Seven Springs will have two events Friday through Feb. 7 that could give some of the country's best amateur snowboarders and freestyle skiers an opportunity to compete at the U.S. Open next month in Vail, Colo.
The 2013 Burton U.S. Open Qualifiers and the U.S. Revolution Tour will feature top athletes competing in half-pipe, slopestyle and cross, said resort spokeswoman Anna Weltz.
After the qualifying events, the top five women and the top 10 men in each event will advance to the semifinals at the U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Vail from Feb. 25-March 2. The next step for some could be selection for the Olympic trials.
"It's awesome to think that the next Shaun White, Gretchen Bleiler, Kristi Leskinen or Tom Wallisch could earn their stripes here at Seven Springs," Weltz said.
She said the top snowboarders will earn a portion of a $20,000 prize purse, 4Star World Snowboard Tour points and U.S. Revolution Tour points. The latter tour serves as "a steppingstone" for athletes advancing from the grass-roots level to the elite level.
In addition to watching some of the top snowboarders and freestyle skiers in action, Weltz said resort guests can enjoy the Burton Mountain Festival and its full day of on-snow activities. The latter includes Burton 2013 product demos, live music, sponsor giveaways and a traveling terrain "designed for the smallest snowboarders."
She noted TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine has recognized the development and growth of the resort's seven terrain parks by rating them the best on the East Coast for three consecutive years.
The dual tours are being held in partnership with Burton Snowboards, U.S. Snowboarding and MINI, a supporter of "young and creative sports people" around the world.
Jake Burton, who started his company in a Vermont barn in 1977, has aggressively pushed the growth of snowboarding "from a backyard hobby to a world class sport." His wife, Donna Carpenter, is president of the company.
Telepalooza, the 11th annual two-day Telemark Ski Festival that focuses on skills clinics for skiers of all ability levels and is open to the public, will be Feb. 2-3 at Seven Springs.
There will be morning and afternoon clinics Feb 2 for beginner, novice, intermediate and advanced skiers, and a separate clinic for women.
The registration fee -- $89 for one day, $129 for both -- includes the opportunity to ski with a pro the first day, a banquet that night, a Citizens Classic Uphill/Downhill Race the second day and "awesome prizes," said Jim Kapp of the Appalachian Telemark Association. The Western Pennsylvania Ski Council is the primary sponsor of the event.
The fee does not include a lift ticket, but discounted tickets will be available at the registration desk in the Maple Room on the second floor of the lodge. There is no charge for children 15 and younger.
Peek'n Peak Resort in Findley Lake, N.Y., 22 miles east of Erie, received 26 inches of snow in 72 hours this week, including 12 inches Tuesday. That gave it the top snowfall of the day in North America, according to Teton Gravity Research (www.Tetongravity.com).
The Peak, which has 27 slopes and trails served by six triple chairlifts, two doubles and two Magic Carpets, has a vertical drop of 400 feet. College students with a valid ID can ski or snowboard from 4 p.m. to closing Sundays through Thursdays for $25.
The resort is 150 miles from Pittsburgh via Interstates 79, 90 and 86, and Pennsylvania routes 89 and 430. From there, visitors can follow the signs.
Information: www.pknpk.com; 1-716-355-4141.
Larry Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.