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24 Hours to add prize purse

Aspen Times Staff Report

For the first time in its 12 years, the 24 Hours of Aspen will offer prize money to make the endurance race even more enticing to top skiers.

The Aspen Skiing Co. announced yesterday that a $50,000 purse will be offered when the race is held Dec. 17 and 18 on Aspen Mountain. It wasn’t decided yet how that purse will be divided.

“The reason we’re doing it is we’re competing against other professional races,” said Killeen Brettmann, Skico vice president of event marketing. “We’re definitely hoping to attract the big names, like Tommy Moe and Patrick Ortlieb.”

The field will be limited to 11 teams of two members. Applications are being accepted worldwide.

The Skico also announced changes in the major sponsorship of the event and in the beneficiaries.

Audi of America took over as the title sponsor. The car maker was a natural sponsor because it already works so closely with the Skico, said Brettmann. Audi has been the official resort sponsor of the Aspen Skiing Co. for the last four seasons. It had also been a presenting sponsor, in a secondary position behind the title sponsor, for 24 Hours of Aspen.

Gulfstream had been the title sponsor of the endurance race for the last two years. The aircraft manufacturer literally saved the day in 1998 when Land Rover unexpectedly yanked its sponsorship of the event.

“Land Rover pulled out at the last minute. Gulfstream came in at the last minute,” said Brettmann.

Also for the 2000 race, Compaq Computer Corp. will jump in as a presenting sponsor. The company is going to team with the Skico to provide innovative live coverage of the race, according to Brettman.

MCI WorldCom is back for the fourth year as a gold sponsor.

The Silver Lining Ranch will no longer be the major beneficiary of the race. Instead, it will raise funds for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and Challenge Aspen, according to the Skico.

Andrea Jaeger, president and co-executive director of the Silver Lining Foundation, said the organization’s board of directors thought it was time for other local groups to benefit from the 24 Hours of Aspen.

“It’s time to let someone else rotate in,” she said.

The ranch brings critically ill children to Aspen for a vacation.


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