Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Daredevil sports

Supergirl Jam offers up snowboarding, skateboarding and inline skating Sunday at Venice Beach

Calgary's Leanne Pelosi rides the rail in the 2009 Supergirl Jam Snowboard Rail Jam contest in Venice Beach.

Venice Beach will be the site Sunday for the Supergirl Jam, the next event of the 2010 Supergirl Jam series, with top female skateboarders, inline skaters and snowboarders (yes, snowboarders) competing for a portion of the $36,000 total prize purse.

Athletes will hit the slopes, made possible by 80,000 pounds of man-made snow being brought to the beach, to compete in the snowboarding rail jam. Two-time defending champion Laurie Currier will be on hand to defend her title, facing other top boarders -- including former event medalists Chanelle Sladics and Leanne Pelosi -- determined to thwart a three-peat.

In addition to snowboarding, the event will feature top skateboarding and inline skating pros competing on a custom-built street course designed to challenge their board and rail skills.

This year's Supergirl Jam Skateboard Street contest welcomes the return of the 2008 Supergirl Jam skateboard champion, Lauren Perkins, who was injured in 2009 and didn't compete. Perkins will attempt to recapture the title that Amy Caron claimed last year, also facing tough competition in the likes of 2010 X Games medalists Leticia Bufoni and Alexis Slabone.

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Supergirl Pro Junior surfing contest Saturday in Oceanside

Malia Manuel carves the waves and advances to the finals in the 2009 Supergirl Pro Junior in Oceanside.

The next event in the Supergirl Jam series is the Supergirl Pro Junior surf contest Saturday in Oceanside.

Sixteen of the best age 20-and-younger female surfers in the world will be vying for a portion of the $21,000 purse, including a $10,000 top prize, in this Assn. of Surfing Professionals Grade-4 contest that offers the the richest ASP Women’s Pro Junior prize purse in history. 

Expected to compete is last week's Women’s U.S. Open of Surfing winner Carissa Moore; 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour Rookie of the Year and 2008 Supergirl Pro Junior Champion Coco Ho; and 2009 Supergirl Pro Junior silver medalist and 2008 Women’s U.S. Open Champion Malia Manuel.

New to this year’s event is the Supergirl Shootout, giving those athletes who don't advance to the finals a chance to compete in a best trick contest for $1,000 in bonus prize money. 

Competition is scheduled to run from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the award ceremony at 2:45 p.m. and an autograph session following.

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Extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson falls to his death scaling K2

Fredrik Ericsson on K2.

Fredrik Ericsson, one of the world's leading high-altitude skiers, fell to his death Friday while attempting to scale and then ski from the 28,251-foot summit of K2. Ericsson was 35.

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, a fellow climber who was with Ericsson when he fell, said in a post on Ericsson's website that "Fredrik was fixing rope to the rock in the bottle neck above ... when he lost purchase and was unable to arrest his fall. This happened some time between 7 and 8 a.m. Later it was determined he fell about 1000m [3,280 feet] and did not survive."

Featured in a June Outposts item, extreme skier Ericsson was on a quest to ski down the three highest peaks on the planet -- K2, on the border between China and Pakistan; the Himalayan peak of Kangchenjunga; and Mt. Everest, on the border of Nepal and Tibet. 

"The project spans two years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world: K2 this summer, Mt. Everest in Autumn, 2010, and Kangchenjunga in Autumn, 2011," Ericsson said in a press release.

Ericsson had successfully completed summit descents from some of the highest mountains, including Peak Somoni, in Tajikstan; Shisha Pangma in Tibet; and Gasherbrum 2, on the border of China and Pakistan.

Ericsson's friend, David Schipper, concluded the latest post on Ericsson's site with the following:

"It is almost impossible to get the facts straight in these situations as each version is a blend of facts and perspective. It is also difficult to understand the situation without being there. I give my most sincere condolences to Frippe's parents, family and friends. I have no words to express my sorrow. This information in an effort to help you understand the details -- though they can only tell part of the story. Everyone I have had contact with, both on K2 and off, said he was liked by everyone at base camp, that he brought a positive atmosphere everywhere he went.

"You will be missed, Fredrik by all of us fortunate enough to have known you. I will remember you with the memory of beautiful Chogolisa in the background."

-- Kelly Burgess


Photo: Fredrik Ericsson. Credit: FredrikEricsson.com


Extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson attempting to summit and ski K2; first leg of his quest to ski world's three highest mountains

Supergirl Jam series begins Wednesday in Simi Valley

Leticia Bufoni takes flight during the 2009 Supergirl Pro Am Jam skate contest.

The Supergirl Jam series kicks off its fourth year Wednesday with the Supergirl Am Jam, a skateboard street contest featuring top amateur skaters, at Skatelab in Simi Valley.

Co-sponsored by ASA Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC Comics, the action sports competition is the industry's only large-scale, all-girls event and features more than 100 of the world's top female action sports athletes competing in skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing and inline skating.

Practice begins at noon, with preliminaries at 2 p.m., a final practice at 4 p.m. and the finals from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The winner will earn a spot in the invitation-only pro competition during the Supergirl Jam on Aug. 22 at Venice Beach.

"This series was built to inspire young women and provide opportunities for these amazing artists to showcase their skills,"  ASA Entertainment CEO Rick Bratman said. "ASA is really proud to help promote these world-class athletes and be a part of the incredible progression in female action sports."

The series will kick off with three events, each highlighting the sports’ most talented female pros as well as up-and-coming amateurs:

Wednesday -- Supergirl Am Jam (skateboarding); Skatelab, Simi Valley

Aug. 14 -- Supergirl Pro Junior (surfing); Oceanside Pier

Aug. 22 -- Supergirl Jam (snowboarding, skateboarding, inline skating), Venice Beach

Additional surfing and snowboarding contests are being planned for November and December and will be announced at a later date. Admission to all of the Supergirl Jam events is free.

"We are very proud to present the Supergirl Jam for its fourth year," said Karen McTier, executive vice president of domestic licensing and worldwide marketing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "It's an honor to once again provide an opportunity for these young women to take center stage and be applauded for their talent, dedication and inspiration."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Leticia Bufoni takes flight during the 2009 Supergirl Pro Am Jam skate contest. Credit: Supergirl Jam

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Extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson attempting to summit and ski K2; first leg of his quest to ski world's three highest mountains

Fredrik Ericsson Laila Peak 2010

Fredrik Ericsson is one of the world's leading high-altitude skiers, with summit descents from some of the highest mountains, including Peak Somoni, Shisha Pangma and Gasherbrum 2.

Now, the extreme skier is on a new quest: to ski down the three highest peaks on the planet -- K2, Kangchenjunga and Mt. Everest.

Although several ski mountaineers have tried, no one has ever made a complete ski descent from the 28,251-foot summit of K2, the Savage Mountain.

"I have already skied on five mountains higher than 8,000 meters [26,246 feet]. During these adventures I gained critical experience that will apply towards my goal of skiing the absolute highest," Ericsson said in a press release. "The project spans two years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world: K2 this summer, Mt. Everest in Autumn, 2010, and Kangchenjunga in Autumn, 2011."

Earlier this week the team, which includes alpine journalist Trey Cook, reached K2 base camp, minus much of their equipment, including food, fuel and medical supplies. Unable to find enough porters to carry what is needed for the months-long expedition, it was decided to leave things behind and have it brought on a subsequent carry.

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X Games 16 tickets go on sale Thursday

13-time medalist Bucky Lasek competes in the Skateboard Vert competition at last year's X Games.

Tickets for X Games 16 will go on sale Thursday at venue box offices, Ticketmaster outlets and through Ticketmaster.com. Ticket prices range from $9-$40 for events being held July 29 through Aug. 1 at four downtown Los Angeles locations.

All tickets include admission to X Fest at L.A. Live. Taking place in conjunction with the X Games, the free action sports festival will open at 9 a.m. daily and will feature sponsor and industry booths, musical performances, interactive parks, athlete appearances, demonstrations and more.

The competition schedule, listed by date, time, events, venue and ticket price(s): 

Thursday, July 29

10:30 a.m. -- BMX freestyle park elimination and skateboard street elimination; Event Deck at L.A. Live; $9.

4 p.m. -- Moto X Super X, men’s, women’s and adaptive; Moto X freestyle and skate big air; Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum;  $16

Friday, July 30

11 a.m. -- Skateboard park elimination and BMX freestyle street elimination; Event Deck at L.A. Live; $9

4 p.m. -- BMX vert, skate vert and skate vert best trick; Nokia Theatre; $20, $40.

5 p.m. -- Moto X step up, best whip and best trick; Staples Center; $17, $22, $25, $30.

Also Friday is the women’s skate vert, a free event at 2:15 p.m. inside Nokia Theatre.

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Irvine woman with rare disease conquers Mt. Everest

Cindy Abbott displays her National Organization for Rare Diseases banner at Camp 4 before leaving for the summit of Mt. Everest. Cindy Abbott lives with adversity. The Irvine resident  started losing vision in her left eye more than 15 years ago, and began having a slew of mini-strokes and vertigo. No one could explain to her why any of it was happening.

Finally, in 2007, Abbott was diagnosed with Wegener's Granulomatosis, a rare and potentially deadly disease of uncertain cause. Affecting 1 in 20,000 adults, Wegener's Granulomatosis is characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels, a condition that restricts blood flow and can lead to lung, kidney and other organ damage.

Abbott, 51, has no idea how long she has left to live because of the incurable disease. But she did not let the debilitating affliction hold her back, and on May 23, she became the first person with Wegener's Granulomatosis to reach the top of Mt. Everest.

"I had decided to climb Mt. Everest prior to my diagnosis and becoming functionally blind in my left eye," Abbott said. "After the disease was stabilized, I continued my goal of climbing to the top of the world."

Abbott persevered with her dream, becoming one of fewer than 45 U.S. women to successfully summit the 29,035-foot peak.

"After years of training, spending six weeks on the mountain going up and down getting my body adjusted to the altitude, and the actual summit climb, I still find it difficult to believe I did it," Abbott said. "It was very difficult on many levels -- physical, mental and emotional."

And the weather made the attempt even more challenging. "I am talking about tent-destroying and cold," Abbott said. "The weather had all the climbers pinned in at different levels of the mountain." Adding to the difficulties was a cyclone that was moving toward the world's tallest peak, leaving a narrow two-day window for Abbott and other climbers to attempt the summit.

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American adventurer crosses English Channel using balloons & a chair

American cluster balloonist Jonathan Trappe holds onto his balloons after landing on farmland in Dunkirk, France. Trappe became the first person to cross the English Channel in a chair attached to helium balloon.

In a stunt that definitely qualifies for the "Don't try this at home" category, American adventurer Jonathan Trappe crossed the English Channel on Friday in a chair attached to a cluster of helium balloons, touching down safely in a French field.

Trappe, 36, of Raleigh, N.C., was strapped in a specially equipped chair below a bright bundle of balloons when he lifted off early Friday from Kent Gliding Club in Challock, England. Hours later, he lowered himself into a cabbage patch in Dunkirk, France, by cutting away some of the balloons. "It was just an exceptional, quiet, peaceful experience," the cluster balloonist told Sky News Television, which tracked the adventurer.

When asked what had inspired him to make the journey, Trappe replied, "Didn't you have this dream, grabbing onto a bunch of toy balloons and floating off? I think it's something that's shared across cultures and across borders -- just this wonderful fantasy of grabbing onto toy balloons and floating into open space."

Trappe had been planning the flight for several months after setting a world record in April for the longest free-floating balloon flight, covering 109 miles in 14 hours in the skies above North Carolina.

The English Channel stunt had several potential dangers, including a risk of drowning if he came down in water, or hitting power lines during his descent.

"There are risks, and we work methodically to reduce the risks so we can have a safe and fun flight," said Trappe, who is certified for balloon flight by the Federal Aviation Administration. "Because really, it's only about dreams and enjoying an adventure, and that's only enjoyable when it is safe."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: American cluster balloonist Jonathan Trappe holds onto his balloons after landing on farmland in Dunkirk, France. Trappe became the first person to cross the English Channel in a chair attached to helium balloon. Credit: Gareth Fuller / Associated Press

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Katal Landing Pad safety device coming to Mammoth Mountain

The Katal Landing Pad, a next-generation safety device that allows skiers and snowboarders to try out challenging maneuvers, is coming to Mammoth Mountain beginning Saturday through May 31, and it looks like a whole lot of fun and worth a jaunt to Mammoth to try out.

Measuring 50 feet wide by 90 feet long, the 5-foot-thick pad covers the entire surface area of a jump after the takeoff, allowing users to attempt new tricks without the consequences of crashing on an icy landing. Unlike traditional foam pits used for jumping, the Katal Landing Pad allows users to simulate more closely an actual jump landing.

The multi-chambered inflatable structure, featuring a patented air-release mechanism, was conceptualized by Aaron Coret in 2005 after he broke his neck in a snowboarding accident and was left a quadriplegic. Coret teamed up with best friend and fellow engineer Steve Slen to build the pad as a way to allow skiers and snowboarders to progress in a safe environment.

The Katal Landing Pad will be installed on a custom jump featuring three takeoffs ranging from 10 to 60 feet and will be accessible from Face Lift Express. Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, passes will be available at Main Lodge ticket windows and cost $40 per day for unlimited use.

Mammoth’s Snowboard and Freeride Ski Teams also will be offering training camps that are open to the public. Enrollment includes individualized instruction, daily video review and unlimited use of the Katal Landing Pad.

Training Camp dates, prices:
•    May 22-23 -- weekend session: $250
•    May 24-28 -- weekday session: $625
•    May 29-31 -- holiday weekend session: $375

Training camp daily schedule:
•    10 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- air bag session
•    2 to 3 p.m. -- on-snow training
•    3 to 4 p.m. -- video review session

For more information or to enroll in one of the sessions, contact Ben Wisner at bwisner@mammoth-mtn.com or (760) 934-2571, Ext. 3144.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video: "Rethinking Safety." Credit: Mitch Budreski / Katal Innovations

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Top snowboarders head to Mammoth for the West Coast Invitational

WCI Village Railjam

Top snowboarders will return to Mammoth Mountain this weekend for the West Coast Invitational, Friday through Sunday at Mammoth's Main Lodge as well as in The Village.

Free to the public, the ninth annual event will feature a field of 30 invited riders, including Greg Bretz, Tyler Flanagan, Kevin Jones, Peter Line, Eddie Wall and returning champions Luke Mitrani and Dan Brisse.

Friday competition will offer a newly added event, the Eddie Wall Ride Invitational. Taking place along the base of Broadway at Main Lodge, riders will face off on a custom course featuring 10 different wallrides. The three-hour, rider-judged event should offer up some fierce competition for the $5,000 cash purse.

On Saturday night, riders will hit The Village at Mammoth for the Rail Jam, competing on a three-story, specially constructed scaffolding structure for the 2010 West Coast Invitational title and $10,000 cash purse.

Once the action is finished Saturday, those 21 and older can hop on The Village gondola up to Canyon Lodge for a live performance by Eagles of Death Metal. Tickets to the after-party are $5 per person advance purchase, or $10 per person at the door, and are available at any Mammoth Mountain ticket window, by calling (800) MAMMOTH or via the Mammoth Mountain website.

Schedule of Events:

Friday, April 30
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Festival Village, Main Lodge
Noon to 3 p.m. -- Eddie Wall Ride Invitational, on Broadway above Main Lodge
7 to 10 p.m. -- Riders dinner, Sushi Rei in The Village
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. --  Eddie Wall Ride Invitational after-party, Hyde Lounge

Saturday, May 1
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. -- Festival Village, Main Lodge
7:30 to 9:30 p.m. -- WCI Rail Jam, The Village at Mammoth
9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. -- After party featuring The Eagles of Death Metal (21+), Canyon Lodge
9:15 to 10:15 p.m. -- Transportation to Canyon Lodge via The Village gondola
9:15 p.m. to 2 a.m. -- Transportation from Canyon Lodge to The Village via shuttle bus

Sunday, May 2
Weather day

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Last year's West Coast Invitational Rail Jam event in Mammoth Village. Credit: Peter Morning

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Dew Tour announces 2010 season, including championships in Las Vegas


The schedule for the sixth season of the Dew Tour has been announced and will include the action-sports tour's first visit to Las Vegas.

"I'm excited that the Dew Tour is going to be in Las Vegas this year," said three-time Dew Cup champion Ryan Sheckler. "I love Vegas, so to be able to compete there seems almost surreal."

Top skate and BMX athletes are vying for part of a $2.5-million purse based on overall tour standings in each of the five disciplines -- skateboard park, skate vert, BMX park, vert and dirt.

The first two events kicking off the season are sport-specific, with a park and vert skate event in Boston, followed by a park, dirt and vert BMX stop in Chicago.

The five-city tour also visits Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City for multi-sport competition and culminates with the championships at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

"All five of our host cities for this upcoming year have shown tremendous support," said Chris Prybylo, Alli Sports vice president of events and Dew Tour general manager. "We look forward to what this season will bring, and the addition of Las Vegas to the slate will make the final event of the year that much more dynamic and dramatic."

The complete 2010 Dew Tour schedule:

June 25-26       Skate Open/ISF Skateboarding World Championships         Boston

July 23-24      Nike 6.0 BMX Open                                                                     Chicago

Aug. 12-15        Wendy's Invitational                                                                  Portland, Ore.

Sept. 16-19       Toyota Challenge                                                                         Salt Lake City

Oct. 14-17        Dew Tour Championships                                                           Las Vegas

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Bob Burnquist competes in the skate vert finals during the 2009 Dew Tour Playstation Pro. Credit: Alli: Alliance of Action Sports

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Skydiver survives 3,000 foot plunge after parachute tangles

A skydiver (not Butler) floats back down to Earth.

A skydiver must have had her guardian angel jumping with her, surviving after plummeting 3,000 feet to the ground when her parachute failed to deploy properly.

The Sun reports that Lareece Butler, 26, escaped with a broken leg, concussion and bruises after plunging to the Earth as her boyfriend watched from the ground in horror.

Butler was on a training course at EP Skydivers in King William's Town, located in South Africa's Eastern Cape province.

She leaped from a plane with a parachute that was supposed to open automatically, but it suffered problems within seconds of exiting the aircraft.

"It should have all run smoothly but she exited the plane in an unusual and unstable position," said skydive manager Joos Vos. "This caused the parachute leads to become entangled. Although the parachute did partially inflate, it was rotating and becoming more entangled as she dropped."

Vos added that the novice skydiver is very lucky to be alive. "She had been trained to use the emergency procedure but unfortunately she did not and instead fell towards the ground."

Butler remains in intensive care where doctors said she was in a stable condition.

"The doctor said it was nothing but divine intervention, nothing short of a miracle," said Butler's stepfather, Victor Peterson.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A skydiver (not Butler) floats back down to Earth. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.