Some of the region's best up-and-coming big-mountain skiers and snowboarders will challenge their extreme riding skills in the annual Colorado Freeride Championships at [R406R, Snowmass ] Feb. 27-March 1.

The event, which is expected to attract 100 or more athletes who will challenge the resort's uber-expert terrain that is littered with rocks, super-steep faces and hanging snowfield, is a two-day affair that promises to continue to push the boundaries of the sport.

Qualifying kicks off on Friday on the Hanging Valley Headwall (spectators must be able to negotiate double-black diamond runs to watch this phase of the competition). The first of the two days of finals is on Saturday, with the event moving to Burn Side Cliffs (which can be viewed by the non-competitive public from the deck Gwen's High-Alpine Restaurant).

The athletes will be competing for a piece of the $7,500 purse, with the men's skiing champion getting $1,900, the men's snowboard and women's skiing titlist getting $1,000 each and the women's snowboard winner taking home $500.

The Colorado Freeride Championships is open to all skiers and riders 16 years old and up who have the $125 entry fee. Go online for details and entry information.