Who is the best skier in the world? The question will be posed, if not answered, when Cypress Gardens hosts the inaugural World's Greatest Skier contest this weekend October 2-3.
The tournament will be loosely based on the made-for-television “Superstars,” where viewers could see a pro football player, a major league baseball player and a world boxing champion running a half-mile race or negotiating an obstacle course. In the World's Greatest Skier tournament, pro wakeboarders will be pitted against pro show skiers and hydrofoil champions in seven different events: slalom, jump, tricks, wakeboarding, freestyle jump, barefooting and hydrofoiling. There will also be a wild-card opportunity for all skiers to do virtually anything they want — as long as it has to do with being towed behind a boat. Expected to compete are wakeboarding standout Zane Schwenk of Winter Haven, Florida; world hydrofoil champion Tony Klarich of Canyon Lake, California; Wisconsin show skiing star Kerry Tolzmann; Cypress Gardens show skier Jeff Shmick; hot-dog specialist Geno Yauchler of Lakeland, Florida; SeaWorld's skiers of the year from 1996-97, Matt Dance and Daniel Watkins of Australia; and three-event stalwart Curtis Rabe of Orlando.
“We're not trying to find out who the best slalom skier or best wakeboarder is,” says tournament co-director Rob May. “That doesn't really prove anything. We want to see who is the most versatile, who can do all events well.”
The first event starts at Saturday, October 2, at 8 a.m. For more information, call 407-740-4073.