Snowpark perks up

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Children on plastic toboggans tried their own version of Olympic bobsledding at the Spooner Summit snow hill Monday afternoon.

They were part of a large migration of travelers who aimed to spend time in the snow for President's Day weekend.

Joyous yells and sore tailbones were experienced at the snow park. A series of jumps appeared like incoming waves at a beach.

Cameron Piontea, 12, from Novato, Calif., and his 10-year-old brother, Mitchell, took a five-minute walk up the hill with their toboggan. They roared down the hill and over bumps. They ended up sideways, awash in giggles. Cameron's jaw slightly hurt from the bumps.

Both children wore helmets after their parent's advice.

"You can reset bones, you can shove teeth back in, but you can't do much with a concussion," said Mark Piontea, father of the two boys.

Jonathan Melendez, 16, rode down the hill with his friend Isaac Hernandez in a purple plastic toboggan. Melendez, from San Francisco, said he felt "broken" after the run.

"It was heart-stopping," Melendez said. "It was like five minutes of hell. That's what I came here for."

Barton Memorial Hospital reported several snow park related injuries that occurred over the weekend. Lori Waller, the nursing supervisor for Barton, said snow park injuries could range from hitting trees to spinal cord fractures.

"If you go over a bump and go up in the air then land it can cause a compression injury," she said.

Snow parks along Highway 50 were packed tighter than the base snow at ski resorts. California Highway Patrol Officers were doing traffic control at the Echo Summit Snow Park all weekend long, said Sgt. Mike Stewart.

Cars lined along portions of the Highway 50 corridor to utilize snow hills. "No Stopping" signs sat along the road to prevent people from parking then crossing the highway to sled. The CHP placed the signs to curb pedestrian injuries that have occurred in the past, Stewart said.

No injuries have been reported this year, he added.

Passes for Califorrnia snow parks can be bought at gas stations and the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce. Day passes are $5 and season passes cost $25.


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