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Heavenly’s Spring Thaw benefits Special Olympics

Linda Bottjer
Carla McCloud swims her way to a gold medal in the 100 meter freestyle during the Northern California Special Olympics State games at UC Davis in 2010.
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Grab some rays and catch the tunes and do it all in the name of a good cause at the Spring Thaw organized by the Heavenly Resort Ski Patrol.

The event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16 on top of the ski resort’s parking garage, located at the bottom of the gondola. According to Andy Davis, a member of the resort’s ski patrol, while the event has been ongoing for 12 years this is the first year under its new title.

What has not changed is the amount of fun attendees will have buying catered food from Beach Hut Deli or the libations of beer and wine provided by Sierra Nevada and Bud Light.

High-altitude air gets a new attitude when the music begins at 5:30 p.m.

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Jelly Bread is a funk band from Reno. Rich with heavy vocals and big bass sounds, its output is self-described as “music meant for a night of sexual healing on the dance floor with a little granola for breakfast.”

The energy level remains on high alert with the musical outpouring of Zion Roots. Based in Sacramento, the reggae band is comprised of band members from Africa, the Americas, North and Central, and Caribbean nations Trinidad and Grenada.

The positive power is reflected in the Special Olympics’ Team Tahoe, one of the local charities benefiting from Spring Thaw.

Jody Filgo serves as the organization’s volunteer area director. According to her, the local chapter offers year-round sports for athletes who range in age from 8 to 60. Aquatics, softball, bowling and track are a few of activities offered.

Come the winter and snowboarding, alpine and cross country skiing dominate the athletic scene.

One standout is South Lake Tahoe’s Philip Sturgeon who tackled the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games and brought home three gold medals.

When asked about 2011’s Spring Thaw event, an appreciative Filgo said: “We definitely benefit from all the money raised for us.”

Another benefiting organization is an important help to others during the winter months.

The Sierra Avalanche Center, based in Truckee, provide daily forecasting on weather conditions prone to problematic that are not included within the boundaries of area ski resorts.

“The public will know what they are facing should they chose to travel on a backcountry trail,” said Brandon Schwartz, an avalanche forecaster with the organization.

He also notes despite the huge snowfall of this season there has not been an increase in the amount of avalanches around the Lake Tahoe Basin.

This is another reason to celebrate the Spring Thaw this weekend.


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