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Don’t forget to check out pros at Heavenly & Squaw

With all the excitement about snowboarding making it to the Olympics and Jonna Mendes making the Olympic ski team, it’s easy to forget pro ski racing is still with us and it’s coming our way this month at Squaw Valley and Heavenly.

It’s called the World Pro Ski Tour and it’s coming here Feb. 13-15 at Squaw Valley and Feb. 20-22 at Heavenly after playing in Italy, France, West Virginia (honest!) and South Korea. The cast includes some big names in pro skiing from Europe and the U.S. Names like Hans Hofer of Austria, last year’s pro champ and veteran of his country’s World Cup team; and Erik Schlopy of the U.S., national team member and sixth on the pro tour last season. The best bet for an American female winner is Heather Flood of Jackson Hole, Wyo., but second-place finisher last season Camillia Lundback of Sweden is the obvious favorite. Joining the pros will be Squaw Valley skier Toni Standteiner, looking for his first podium appearance.

The names don’t ring a bell? They will if you watch these pros coming down the steeps, forearms bashing the gates out of the way, skis way out to the side. It’s easy to understand why the racers work so hard: $80,000 in purses at each event.



Pro tour races are in the dual format that seems to work so well on television (and Fox is broadcasting the pro events). Included on the courses are a pair of bumps to challenge racers going at full-crash speed. Veterans of the pro tour have perfected the art of breaking the timing beam with an extended ski pole or out-thrust glove.

Naturally, both of these pro events are free to spectators. Racing starts on Fridays with the women’s and men’s giant slalom, followed on Saturdays by the same format for the slalom. Heavenly plans to add a fireworks show after the awards Saturday night.



Part of the pro ski tour is the Pro Snowboard Tour with a total purse of $300,000. One such snowboard event will be held at Squaw one week after the pro ski race on Feb. 20-22. The three-day event will feature a double cross and a halfpipe battle. The double cross is a TV-designed event, which combines a giant slalom and border cross, or every man for himself.

Playboy magazine will be furnishing magazine Playmates offering, among other things, a Playboy Barbecue. No doubt the BBQ will be spicy.

You’ll also have a chance to ski with the Playmates, who’ll be serving up the BBQ: Victoria Zdrok, October, 1994; Rachel Jean Marteen, August 1995; and Kelly Monaco, April 1997.

If skiing with a Playmate is not your thing, you might want to try Riding with a World Pro Snowboard Pro. Hobson’s choice.

***

If you need a quick fix of snowboarding and can’t wait for the Olympics, you might want to check the web for the latest race results at http://www.solsnowboarding.com. The site will be carrying info on both Airwalk and Bud Lite events.

***

OK, hikers, it’s time to get out those boots, rub in some mink oil and hit the trail.

And there’s no better place or time to start hiking again than Saturday, Feb. 21, at Camp Richardson just outside South Lake Tahoe where the second annual Winter Trails celebration will be staged. During Winter Trails ’97, more than 2,000 outdoor enthusiasts turned out across the nation to celebrate snowshoeing. This year, with a dozen states participating, more than 5,000 are expected to hit the trails.

Winter Trails ’98, sponsored by the American Hiking Society and SnowSports Industries of America, is designed to bring snowshoeing to the outdoor community nationwide. Hosts at Camp Richardson will be the Pacific Crest Trail Assn. and YubaShoes Sport Snowshoes. Reaching from Massachusetts to California, Winter Trail ’98 events are open to all ages and all skill levels. At Camp Richardson, long noted for its hiking and biking trails, some running right along Lake Tahoe’s southern shore, the schedule is:

Saturday at 9 a.m., registration at the main lodge on Hwy. 89. Those signing up will be given a wrist band which will allow them to try out snowshoes all day. A self-guided trail will be marked and accessible all day.

At 10 a.m., there will be a guided hike on Trail B. Groups will be limited to 12 persons. This will be repeated at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.

At 10:45, there will be a outdoor survival seminar at Richardson’s main lodge. Topics will include avalanche awareness, hypothermia and outdoor winter survival, such as igloo or snowcave building. This seminar will be repeated at 11:45, 1:45 and 2:45.

For beginners, Camp Richardson will stage snowshoe demonstrations. Children will be able to enjoy obstacle course races, snow sculpture contests, scavenger hunts and on snow games.

Camp Richardson is on Hwy. 89 just 2.5 miles from the intersection of Hwys. 50 and 89 in South Lake Tahoe. For details, contact Jon Maztakowski, Yuba, (916) 920-5339, or Missy Springer, Camp Richardson, (916) 542-6550.

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OK, so the full moon isn’t until Wednesday, but they’re jumping the date a little at Northstar-at-Tahoe with a full-moon cross country tour and cowboy poetry reading Sunday (Feb. 8). Sounds like fun with Larry Maurice reading poetry at a trailside bonfire and refreshments halfway along the 5km ski trek for experienced skinny-ski devotees. There will also be a 5 km snowshoe trek. Cost is $15 per person and rental gear is available for $5. Reservations are needed so call (530) 562-2475 if you’re ready to bay at the moon.

***

Heavenly’s welcoming all kinds of couples on Valentine Day with a dual format, two-run event. Categories include father and daughter, mom and son, partners, husband and wife and girlfriend and boyfriend. Entry fee is $20 per team. Registration is race day, Feb. 14, at the Freel Peak Room at the California Lodge. At the end of the race there will be a special raffle awarding a 14-kt. gold diamond heart pendant and a 14-kt. gold garnet heart-shaped ring with diamonds, courtesy of the Gold Store-co-sponsor of the event. Start time is 11 a.m. on the World Cup course. Naturally, there will be flowers as well, thanks to the Spur of the Moment.

Also at Heavenly this weekend is something new, the first of the “HuckFest” Big Air Series. This is open to all skiers and riders who enjoy flying! Point of this is just as it sounds: grabbing big air.

Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female skier and boarder for each of the six events, set for Feb. 8 and 22, March 8 and 22, and April 5 and 12.

The site will be the great mound of snow to the left of the Gunbarrel chair, once known as Malcolm’s Mound but renamed the Launchpad. Helmets and training are mandatory, competitors under 18 must have guardian’s signature to compete, each entrant will get two jumps and registration is limited to the first 75 sign-ups.

Training begins on the day of the event at noon with the event flying off at 3 p.m. Registration is from noon to 2 p.m. on the days of events at the bottom of the launchpad.

Fee is $5 per event or $20 for the Frequent Flyer Club, which includes all six events and training whenever the Launchpad is open.

Having fun is required.

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Sierra-at-Tahoe is sponsoring its annual Merchants Day Thursday (Feb. 12) with lift tickets going for $15, or for the same $15 you can enjoy a learn to ski/snowboard package. And if you buy an advance ticket you will be eligible to win a 1998-99 season pass. All proceeds will benefit local Tahoe charities.

Slalom and obstacle courses will be set up with trophies and awards for top finishers in both team and individual categories.

Tickets must be purchased before Thursday at the chambers of commerce for South Lake Tahoe, Tahoe Douglas, El Dorado, Shingle Springs/Cameron Park and Carson Valley or at the Lake Tahoe Community College bookstore.

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A 15-km cross country ski race will be staged Sunday (Feb. 8) at the Northstar-at-Tahoe X-C and Telemark center. Dubbed the Northstar Sawmill race, the event is open to skiers of all ages and abilities. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Alpine Bar in the village and races begin at 10. Entry fee is $12 if pre-registered and free for juniors. On race day fee is $14 for adults, $12 for juniors. For USSA and Junior 1 and 2 racers on race day the fee is $132. Juniors will run on a 10-km course.

Entry fee includes trail pass, raffle ticket and refreshments.

***

Kirkwood will host Eva Twardokens’ Tech Workshop for Women Sunday and Monday (Feb. 8-9), the first in a series of clinics for women who are intermediate or advanced skiers. The three-hour workshop includes individual instruction by Twardokens, two-time Olympian and reigning world technical champion.

Fees and registration information at (209) 258-7245.

***

You can still benefit from Diamond Peak’s half-price offer for today (Friday, Feb. 6). This a fund-raiser for the local Incline Village children’s ski team and it’s helpful on the pocketbook as well. The Peak has received more than 52 inches of fresh snow so those chutes off the spine from the top should be just dandy.

***

Sam Bauman presents a free ski/snowboard roundup on conditions and gear at Harvey’s Casino’s El Vaquero restaurant Sunday evenings at 6. All Tahoe visitors are welcome.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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