Several impediments are preventing Heavenly Ski Resort from becoming the first Lake Tahoe mountain park to host the Winter X Games.
Heavenly President Dennis Harmon and Malcolm Tibbetts, vice president of mountain operations, attended last year’s Winter X Games in Mount Snow, Vt., to get a feel for what would be expected of Heavenly if hosted the event.
“It would be awesome, but if we are going to do it, we want to do it right,” said Monica Bandows, Heavenly director of communications. “Our facilities aren’t perfect for holding this type of event. Dennis and Malcolm came away with the impression that in order to pull of the games properly we’d need more general terrain if it was a California Lodge event and it would be tough to pull off on the Nevada side because the lodges are kind of small.”
Heavenly is touted as the largest resort on the West Coast with 4,800 acres, but most of its terrain is away from the California Lodge and on the Nevada side.
America Skiing Company, which owns Heavenly, has the rights to the Winter X Games through next year, leaving Heavenly with a small window of opportunity to bring the event here. Mount Snow has put on the event the past two years, but there is no word yet which ASC resort will go with in the final year of its three-year deal with ESPN.
During the five-year history of the X Games, Lake Tahoe has brought one of the largest contingents to the weeklong competition. Heavenly realizes this and would like to give the local athletes a chance to perform in front of friends and family.
“It’s not out of the question, but there hasn’t been any formal negotiations,” Bandows said. “At this point, we’re looking at our terrain and looking at what we could offer and how we could pull it off best.”
Heavenly also hopes to bring back a World Cup freestyle event in the near future.
“We do have a great spot and I think everyone here would very much like to have one back,” said Bandows, whose resort hosted World Cup events the past two years. “But if they have an opening in December, that’s going to be tough to pull it off.”
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Athletes from across the globe will make their way into the National Stadium in Beijing, China, next month for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.