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  • Winter Olympic Sport Comes to Atlanta


    (ATR) U.S. Ski & Snowboard and the Atlanta Braves host the Visa Big Air event at SunTrust Park December 20-21.

    Big Air slope at SunTrust Park (ATR)
    Athletes from 27 countries are slated to compete in men’s and women's snowboard and freeski. 

    Olympic champions Jamie Anderson and Red Gerard, both of the USA, are competing in snowboard. Øystein Bråten of Norway, Sarah Höfflin of Switzerland and Dara Howell of Canada are Olympic champions in the freeski field.

    A 15-story scaffold ramp was installed in the baseball stadium with 800 tons of snow for snowboarders and freeskiers to perform on.

    Athletes will drop into a 40-degree run then launch themselves off the jump at speeds up to 40 miles per hour (64 km/h).

    “I enjoyed the jump a lot. We just did one in Italy. The outrun was a lot shorter [there], and this one was longer which is awesome because a lot of the time when you land on the scaffold at Big Airs it gets bumpy with the short outrun. But since this one is long it's nice and smooth.” said Gerard.

    Two-time Olympian Mark McMorris says the weather temperature hasn’t been a factor during practice.

    “I personally like the weather, you don’t have to layer or bundle up. The snow seems to be holding up.”

    Temperatures in the past three days in Atlanta have ranged from just below the freezing mark in the morning to about 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in the afternoon. It is expected to be a few degrees warmer than that over the next two days.

    The Visa Big Air presented by Land Rover is part of a multi-year commitment by U.S. Ski & Snowboard to bring big air events to one city per season leading into the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games.

    Written and reported by Greer Wilson

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