Plenty of events at local ski resorts

In case you missed it, last Sunday was the unofficial opening of the spring ski and snowboard season.

It was a typical spring day, bright sun, warm temperatures and a modest crowd. The snow was excellent, a little bit of powder, yes, ice underneath but that's spring for you. Officially spring doesn't start for a couple of weeks, but that's by a calendar. Last Sunday was the true start of spring.

On Friday Mount Rose was fine, although a bit cloudy. Saturday Heavenly lived up to its name amid all the Big Chill celebrations, which continue this weekend.

Saturday it's the Aerial Assault on World Cup at 1 p.m. This is a demonstration by pros of simultaneous inverted aerial maneuvers on skis and snowboard. Those taking part include Olympic Gold medalist Eric Bergoust and Silver Medal winner Nick Fontaine. Showtime is at noon, 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with a special evening performance at 7 p.m. Saturday. A fireworks show will follow the Saturday evening performance and a 6:45 p.m. torchlight parade on World Cup.

Sunday is a Rail Slide exhibition on World Cup at 2 p.m. This will be led by Jimmy Halopoff, X-Games gold medal winner. Other pros will assist. Details, (775) 586-7000.

Other events:

-- Alpine Meadows will host the 2003 U.S. Freestyle qualifiers March 14-16. U.S. Ski Association is the sanctioning body. Expected are more than 50 men and women seeking a spot in the 2003 U.S. Freestyle National Championships the following week at Snowbowl Resort, Missoula, Mont.

The event will be held on Lookout Mountain serviced by the Lakeview chair. Schedule is Friday women's moguls, Saturday men's moguls and Sunday men's and women's dual mogals. Call (530) 581-8321.

-- Alpine is also hosting a week-long benefit for the Tahoe Adaptive Ski School March 19-23. Two events are on the schedule, Hospitality Games and Corporate Ski Challenge. Both will be taking place at various times during the week on different runs. Apres ski parties will be held at the Alpine Meadows lodge and include wines from 20 vintners plus a silent auction. Big night is March 22 for the grand party. Alpine has long been a leader in adaptive ski programs and this will be its 37th year of giving the handicapped a chance to enjoy the mountains. Call (530) 581-8328.

-- Last Saturday and Sunday, 20 teams of three took to the slopes of Squaw Valley for some fun and fund-raising during the 17th annual Snow Express for MS. In total, the two-day event raised $77,000 to benefit the Jimmie Heuga Center with local teams winning the overall and individual events.

In order to participate, teams were required to gather a team of three and raise a minimum of $1,000 for the Jimmy Heuga Center. Teams then came to Squaw Valley to compete in a dual slalom race and an all-mountain "poker run" competition. This year's winner of the Mountain Challenge was Team Zuzi from the Squaw Valley team of T.J. Kelly, Joshua Hitchcock, and Darien Boyle, which raised $6,680. The winners of the dual GS race were first-time participants from the Resort at Squaw Creek Team Reiz Go with members Greg Reizlaff, Mike Fenton, and Gavin Deane.

This year's first place team overall, winning for the third year in a row, was Team Fermented from Truckee of Jonathon Hurt, K.C. Denham, and Marc Baldwin. They truly stepped up to the fund-raising plate and raised $25,194 for the center with the second and third place teams each contributing over $10,000 each. The Fermented team will represent Squaw Valley at the International Snow Express Finals in Vail, Colo., April 9-11.E

-- Dummies are once again taking over the slopes at Diamond Peak Sunday March 23rd with the third Annual Dummy Downhill.

Each year participants construct a skiing or snowboarding dummy that will be let loose at the top of Lower Showoff and will fly off a monstrous snow jump at the end of the run.

Prizes will be awarded to the most creative dummy as well as the dummy that jumps the highest. Those who enter a dummy will be rewarded by receiving a $10 lift ticket to be used for the day. Each year's participation has grown with last year's participation at about 30 dummies and almost 400 spectators.

The Dummy Downhill is open to the public and there are no registration fees. Dummies need to be registered on the morning of the event from 10-11 a.m. at the Resort's Base Lodge. The race will begin at noon.EE

Each dummy will be limited to the creativeness of the creator. There are no restrictions to material used as long as the dummy does not weigh more than 35 pounds or has sharp or pointed objects. For event information contact the resort by calling (775) 832-1177 or visit the web site www.diamondpeak.com.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.

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