While spring skiing and riding is the best time of year, both are still categorized as "risky" sports legally.
If you doubt that, ask a veteran of 50 years skiing and instructing, Rusty Crook of Mt. Rose. Recently he was taken out by a 45-year-old skier (not snowboarder, as first reported) and wound up with a punctured lung and badly bruised ribs and is done for the season. A couple of years ago Rusty (who teaches a fine seniors clinic at Rose) had both knee joints replaced and within months was skiing. Report he is resting uncomfortably.
With the warm days and bright sun it's tempting to shed the crash helmet for a ball cap as I almost did recently. But I had second thoughts and donned the old chrome dome. Happily, no crashes, but I was glad I did. I even added my homemade sun visor cut from a baseballl cap with Velcro to make it more comfy.
So, safety still rules, although last Saturday morning when I was skiing on Heavenly's Big Dipper run I had the whole hill to myself for several minutes. On Friday at Mt. Rose, I was also alone on the hill at the top of Northwest Passage lift. As soon as I pointed the boards downhill I found out why. The winds were so strong that they pushed me uphill and I had to pole hard to battle my way to the Kit Carson Bowl. There the wind was easier to beat.
It's a good idea in these wonderful spring skiing and boarding days to wax the skis and boards before hitting the slopes. Yes, it makes for more speed, but it also makes turns easier. And the wax also makes the Ptex last longer.
HEAVENLY SPRING LOADED
MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa will host this season's JackPot Rail Jam Finals in cooperation with the SouthShore Soldiers Rail Assault Demo event Saturday at 5 p.m. in the MontBleu parking lot in Stateline.
The Finals will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. and will mark the unveiling of the Mobile Rail Assault vehicle, a triple-feature jib trailer built by On Course Events' Rob Guistina. The JackPot Finals is an invite-only event bringing the top finishers from the previous three JackPot Rail Jam events held on Heavenly's World Cup run earlier this season.
The event will include a tent village, with a Heavenly High Roller Team tent, VonZipper, Bern, Stepchild, Omatic and Skullcandy items. There will also be a beer garden for those over 21. Cash will be awarded to the best-of-the-best in an awards ceremony following the event; also, one lucky competitor will be chosen to receive a one-year contract with Soldiers brand clothing. Heavenly High Roller Team manager Aimi X. will also announce an addition to the High Roller Team.
"The JackPot Finals are a big deal for Tahoe's local competitors," said Heavenly terrain park manager Michael Thomas. "The SouthShore Soldiers are doing it up right by bringing in this awesome feature, tons of sponsors and the beer garden."
Highlighting the event is the unveiling of the Mobile Rail Assault ride, the 30-foot triple-feature jib trailer that has a 30-foot down rail in the center, seven-foot gaps on both sides of the rail with a down-flat-down box on one side and a double-ledge box on the other. The ride will be covered in snow harvested at Heavenly, some 100 cubic yards of snow.
The trailer will be driven to MontBleu this evening where the crew will begin shoveling the snow. Guistina anticipates the set-up of the feature and the snow will take about three hours.
Four judges will be present at the event, including two skiers, two snowboarders and a head judge. They will be judging on overall impression and looking for creativity of tricks, style and use of the feature, consistency, execution, difficulty and solid landings. The event will feature DJ Kronic on the turntables .
The affair will continue at 8 p.m. with a snowskate demonstration led by Rahlston Snowskates, a huge drawing of sponsors gear and the JackPot awards ceremony. Immediately following the awards will be the Soldiers Rail Assault Demo held from 8:30 until 10 p.m., featuring pro athletes, the SouthShore Soldiers Team and the Heavenly Terrain Park Crew, including Nick "Pooch" Poohachoff, Sal Rubio, Ben Schmidt, Rich Marlowe, Danny Rein, Jimi Tomer and others.
Also on Saturday Heavenly will be installing new filters to stop dirt in the snow runoff.
Visit www.skiheavenly.com or call (800) HEAVENLY.
ALPINE EXTRA RAD
Alpine Meadows will celebrate an uncommon event of a near-simultaneous moon rise and sunset Saturday evening April 19. The beauty of the High Sierra, surrounding mountain peaks, and view of Lake Tahoe will be unusually spectacular with the addition of the moonrise at 7:28 p.m. and the sunset at 7:43 p.m.
The Moonrise & Sunset Mountaintop Celebration will indeed be a rare event. Season passholders within the Reno-Tahoe-Northern California community have been invited to enjoy the mountain for a year-end toast, a twilight mountain descent, après-ski dinner, and live music.
Gather at the Summit Six Chair at 5:30 p.m., then ride to the top where guests will be greeted by a warming fire, hot cocoa, and marshmallows for toasting. Look to the east for moonrise at 7:28 p.m. and to the west for the sunset at 7:43 p.m., followed by skiing and snowboarding down Alpine Bowl to Red Trail. By now, appetites will be calling for a feast, and a barbecue awaits at the base lodge. A no-host bar will also be open.
ACTION AROUND THE MOUNTAINS
Northstar-at-Tahoe - Celebrate 35 years of Northstar Resort with $35 lift tickets now through the end of April. Children (ages 5-12) and Super Seniors (70 plus) pay only $15. A special $15 tax relief ticket is offered for tax day April 15.
Squaw Valley - Squaw Valley is hosting Peaks & Lagoons, a weekend-long celebration Saturday and Sunday with live hip-hop at the pool, Toyota Sick & Twisted Half Pipe and Rail Jam and snowboard, surf and skate legends making history at the Ultimate Boarder Competition. Projected closing date is May 11.
Boreal Mountain Resort - It's the last week to enjoy Boreal. Closing date is Sunday. Guests can take advantage of Frickin' Friday lift tickets, when college students and active military ski for just $15 with valid ID.
Sugar Bowl - Throughout April, Sugar Bowl offers free lessons and rentals seven days a week with the purchase of an all-day lift ticket (ages 13 to 69 years). Closing date is April 27.
Diamond Peak - Last chance for Last Tracks is Saturday. After a day on the slopes, guests enjoy wine tasting and appetizers before skiing or snowboarding down a freshly groomed slope for their last run of the day. This a great way to wind up a day on the hilll. Projected closing date is Sunday.
Homewood -Closed for the season April 6.
Mt. Rose - Take advantage of Mt. Rose's daily specials, including 2 For Tuesday (two full-day lift tickets for the price of one), Student $29 Wednesdays, Ladies Day Thursdays (full-day tickets are $19 for ladies) and Runs 'n' Roses ($124 family package that includes full-day lift tickets for two adults and two children). Closing date is April 20.
Alpine Meadows - Spring Concert Series celebrates live musical talent and style, along with great skiing and riding Saturday with BLVD's mix of jam and electronica; Saturday, April 19 with Monophonics (soul and funk) and Saturday, April 26 with Absynth, a San Francisco band known for their hypnotic beats. Closing date is May 4.
Sierra-at-Tahoe will uphold its 14-year tradition by hosting "Customer Appreciation Day" on the final day of winter operations for the season, April 21. Skiers and riders of all ages can purchase a lift ticket for $20 and bid farewell to Sierra until the snow flies next season. In support of a grassroots movement that began among Sierra Resort passholders a few years ago, all guests are encouraged to dress as pirates on the final day. Sierra Resort will operate a limited number of lifts from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Last call at the Sierra Pub will be at 2:45 p.m., in time for the cessation of all winter operations at 3 p.m.
• Contact Sam Bauman at Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1236.