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Elena Hight Wins Burton Snow Jam

MT. HOOD, Oregon (July 9, 2006) - Fresh off her first Olympics and a month of surfing, Elena Hight (South Lake Tahoe, CA) stomped a summer-time halfpipe victory Sunday at the 3rd Annual Abominable Snow Jam. The $5,000 payday was Hight's first major pipe win in the U.S. thanks to big method, back-to-back fives and smooth frontside sevens on the 22-foot pipe.

"It feels great to be able to come back from a month off and tag a win right away," said Hight, who also won the Australian Open last season. "There is always a great pipe for this event, but they're usually small. It's weird to have such a huge pipe in the middle of the summer, but I'll take it."

The contest was run in a jam format with a one hour session for the women and an hour and a half session for the men with each rider taking as many runs as possible in that time.

During women's jam, Hight also stomped a frontside 900 melon grab to take home the female best trick award in the pipe, just one day boosting 12 feet out of the quarterpipe for the highest air award, earning her a brand new snowmobile. She is now in the running for a new convertible for overall Abominable Snow Jam champion. The winner will be determined following Monday's slopestyle competition.

Fellow U.S. Snowboarding rider Clair Bidez (Minturn, CO) nearly grabbed second place with a run that included a big frontside 900 and back to back 540s, but she sketched her landing on a straight air at the bottom of the pipe bumping her back to fifth. On the men's side, U.S. Snowboarding's Steve Fisher (Breckenridge, CO), Scotty Lago (Seabrook, NH) and Danny Davis (Highland, MI) went 5-6-7.

"It was just a giant perfect summer pipe," said U.S. Snowboarding head freestyle coach Mike Jankowski. "Riders were nailing smooth 900s and 1080s, which is amazing this time of year, but Elena was clearly on it with hands down the best runs of the day. Clair would have been right up there without if she would have stuck her run."

In a field of top international riders, Japan owned the top two spots for the men with Takaharu Nakai laying down the most consistent runs for a $10,000 pay check followed by Kazuhiro Kokubo. Two-time Olympic silver medalist Danny Kass (Hamburg, NJ) was third with a large frontside stale fish, double tweak method, frontside seven, Cab seven alley oop, rodeo seven and a switch alley oop rodeo five.

"It's really encouraging to see our riders get right back into it after taking some time off," added Jankowski. "The ability to be competitive all year round is what separates the pros from, well, everyone else. Everyone was going huge and anyone of the guys could have been up there too. Fish, Scotty and Danny all had smoking runs, they just didn't land them clean. They were going for the win and that's good to see. It's easy for them to consistently get a top-5 or a top-10, but they wanted the win."

Next stop for U.S. Snowboarding is a month long training camp at Snowpark in New Zealand, including competition at both the New Zealand (Aug. 3-5) and Australian Open (Aug. 25-27).

Mt. Hood, OR - July 9, 2006
1. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
2. Mercedes Nicoll, Canada
3. Jaime Anderson, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
4. Junko Asazuma, Japan
5. Clair Bidez, Minturn, Colo.
Best Trick: Elena Hight, frontside 900 melon
1. Takaharu Nakai, Japan
2. Kazuhiro Kokubo, Japan
3. Danny Kass, Hamburg, N.J.
4. Chad Ottersrtom, Breckenridge, Colo.
5. Steve Fisher, Breckenridge, Colo.
6. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, N.H.
7. Danny Davis, Highland, Mich.
Best Trick: Takaharu Nakai, McTwist

-- Best in the World --