skiers who is as comfortable in the terrain park as he is in extreme terrain. Kiffor is sponsored by Elan/Dolomite, Nike ACG, Spy Optics, and Leki USA.

Jeff Hamilton, Speed Skier.

Jeff Hamilton is America's Fastest Skier. The Bronze medallist in the 1992 Olympics Hamilton has also won 4 World Championships, and in 1995 became the first person to ski over 150mph. Hamilton will attempt to win his 8th National title in Snowmass Feb 25th-28th. "I only have one goal left in my sport: to become the first person to ski over 250 km/h (155mph). I am currently searching for a new track that would allow me to reach those speeds. I have looked carefully at Highlands Bowl; it can provide the speed but not the braking area. I have found a big track on Mt. Elbert that looks perfect, but I need to analyze the track in May with skis on. If it looks good I will organize an "Assault on Elbert" for spring 2003." Jeff’s sponsors include BEA Systems, Red Bull, Atomic, and Hamilton Sports

Billy O’Donnell, Freeskier, 26

Billy grew up skiing in the Aspen Snowmass area. Billy is a fully certified Aspen Ski Instructor, having taught here for many years. This is his third season as a Pro Freeskier competing in Big Mountain events, filming, and shooting photos in the U.S. and around the globe. In the summer when he is not skiing I work as a fitness trainer, guide, and golf coach, and enjoy cycling, paragliding, climbing, kayaking, and golf. Billy is sponsored by Head/ Tyrolia, Scott, Boeri, Surefoot, Hard Corps, and Bolle.

George Oakley, Snowboarder, 25

George has been consistently in the top ten in the least three Grand Prix’s he has competed in. George is serious contender to qualify for the Olympics in Salt Lake in the halfpipe events, and is certainly considered one of the top pipe riders in the USA. George is sponsored by Burton and Oakley.

News, results, and stories of the Aspen/ Snowmass Freeride Team can be followed on our website at <> beginning in mid- December.

For more information or to contact any team member, contact Chris Davenport at or Susan Darch at