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Longboard championships on horizon

If you like to combine history with skiing, the National Longboard Association will be staging its sixth Annual Longboard Championships at Soda Springs Ski Resort on March 21.

Longboards, in case you missed last year’s report, are wooden skis 10-to-16 feet in length, with leather strap bindings that wrap around cowboy boots. Skiers used a single pole to push off at the start, to make turns and to stop after the finish.

In the last century, miners in the Sierra would stage week-long parties during the winter during which longboard events were the highlight. Truckee was often the site of these events.



Nowadays the contestants dig out old mining clothing for the event. At Soda Springs, which is off old State Route 40 just past the Donner Pass, the longboarders will compete on two courses, an 800-foot long run for beginners and a 600-footer higher up the hill for finals.

This is strictly a fun event, with a band for dancing, a barbecue and a display of longboards and historic artifacts. Racing starts at 1 p.m. and goes on until there are winners. Registration is $25 and includes the use of a pair of longboards.



Four divisions will race, including men, women, juniors and rookies. First through third-place medals will be awarded, and if you want to practice with longboards on the Saturday before the event, call Craig Beck, one of the past champions, at (530) 5446-3361.

SAFETY ON THE SLOPES

At Ski Times, we received a letter recently from Alfred Martinelli of San Luis Obispo, Calif. He writes, “I would like to see more articles on safety.” Well, Ski Times is wrapped up for the season, so I’ll air his plea here.

“Tell people about the best places to stop on runs – on the side of the run.

“Warn ‘on your left’ or ‘on your right when passing someone.”

These are time-honored points for skiing, although I fear that yelling “On your left” may simply cause panic.

However, Martinelli is right. With the proliferation of detachable quad chairs in ski resorts, the runs are becoming more and more crowded, and most ski accidents come from skier-to-skier collisions. That’s why I don’t mind skiing at resorts which have no detachables, although I do appreciate the time saved.

Martinelli notes that at Breckenridge, Colo., six people have been killed this season, three in one weekend, and 26 hospitalized. And we’ve had our share of accidents around Tahoe.

I’m not sure much can be done to make skiing and snowboarding safer. These are inherently dangerous sports, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled. But observing the basic six rules of safe skiing would help.

GEAR THIEVES AT WORK

I’ve had several Heavenly ski instructors from the California lodge side call about a series of thefts in their locker and safe storage area. Most recent was from a snowboard instructor who in the boot drying room had his snowboard bindings stolen. Seems that someone cut his protective cable and unscrewed the bindings from his board. Earlier the same instructor had a pair of ski poles stolen.

Other instructors report similar thefts. Question is, of course, is this strictly a Heavenly problem or is it Tahoe-wide? Anyone have any comments?

WHAT’S HAPPENING?

SIERRA-AT-TAHOE is hosting the annual Legislator’s Cup Friday March 12. This is your chance to see your favorite legislator at play. Also at SAT on Saturday are the USASA Halfpipe Finals. This is amateurs at work, but well worth the trip. And on Sunday is the last leg of the Karving Klassic, the race where runners pick their line and are handicapped on which gates they take. Free with a lift ticket and lots of fun. On March 21, SAT will hold its rescheduled BorderCross event. This time it’s also open to skiers. Event open to all ages, helmets required and entry fee is $15. Show up early.

At SQUAW VALLEY March 17 is the kickoff for a three-event snowboard competition. Under the lights on Central Park run the first event will be halfpipe, second March 24 slopestyle and March 31 bordercross. Events are open to all, registration is at Central Park on the day of the competition between 4:30 and 5 p.m. with a training period from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Fees are $10 16 and up, $5 for those under 16, not including night lift ticket. On Saturday at Squaw the Far West Ski Association holds its super-G races and March 20-21 is the Jimmy Heuga Snow Express race to benefit MS.

MOUNT ROSE will operate the Lakeview and Ponderosa lift until 5 p.m. and repeat its twofers on Tuesdays. On Saturday, Rose will hold its annual Dummy Downhill, where vehicles of various shapes and kinds roll, tumble, skid and slalom down a run for prizes. This is a true fun event with prizes in various categories. Rose will also host the Spring Cup adaptive super-G, GS and slalom events March 18-21. Event isn’t limited to disadvantaged skiers.

HEAVENLY is gearing up for the annual Bumps & Jumps event March 19-20. Lots of big names will be there including, yep, you guessed it, Jonny Moseley.

DIAMOND PEAK weighs in with a reminder that Friday is the Hyatt Family Challenge and Sunday March 21 Village Loft demo day. (I skied Diamond Peak last Sunday and as always found it to be delightful. The day before I was at Homewood, equally fun. The smaller resorts have qualities all of their own.)

NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE will stage three-day men’s and women’s ski workshops March 17-19. All the usual goodies involved. Have to be 13 or older and intermediate or above level. Fees are $259 for men, $295 for women. Call (530) 562-2471. Also on tap at the ‘Star is the Stomp It Out! Snowshoe Festival on Saturday, March 20. This is a benefit for breast cancer involving snowshoes. Proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. All levels welcome, $20 for adults and $13 for children 12 and under and free for seniors 65 and up. Three events planned: 3K hike at 11 a.m., a 12.5K walk at noon and a 5-kilometer run at 1 p.m.

HOMEWOOD MOUNTAIN RESORT will hold a chili cook-off this coming Thursday, lots of samples to be dished out. Then on Saturday the resort stages its “Ski with the Pros” day.


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