Column: Celebrating Olympians on their home turf
March 13, 2014
If you go
What: Gold Medal Party and Olympic celebration
When: 1-5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15
Where: The celebration begins at South Tahoe High School and moves to Sierra-at-Tahoe.
The United States is lucky to have so many talented athletes. All told, the U.S. sent 230 athletes to the Winter Olympics, the most since the country's first winter appearance at the winter games in 1924, and brought home 28 medals — nine of them gold. Two of those shiny chunks of yellow belong to South Lake Tahoe's own Maddie Bowman and Jamie Anderson.
"Sierra is proud to welcome home Jamie, Maddie, and Hannah and celebrate with the entire community," said general manager John Rice. "So many people have played a large roll in shaping these girls into who they are today and we want to invite everyone to celebrate their accomplishments. Having three Olympic gold medalists from one resort is pretty special."
Lake Tahoe should be proud of not only the medals, but also of all of the people it sent to represent the country to the world, as well as the places and communities that made these athletes who they are. South Lake Tahoe will hold a celebration for the region's Olympians this Saturday.
The event will kick off at 1 p.m. with a procession from South Tahoe High School to Sierra-at-Tahoe. A fire truck carrying Jamie Anderson, Maddie Bowman and Hannah Teter will lead the cavalcade.
At Sierra-at-Tahoe, the high school marching band will greet the athletes. John Rice will make an introduction. State Senator Ted Gaines and several other regional politicians will congratulate the Olympians. The party will include autograph signings, live music, food and drink specials, prizes and a raffle with proceeds going to the Sierra Foundation.
In addition to celebrating the athletes and their accomplishments, an ovation must be paid to the mountain where they honed their skills.
Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort doesn't appear to be a resort that produces Olympians. The facilities and buildings are modest — although there's a brand-new plaza and 14,000-square-foot retail and dining space. There's no six-person lifts, condos or weight-training facilities. It's just a mountain — three main lifts, a few terrain parks, a well-shaped halfpipe and a whole bunch of friends.
"There's such a good local scene," said Max Rosenberg, a South Lake Tahoe snowboarder who's been riding Sierra for 10 years. "Back in the day, you'd go to the Alley and everyone would be killing it. It's always been really friendly."
Watching Anderson's appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and listening to Bowman's interview with Capital Public Radio, their modesty seems to be a product of the place they grew up riding. Their passion for the sports they love also seems to draw from the years of skiing and riding a mountain where enjoyment of the sport is paramount. Maybe that's all it takes to produce the world's best.
Dylan Silver is a freelance writer and photographer who lives at Lake Tahoe's South Shore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.