Local racers still waiting for X Games to make Tahoe appearance
Well, we’re up to number seven, and still no Lake Tahoe Winter X Games, which leaves some local skiers and boarders wondering what could be wrong with the Sierra?
Winter X Games VII is unfolding this weekendat Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo. This is the second consecutive year the events have been held at Aspen, and none of the winter games have made an appearance in Northern California. What’s wrong with Tahoe? Is the snowpack just too deep? Maybe we have too many days of winter sunshine? Are the people here overly friendly?
“I do think it needs to come west,” said South Lake Tahoe’s Corley Howard, who will compete in the skiercross event Friday. “I’m a California skier and it gets cold when we move east.
“It would be nice to bring it out here to California,” added Howard, who last year placed sixth in skiercross and made the finals, finishing as the No. 2 overall skier for the United States at Aspen. “I’m tired of being cold.”
Howard, who skis and works at Kirkwood, pointed out that he suspects only a couple of “local mountains” would be large enough to hold the incredible influx of several hundred thousand athletes, spectators, media and sponsors who flood the games each year. He suggests the likes of Squaw or possibly Mammoth as locations in the Sierra with enough space to handle the fray, noting that the games get bigger every year.
“It’s the big show,” he said.
South Lake Tahoe’s Jimi Tomer, whose home mountain is Heavenly, is headed to his first Winter X Games competition. He also fails to understand why Lake Tahoe seems to be overlooked as a venue year after year.
“Everyone wants it to be here,” Tomer said. “I’d love for it to be. It would be twice as good, for sure, (and) I’d have home-mountain advantage.
“I don’t know why they don’t do it,” he added. “It is always back east in Colorado.”
Tania Pilkinton, director of media relations for Kirkwood, thinks that Lake Tahoe could be an ideal location for the games.
“I think it would be great,” she said. “There are a lot of resorts that would fit the bill here.”
Pilkinton noted that Kirkwood has explored the possibility of trying to attract a Winter X Games.
“We haven’t made a formal bid, but I would guess that we will at some time in the near future,” she said.
X Games notes: Shaun Palmer of South Lake Tahoe, who has stated his retirement from the Winter X Games following a harrowing crash in last year’s boardercross semifinal heat that left him unconscious, reiterated his determination to skip the games.
“I’m not going to the X Games and I don’t have anymore to say,” Palmer said … Action began on Thursday with Ueli Kestenholz winning gold in men’s boardercross, Lindsey Jacobellis taking gold in women’s boardercross, Tanner Hall claiming first in skier slopestyle and Blair Morgan capturing gold in snocross. For complete results, See B4.
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