Tahoe specializes in Winter X Games | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe specializes in Winter X Games

Michaal Traum

Maybe they should rename the Winter X Games the “Lake Tahoe Games.”

As the 1998 version of the extreme winter sports event happens this weekend in Crested Butte, Colo,. at least a dozen lake-area residents will compete in everything from snowboarding to ice climbing to downhill “bonzai” skiing.

Cameron Boyle, known locally as well as nationally for his bump skiing, is one of the many South Shore residents who will compete. He’ll come out of a two-year layoff from competition to participate in the 32-person skiing x event, a no-holds-barred run in which six racers at a time race down the hill through a series of bumps, jumps, spines and rolls against each other and the clock.

“I’d kind of lost the eye of the tiger for competition. But when they asked me, I looked at who would be here and decided to do it,” said Boyle, 32. “It’s a who’s-who of skiing. A lot of guys are really hungry to do well. I’ll see how I do and maybe try some other events (later this year).”

Boyle is joined in the skiing events by other notable South Shore residents including Mike Dill, Robby Tavares and Tom Davis.

Dill earned an X Games berth by winning the Lord of the Boards last season. At 34, he said the Games represent a “second career” opportunity for him. An “old man” in the eyes of many of the competitors, Dill is definitely a voice of experience in the events dominated by the 20-something “wild kids.”

“I’m one of the older guys. It’s crazy watching some of these young guys. But we’ll school them, though,” said Dill, personifying the overall laid-back atmosphere at the Games. “It’s all about fun. These are the top cats. Everyone is a celebrity.”

Both Dill and Boyle, along with Tavares, expressed their excitement with the way ESPN, the event’s chief sponsor and network broadcaster, was handling the events and the athletes.

“The best thing about it is that’s cutting edge, with the camera angles and the high-quality production,” said Dill, who was fitted with helmet and knee cameras for a training run.

Added Boyle, “A lot of the lure is the big exposure. There’s some big names here and everyone is having a great time.”

Another Games competitor familiar to area outdoor extremists is South Shore’s Kristie Elder. Elder will compete in the snowboard halfpipe competition. It’s her second trip to the X Games.

Joining Elder on a snowboard will be South Shore’s Ryan Williams. In the 1998 X Games in San Diego, the 22-year-old took fourth in the big air event.

Other Lake Tahoe area competitors include: Roberta Lew of Truckee, speed and difficulty ice climbing; Jeff McKitterick, Olympic Valley, skier x (free skiing); Jim Morgan, Tahoe City, skier x (free skiing); Aaron McGovern, Tahoe City, skier x (free skiing; Joel Mahaffey, Incline Village, big air; Nate Mott, Truckee, big air; and Tayt Tindal, Olympic Valley, skiboarding.

The Winter X Games, created and organized by ESPN, will feature more than 17 hours of original programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN International, including extensive live coverage. More than 200 athletes will compete in 19 events for medals and more than $200,000 in prize money.

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