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Plenty to follow World Cup

Decompressing after the wildly successful World Cup Freestyle meet at Heavenly is tough, but there’s plenty of events on the horizon. Heavenly’s Bud Lite Boarder Battlesnowboard event will fly Feb. 5 through 7. But there’s been a change. Due to a new law involving alcohol and sporting events in California, the site will be moved to the Stagecoach area in Nevada. This will be a good chances to try the new detachable quad there. Much, much nice skiing off it.

In March the Bumps & Jumps returns to Heavenly. So all is not boredom.

Meanwhile, some fascinating statistics came across the desk recently from Snowsports Industries of America. The stats paint a very mixed picture of what’s going on in snowsports.



For instance, number of Alpine skiers in 1997 (1998 figures aren’t in yet) declined to 8,866,000 from a high of 11,354,000 in 1990. That’s a drop of almost 2.5 million.

So one would think, boy, bet snowboarders are really up. Nope. Boarder high was 1996 at 3,711,000. For 1997 the figure was 2,516,000, a loss of more than a million.




Cross country also slipped, from 3,385,000 in ’96 to 2,517,000 in ’97. The only growth came in-surprise-snowshoeing, for from 600,000 in ’95 to 700,000 in ’97.

What happened to all those skiers and boarders? Golf, maybe.

Strangely enough, however, sales of skis (pairs, of course) grew from 277,854 in 1996 to 1,059,953 in ’98. Huh? Boots from 366,679 to 1,237,163 same dates. Bindings from 308,687 to 1,070,894. Poles from 279,158 to 973,484.

Snowboards? In 1995, sales were 162,700. In 1998, 251,878. Not quite the runaway record one would expect.

If you’re looking for growth, check the snowshoe sales: 13,397 in 1996, 112,121 in ’98.

What does all this add up to? For one thing, it seems the snowboard boom may be slowing. Kids are saying boarding isn’t “cool” anymore. It’s no longer the rebel thing with almost all resorts welcoming riders.

For another, the shaped ski revolution isn’t all that revolting. Ski resorts are doing a good job of marketing the shaped skis to the public, but the industry seems more interested in fancy cosmetics.

And the baby boomers … as they move into geezerdom, are they going to perk up skiing? Doubt it. Stats show that after the 25-34 age period, Alpine skiing declines rapidly until only 1 percent of all skiers are 65 and over. The older folk seem to drop out rapidly.

If you’re looking for a real growth factor, check the slopes for something for which there are no statistics: tubing, snowbiking and all the other activities taking place on the snow that required little investment or skill. In a few years probably every ski resort around Tahoe will offer alternative sports.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

WOMEN’S TURN program run by Heavenly and Womensport’s Dana Turvey is offering ski and ride clinics for all abilities Feb. 10 and 27, March 20 and 24. Lady boss is Lauren Thomaselli, PSIA Level III coach and named by Skiing magazine as one of the 100 top American ski instructors. Idea is to meet at Womensport shop at Roundhill Mall for dryland stuff, then move to slopes. Cost is $60 and includes a lift ticket. Quel bargain! (775) 588-0066 or (775) 586-7000.

NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE hosts the Paul Mitchell American Pro-Am Snowboard Tour Jan. 30-31. U.S. and Canadian snowboard. team members will take part. Prize purse is $20,000 for halfpipe and giant slalom events.

Races begin at 10 a.m., GS on Saturday, slalom on Sunday. You’ll need a gondola pass to watch the fun.

DONNER SKI RANCH had a deal on all week and today (Friday) is the last of it. Prices are $10 lift tickets, $10 lessons, $10 ski rentals. Move fast and you can make it.

Fascinating offer also from Donner: Buy a 1999-2000 full season pass and get the last part of the 1999 season free. Rates run from $169 if you buy between March 1 and May 31 to $299 if you buy Nov. 1 and after. (530) 426-3635.

Royal Gorge cross country resort is joining with Gold Country Orienteers and Bay Area Orienteering Club for a ski orienteering event Feb. 7. Participants ski around a course and find marked controls, moving as fast as they can. Open to beginners, intermediates and advanced skiers. Fee is $24 for a trail pass and entry, ski rentals $6. (530) 753-9425.

AT DIAMOND PEAK it’s the Rotary Club ski/snowboard race Feb. 5 for groups of at least three. Benefit for Diamond Peak Ski Education Foundation. Entry fee is $35 per person, $40 after Feb. 1. Includes lift ticket, entry fee and BBQ lunch. (775) 832-1176.

LAKEVIEW CROSS COUNTRY SKI AREA will stage a moonlight tour Saturday Jan. 30 beginning at 7 p.m. This is for intermediate and advanced skiers and the fee is $5 which includes guided tour and refreshments. Rental gear is $10. Also at Lakeview Jan. 24 is the Resolution Solution race of 10km for adults, 5km for juniors. This event counts toward the Sierra Ski Chase. (530)_ 583-9353.

AT NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE, it’s cross country race time as well. This is the 10th annual 15km Sawmill Cross Country Ski Race. All ages welcome. Entry fee is $145 for adults, $12 for juniors 19 and under. Entry fee includes a trail pass, raffle ticket and refreshments. (530) 562-2475.

JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE resorts are participating in the Take Your Daughter to the Slopes Day Feb. 6.

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