SWATCH O’NEILL BIG MOUNTAIN PRO 2007 ATTRACTS TOP INTERNATIONAL FREERIDERS & FREESTYLERS

The Alps, 4th February 2007 – With four weeks to go before the start of the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro 2007, contest organizers have finalized the competitor line-up for what will be the inaugural edition of this innovative mobile freeride snowboarding and skiing competition.

Kicking off in the Swiss resort of Laax on 1st March and wrapping up in Innsbruck, Austria on 10th March 2007, the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro will welcome 8 world-class snowboarders and 8 equally distinguished skiers into the dawn of a new era for freeride competition.

The snowboarding competition will see the likes of 5-time Big Mountain Rider of the Year Jeremy Jones and legendary US big mountain snowboarder Steve Klassen competing against more freestyle-oriented shredders including Austria’s Stefan Gimpl and Switzerland’s Jules Reymond. Austrian freerider Mitch Toelderer, Switzerland’s Cyril Neri, France’s Xavier de le Rue and one more rider to be confirmed complete the line up for the snowboarders.

The starting list for the skiers, meanwhile, is equally star-studded with confirmed competitors including Canadians Eric Hjorleifson and 3-time IFSA World Champion Hugo Harrisson. France’s Seb Michaud and Aurélien Ducroz, plus Switzerland’s Loris Falquet and Phil Meier, will all be hoping for a ‘home’ advantage against the Canadians and Sweden’s Kaj Zackrisson and Sverre Liliequiest.

Adopting a mobile contest format, the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro will allow competitors to showcase their extraordinary talent in the best possible snow conditions and on some of the most impressive terrain in the European Alps. With three competition days scheduled to unfold on 3 different mountains, organizers have now assessed current snow conditions and have identified five potential playgrounds. These include the Swiss areas of Graubünden (St Moritz/Davos) and Grand St Bernard (Verbier), Italy’s Alagna (Monte Rosa), as well as Chamonix, France – the spiritual home of freeriding. The Austrian region of Arlberg completes the list of possible stop-offs on this 10-day journey for progressive and pristine powder lines. The exact locations, however, will only be confirmed 48 hours in advance.

Once competition gets underway, all invited riders and skiers will take advantage of unparalleled lift and helicopter access to explore the goods. With each of the three competition days hosted on different types of terrain – including steeps, cliffs and a more freestyle-friendly environment – competitors will judge one another via video feedback to determine who walks away with the lion’s share of the € 60,000 prize purse.

Event organizer Nicolas Hale-Woods is excited about providing some of the world’s most talented skiers and snowboarders with a new contest format, and added: “We’re really looking forward to seeing what these guys can do in such a flexible and innovative format, and we thought it only right to broadcast the event live and semi-live on the web for everyone to witness what goes down – it promises to be the ultimate freeride event.”

To celebrate the inaugural edition of the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro, Swatch is proud to present the Swatch Fun Boarder Special Edition watch. Featuring a built-in altimeter and unique Swatch Snowpass technology, this special edition watch will allow invited riders to glide effortlessly through lift access controls and know exactly how many meters above sea level they are as they journey across the Alps. Perfectly suited to the needs of skiers and snowboarders alike, the Big Mountain Swatch Fun Boarder Special Edition also boasts an injected-molded silicon event logo on the 12 o’clock strap.

Stay tuned for more information as the countdown to the start of the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro continues…

Take off Party:

Laax – 1st March 2007

In the Lobby of the Riders Palace

Doors open at 10pm, Free Entry

Live: “Pussywarmers” (Rockabilly)

Beats and Visuals: “Round Table Knights”

Riders’ Awards & Closing Party:

Innsbruck – 10th March 2007

@ the “Hafen”

Innrain 149

6020 Innsbruck

Doors open at 9pm, Entry: 8 Euro

Giant screen with best of Big Mountain Pro action.

Live: “Grandfey” (Rock)

Beats and Visuals: “Round Table Knights”

For more about the Swatch O’Neill Big Mountain Pro 2007: www.bigmountainpro.com

For more about all other O’Neill events: www.oneilleurope.com

For more about Swatch and the Big Mountain Fun Boarder watch: www.swatch.com

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