South Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. – December 6, 2013 – The cards were dealt, the bets were placed and the top three snowboarders took home the jackpot. Chas Guldemond, Gjermund Braaten and Eric Willett, the three podium winners from the inaugural Heavenly High Roller Hold 'Em, return to the competition on Saturday, April 5, 2014. In partnership with Snow Park Technologies, High Roller Hold 'Em combines the thrill of big air snowboarding with the strategy of high-stakes poker.
This year, the stakes are even higher, with the overall winner receiving a 2015 X Games Big Air event exemption, meaning that the top finisher at High Roller Hold 'Em will gain automatic entrance into the X Games and will not be subject to meeting the qualification-criteria that the remainder of the field will be assessed under.
"The eagerness of these top athletes to re-join the competitive lineup for High Roller Hold 'Em is a testament to the unique format of the event," said Pete Sonntag, vice president and chief operating officer of Heavenly. "The combo of tricks these snowboarders throw down is in the cards. There is no scripted routine, and they have no idea what combo they will be given. They can be dealt a trick they haven't even practiced or pulled off in years, and that's what makes High Roller Hold 'Em one of the edgiest, most entertaining events. It's anyone's jackpot to win."
Returning High Roller Hold 'Em champ, Guldemond, 26, is a Tahoe local looking to defend his title. He placed 3rd in Slopestyle at the 2013 Burton US Open, 4th in Slopestyle at the 2013 X Games Tignes, 1st at the 2013 Copper Grand Prix in Slopestyle, and 2nd in Slopestyle at the 2012 Dew Tour.
"I am so stoked to bet on my skills again this year at the High Roller Hold Em!" said Guldemond. "Cards, sunsets and hometown fans – It does not get any better!"
Second place finisher at High Roller Hold 'Em, Braaten, 23, won the first Slopestyle event of the 2012 Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge, placed 6th in Slopestyle at the 2013 X Games Tignes and was 8th in Slopestyle at the 2013 X Games Aspen. He also placed 3rd at the Toyota Big Air 2013 and 4th in the Big Air Moscow.
Willett, 25, placed 3rd at the inaugural High Roller Hold 'Em and has a collection of four X Games Snowboard Slopestyle medals to his name. He took 1st place at the 2013 Air & Style event in Innsbruck with a switch backside 1260 mute.
During the event, High Roller Hold 'Em competitors will be dealt three cards per hand with each card featuring different tricks based on the face value of the card. From there, each rider will discard two cards, and bet accordingly on the final card in their hand. Once all bets are in, the riders who haven't folded will head to the top of the big air jump, where the rider who lands the trick with the highest level of difficulty will win the round and qualify for the $50,000 super final.
High Roller Hold 'Em, which will take place on the World Cup run near Heavenly's California Main Lodge, is free of charge and open to the public. The event will feature a Red Bull guest DJ, the Heavenly Angels, an exhibition with local athletes, and pyrotechnics. For those who cannot make it out to Heavenly, the event will be available live on ESPN3 Saturday, April 5, and will be aired as a one hour show on ABC's "World of X Games" the following week.
High above the sapphire-blue waters of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort is one of the most unique mountain resorts on the planet. Combining 4,800 acres of off-the-grid terrain and incredible views of Lake Tahoe with high-octane, non-stop nightlife, Heavenly offers a high-energy resort experience like no other. Visitors to Heavenly come prepared to go "all-in" because Heavenly is for those who are up for first chair and are still going strong after last call. Heavenly is a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc., the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. Visit www.skiheavenly.com or call 800-HEAVENLY to learn more.
Snow Park Technologies (SPT) is the world's leading consulting team for special projects on snow. SPT's wide range of expertise includes designing and building some of the most renowned resort terrain parks and halfpipes; high-profile ski and snowboard competition courses; and countless on-snow productions. SPT also provides event production services, sport organizing and marketing services aimed at the action sports categories. The SPT team is a collection of the most experienced and talented freestyle park and pipe innovators in the world, whose dedication and passion for snow sports has redefined the winter landscape and what is possible on snow. For more information, visit SPT's website at http://www.snowparktech.com and follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/snowparktech, Twitter @snowparktech and Instagram @snowparktech.