Demsar Lord of the Boards
Relaxing at home with his wife, Stephania, and their 8-month-old son Janez Jr. on Monday afternoon, Janez Demsar’s body was feeling every bit of what it took to win the Lord of the Boards overall championship.
The accomplished South Shore skier’s back hurt and so did his butt. But by winning the series’ final stop at Alpine Meadows on Saturday and Sunday, Demsar became Lord of the Boards and clinched a spot in next year’s Winter X Games.
“The body takes a beating in this sport. All three Dill brothers injured their knees during the series. Half of the field was missing because they were injured. It’s a big accomplishment to survive and do all of the events and perform well in all of them,” Demsar said.
Demsar would rather forget his last Winter X Games experience. Entering elimination rounds with one of the top-5 times, Demsar’s X Games came to crashing halt when a competitor’s ski pole took him out at the top of the mountain in the skiercross.
“I focused on that event for the whole year, and I thought I had a shot at least making the semifinals, and then this guy sticks a ski pole between my legs and I go out in the first round,” Demsar said.
A fatigued Demsar closed out the overall Lord title by placing first in the telemark event and taking third in the skiercross.
“By the time you reach the finals, you ski between 15 to 20 runs,” Demsar said. “If you fall once in one run, you’re pretty much done because you lose so much time. To do well overall you have to very consistent.”
Chris Wimbles won the snowboardcross, while Todd Kelly claimed first in the skiercross.
Justin Befu of South Lake Tahoe placed third overall, and was third in telemark at Alpine.
Stephanie Turner wrapped up the Tour Lady title on the strength of winning the telemark event. Christy Kromer was runner-up in her bid to secure a berth in the 2000 Winter X Games.
Demsar, who serves as a skiing tour guide for Embassy Suites and Tahoe Seasons Resort, said his understanding and supportive wife makes all of his success possible.
“She goes to the races with me and gives me great support,” he said.
That support paid off at the Red Bull Ultra Cross on March 16-17 at Big Bear, Calif., where Demsar and Brady Gunsch defended their boardercross/skiercross championship.
Gunsch and Demsar, who call themselves the Highlanders, bested the 30-team field in the relay format. In heats of five, snowboarders tackled the course first, needing to cross the finish line before the start gate would open for their skier teammates at the top of the mountain.
“I caught up to the skiers and passed them halfway down the course. Luckily, I had enough time to come down first,” said Demsar, who teamed with Gunsch to win last year’s event at Mount Rose.
Sarah John and Michelle Yu of South Lake Tahoe placed second in the women’s division.
Demsar won’t have much time to let his body heal. He plans to compete in the World Skiercross Championships April 3-4 at Squaw Valley.
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