Work over those edges before skiing

After battling the boilerplate at Squaw Valley last weekend I realized that I had ignored my own advice: I hadn't worked over my ski edges in several outings. As a result, the shovels didn't carve and the tails came flying around and I wound up going a lot faster than I intended on the Siberia run, normally a breeze.

So with not much snow in the forecast and the cold temperatures resulting in continued bullet-proof runs, I'm getting out the diamond stone and going over my ski edges -- and I recommend you do the same. Or if not, drop off the skis and snowboards at a sporting shop for a tune-up.

The process of tuning the edges is really pretty simple. Get a diamond stone, keep it wet and and put the gear on a surface or hold it vertically. Run the diamond stone along the edges, tip to tail, trying to keep the angle of the stone to the edge consistent with the existing bevel, which is usually 1 or 2 degrees for both the vertical and horizontal surfaces.

You'll feel resistance as the stone encounters burrs, dings and nicks, the things you want to get rid of. Try to achieve a smooth, slick feel to the edges. Don't overdo it, it's easy to mess up the bevel angles.

That's usually as far as most do-it-yourselfers go. If you want to take it a step further, you can take a gummi or Arkansas stone over the edges again, removing striations.

After all this you should add wax, but that's another story. I've taken to using a rub on wax between hot waxes and that helps.

Finally you will probably want to dull the first and last 6 or 8 inches of the shovels and the tails so that the skis or board won't be grabby.

Next thing to do is a snow dance in hopes that we can lure some snow out of the clouds.

UPCOMING EVENTS

One of the more interesting is the four-day 1960 Olympic celebration marking the reopening of the Nordic trails from that event on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. Things got started Thursday with a gathering of 1960 athletes at Sugar Pine Park. It continues through Sunday at locations around the lake.

A highlight of the celebration will be at Squaw Valley itself, where 1,000 participants carrying flaming torches while skiing and snowboarding down from the top of Headwall to the base village will descend the slopes during a Saturday night party.

Meanwhile, as the Olympic flame makes its way to the South Shore of Lake Tahoe Sunday, Heavenly Ski Resort will mark the event with a torchlight parade, a fireworks extravaganza and an apr?s party with live music as well as drink and appetizer specials.

The Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation has fostered world-class athletes, including three U.S. Ski Team members and potential Olympians -- Jonna Mendes, Wisi Betschart and Chris Hernandez.

Heavenly's Olympic Torch festivities will blast-off at about 5:20 pm with a torchlight parade beginning at the top of Heavenly's East Bowl, the site of 17 World Cup ski events. The parade will then "snake" down more than 1,700 vertical feet of terrain ending at the bottom of World Cup run.

As the torchlight parade makes its way down the mountain, the Olympic torch will be making its way up Ski Run Boulevard. The torch is scheduled to arrive at the California Base area at 5:36.

Long-time Heavenly skier and South Shore resident Martin Hollay will ski the torch across the base area from World Cup Run to the stairs at the base of Gunbarrel Express where the torch will be passed to the next runner.

The fireworks extravaganza is scheduled to coincide with the hand-off from Hollay to the next torchbearer. The apr?s party will follow inside the California Bar with live music.

Of course, there's a lot more Olympic events coinciding with the arrival of the torch, so keep your eyes on the Nevada Appeal reports.

DEALS AND DEALS

Lots of specials around the lake. Boreal is offering $10 lift tickets on Fridays for college students. You'll need an ID. And Boreal is hosting a Slopestyle and Halfpipe event Saturday and Sunday.

Northstar-at-Tahoe is holding a telemark clinic on Friday and a Sick & Twisted Slopestyle competition on Sunday.

Diamond Peak offers live music at the Loft Bar on Friday, Clown Days Saturday and local singer Darin Talbot at the Loft Bar 2 to 6 p.m.

COMPETITION RESULTS

We're not getting a lot of international ski events at local resorts, but the one at Squaw last Saturday features some real winners.

At Jeep King of the Mountain downhill event at Squaw Valley Saturday on a course beginning at the top of KT-22 down the 1960 Olympic Course, it was a fast, challenging and exciting race on rock-hard ice.

Daniel Mahrer of Team Switzerland had a blistering first run, breaking the :54 barrier with a time of 53.60. Mahrer was over a full second ahead of defending series champion Kyle Rasmussen heading into the second run.

Rasmussen, the hometown favorite, could not hold on to beat Mahrer and finished third. Mahrer skied well in training all week and he was able to put two solid runs together. "I knew after the first run I had a good chance of winning. It feels really good. I'm looking forward to the finals in Beaver Creek," said Mahrer.

Pietro Vitalini of Team Italy finished second, his best finish in three years on the Tour. Vitalini's performance led his team to victory in the Liberty Cup competition.

As Liberty Cup Champions, Team Italy pocketed $20,000 in prize money and the first place finish puts them in contention for the Overall Team Championship to be awarded at the finals in Beaver Creek, Colo., and the chance to win two new Jeep Libertys.

Individual results: First, Daniel Mahrer, Swiss, $10,000; second, Pietro Vitalini, Italy, $7,000; third, Kyle Rasmussen, U.S., $5,000; fourth, Alberto Senigagliesi, Italy, $4,000; fifth, Tommy Moe, U.S., $3,000; sixth, Jean-Luc Cretier, France, $2,000; seventh, Roman Torn, Canada, $1,000; eighth, Rob Boyd, Canada.

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