Here's what's happening in ski area

It might be wise not to head for the hills this weekend as it is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

That means skiers with double-ended skis will be flipping through the air, snowboarders will be riding trails like they were halfpipes and there will be an army from the Bay Area bringing lift lines. Not as bad as those lines at Colorado resorts where 15- to 30 minute waits are common.

Me, I'm nursing a sore shoulder from a fall at Kirkwood last Saturday. Very embarrassing as it was on a simple blue trail and I just went down like I was diving for pearls.

Upshot of it was that the left shoulder is bruised and painful. Dr. Michael Edmunds, who did the arthroscopic job on my right knee, checked the knee and pronounced it healed. The shoulder will have to wait to see what develops.

But the fall puzzled me until I discussed it with Edmunds. I was wearing my new brace -- mid-thigh to mid-calf -- and he suggested that the brace might have worked to realign my leg, thus counteracting the cants or shims under my bindings. This would tend to put me on my right outside edge, an asymmetrical condition which would easily create an edge-catching situation. The answer: put the brace away until time for hiking when the alignment won't be as critical.

What's happening

------ Diamond Peak Ski Resort is offering some good deals these days:

College Special -- After 12:30 p.m. college students can ski at Diamond Peak for only $15. Just bring a valid college ID to any ticket window. This offer is good Monday-Friday during any non-holiday period.

$25 Lift Ticket -- Present any valid season pass from an another mountain and receive an all day adult lift ticket for $25. This offer is good anytime of the season.

$48 Beginner Package -- First-timers can come to Diamond Peak and receive a 1:45 minute lesson, rentals and a limited lift ticket all for $48. This offer is valid anytime of the year.

Twilight Pass -- Purchase Diamond Peak's Twilight pass and ski after 2:30 p.m. for only $17. This is valid any day of the season.

Mini Pass -- Diamond Peak Ski Resort will be offering a great deal for those who only plan to ride a few times this winter. The new program is called the Mini Pass. The Mini Pass is an electronic card that holds multiple day passes on it. You can purchase the Mini Pass in increments of 2 passes for $72 ($10 savings), 3 for $99 ($24 savings), 5 for $150 ($55 savings) or 7 for $189 ($98 savings). The Mini Pass has no holiday or weekend restrictions and can be purchased at any Ticket Window at the resort. However, only one ticket can be redeemed per day.

Call 775-832-1177 or visit diamondpeak.com.

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With new terrain park manager Day Franzen on board, three terrain parks now open and a huge Superpipe soon to come, Heavenly Ski Resort is "ramping up the region's jib-factor" -- elevating terrain park riding to an all-time high.

Franzen heads the resort's terrain park improvement team along with Tom Richards and Brandon Dodds.

"The layout of the mountain is perfect," says Franzen. "Tom, Brandon and myself are here to take Heavenly to the next level and introduce park riders to innovative, new features -- some will be easy, while others will amaze even the most avid 'jibbers'!"

Franzen has worked in the industry for the past seven years, including Mammoth Mountain, Calif., a resort highly recognized for its parks and pipes. While he was there, the resort's terrain park was ranked second in the country in a reader's poll conducted by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine in 2002.

Last season, Franzen was also awarded first place for his expertise in rail building at the "Cutters Cup", an industry-wide competition among terrain builders held in Breckenridge, Colo. He has recently designed the country's first tri-level fun-box stretching more than 30 feet long on Heavenly's Yahoo run on the California side.

The park crew has already built three terrain parks on the mountain. "Jibbers" just entering the world of park riding will find a smaller terrain park on Groove run on the California side of the mountain. The resort offers two larger, more advanced parks located on Yahoo in upper California and Soldier Park on Olympic run on the Nevada side. Also, with the new superpipe dragon joining the mountain's elite grooming force this season, the resort will add a 400-foot long Superpipe to its park-riding menu soon.

"Terrain parks are one of those things if you build it and build it well, riders will come from all over the region. Our goal is to offer machine-made features that rival any other resort in the country," says Blaise Carrig, Heavenly's chief operating officer.

According to Transworld Snowboarding Magazine, twin-tip sales -- skis designed specifically for terrain park riding -- increased 21.4 percent in 2002, while snowboarding sales soared to $187.7 million last year, a 7 percent increase from the previous year.

Call (775) 586-7000, ext. 6206.

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At Homewood Mountain Resort children 10 and under ski free every day with paid adult. Learn-to-Ski Adult package includes: surface lift ticket, equipment and 90-minute lesson for $55.

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Free Lessons for advanced skiers at Mt. Rose Ski-Tahoe and free lessons for intermediates and above at Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe.

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Get $10 off your Heavenly ticket by purchasing it at Albertson's Grocery Stores in Northern California. These are unrestricted tickets you can use any day!

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Squaw Valley USA's Founder and Chairman Alex Cushing will

be recognized this month for his continued support of The Heuga Center during the 'CAN DO' Winemaker Dinner taking place at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Cushing will be presented with the 'CAN DO' Award, honoring him for the dedication and support he and the Squaw Valley Ski Corp. have provided to the mission of The Heuga Center.

On Thanksgiving Day 1949 Squaw Valley opened to the public. The resort's modest beginning included a small lodge, a rope tow, and just one chairlift.

Over the subsequent 50 years, Cushing's vision and determination have made Squaw Valley one of the country's premier ski resorts. This award acknowledges him for having the courage to host the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.

Each year Cushing and Squaw Valley host two major fund-raising events to help raise money for the Foundation. The on-snow team competitions of the Snow Express for MS and the Alpen Wine Fest's fall wine and social gathering have both become popular fund-raising efforts. This season's Snow Express is scheduled for March 1-2 with the Alpen Wine Fest following this summer on Aug. 31.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.

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