LET IT SNOW, LET IT ETC.
All around the lake the snow is piling up beautifully. So much so that Sierra-at-Tahoe sent out a color print of several skiers standing in front of their lodge main sign, dwarfed by the snow piled up on the sign. The caption: “Tuesday, Feb. 17–1998, Sierra base lodge, at 7,300 feet. 12 feet of snow fell from Feb. 1-14.”
Heavenly reports that February was the “snowiest” day since 1975, which is as far back as record-keeping goes at the resort with 14 feet recorded in the month. Mott and Killebrew canyons have to be splendid. And at Kirkwood average snow depth is 25 feet. Take that, Colorado and Utah!
SPEAKING OF KIRKWOOD AND VANS
This will be the biggest snowboarding event around Tahoe this season as more Olympic riders than you can shake a medal at will be competing. There’s $125,000 in purses at stake so you can bet the money players will be going all out. Halfpipe, GS, BorderCross and Triple Big Air will be the events. Finals are Saturday and Sunday for all but GS competition.
THE CLUNKER BROADCASTING SYSTEM
OK, you’ve had all you want of the Olympics as presented by CBS-TV. And you’re as fed up with the network thinking we’re dummies and will swallow anything they spoon out to us. They just don’t get it at CBS when it comes to winter sports. Two nights stand out for sheer foolishness:
Wednesday, I think it was, they ran a 10-minute segment with Bryan Gumbel nattering about nothing. Then they offered us 10 seconds of the winner of the women’s GS. Huh?
And on closing night, they ran a 30-minute piece with Bob Simon recalling a U.S. runner’s imprisonment in World War II, complete with fake shots of the guy and two other survivors afloat on a life raft for 45 days in the Central Pacific and in a POW camp. And the piece didn’t even have the natural climax of the runner confronting the Japanese prison guard who beat him. Huh?
CBS has been getting its lumps from all sides for the pitiful performance at the Games. The New York Times even took umbrage at the use of the Nike swoosh on news people uniforms. The line between ads and editorial grows ever fainter on the tube.
And speaking of commercials, the ratio was 2 minutes of action to one minute of ads, far beyond normal broadcast standards. Even worse, much of the action was skaters practicing or Jim Nantz repeating what had just been reported by others. Let’s hope NBC does better in 2002.
And whatever happened to Jonna Mendes, obviously one of the bright stars in the U.S. Ski Team’s future?
SKI HELMETS, CONTINUED
I know, you’re also tired of hearing about ski helmets. But bear with me one more time.
Sunday I was testing the Volant shaped Chubb skis on Heavenly’s upper Olympic run, in the trees. Beautiful fresh snow, largely untracked on either side of the trail. It was one of those rare days when you find that you actually can make those nice, linked swoops down the hill.
Well, until I hit an unexpected bump and landed in a depression. Face-plant time. No pain, just a struggle to get out.
That behind me, I took to the trees over by the boundary line. Wonderful snow, makes one believe in avoiding the transverse. Saw a slot between two trees. Just a couple of skinny branches there. Went in and whamo! A nice thick stub of a limb reached out and grabbed me. Hit one tree with a now-reddened knuckle. Hit the stub with the helmet, broke my goggles, left a scar on the Bell helmet but left my noggin untouched. So thanks to Bell rep John Pratt who loaned me the helmet. And thanks to Tracy Nash of Embassy Suites who wears a helmet and one day asked why I didn’t. I said mine was in the car. “Cool,” she said sarcastically. I owe them both a beer.
At Sierra-at-Tahoe, Glen Plake’s Hot Dog Tour offers intermediate skiers the chance to ski with the Master and learn his Worm Turn on this Saturday and Sunday. Fee is $15 and includes the event, T-shirt and goody bg.
Heavenly’s “HuckFest” continues March 8 and 22 at the Lanchpad at the freestyle area. Fee is $5 per event and if you hike you don’t need a lift ticket (pant pant). Helmet a must, training mandatory, two jumps per entrant, first 75 get to take part.
Full moon rising on March 12 so you can figure on plenty of cross country ski/snowshoe tours at resorts to enjoy the beauty of it all. The Resort at Squaw Creek offer one for $35 which includes rental gear, food and a guide (wine extra). Camp Richardson will offer its outing as will Northstar-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley. Check with your favorite resort for details.
Snowfest kicks off at Squaw Valley this weekend and will wind up March 9. Too many events to list here, but call (702) 832-1606 for details. Fun for all ages, all abilities here. The Resort at Squaw Creek offers a x-c ski/snowshoe dessert picnic to catch opening day fireworks and all Friday (Feb. 27) night. Laser light show and torchlight parade plus the best desserts the chefs can create for $35. Details, (530) 583-6300.
For the entire months of March and April you can get a free snowboard or ski lesson at Boreal Ski Area by just stopping at an Albertsons supermarket and picking up a coupon and the details at the Mountain Dew soft drink display. Lesson will be free along with a beginner lift ticket. More info, (888)-SNOW-505.
Northstar-at-Tahoe is offering telemark ski clinics for beginners and intermediate and advanced tele’ skiers March 8. All day clinic fee is $45 for beginners and $69 for advanced. Details, (530)562-2475.
Also at Northstar the final Seniors Golden Stars Ski Clinic March 10-12. Three days of fun, upgrading lessons for intermediate or above skiers 60 or older. Includes video analysis, three lessons and all day lift tickets for $159 ($105 for skiers 70 and up). Details, (530) 562-2471.
Alpine Meadows checks in with a women’s three-day snowboarding clinic March 4-6. Included in the program are lift tickets, meals, a cocktail party, dinner with instructors and an Alpine Meadows souvenir. Fee is $361, or $265 with a season pass or 10-PAK. Snowboard rental for the three days is $60. And for women skiers, there’s still openings for the three-day clinic at the same time. Details, (530) 581-8329.
NEW STUFF ON THE HILL
Took in the Western Winter Sports Rep Assn. trade show at Sugar Bowl Tuesday and Wednesday and had a chance to try some new skis and give a second test to some introduced mid-season last year. Much fascinating stuff there with the snowboard booths outnumbering the ski booths. Details to come, but if you get a chance to try the K2 Black Magic don’t pass it up. This is the old K2 Four with the piezzo dampener removed and a titanium plate added for torsional rigidity. The Four has long been a winner, but Black Magic is well named. Crud, packed, powder, it’s at home!
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