Plenty of snow " and plenty of people on the slopes
BY SAM BAUMAN
The snow has finally arrived in depth enough to allow all the mountain resorts to spin the bull wheels and open almost all the trails. Of course, this is the holiday weekend and that means lots of skiers and boarders on the slopes. Which means in turn that there’s going to be danger out there as crowds pack the mountains. Most snowsport injuries involve collision between people, although collisions with trees get the most coverage (re: Sonny Bono at Heavenly).
There’s no foolproof way of avoiding injury during crowded conditions, but slower speeds and careful monitoring of the crowd can help, as well as following the standard safety rules of the slopes, such as not starting to move until you’ve checked above for downhilling sports.
One thing that adds to the problem is the high-speed, detachable lifts. It’s easy to put twice as many people on a hill now as in the old fixed-lift days, and not many resorts have added trails to reduce congestion, with Heavenly and Northstar both adding terrain of late.
Right now it’s not a question if a resort is open; it’s how much it’s open. This changes almost hourly so your best bet it is go to the Web and check the latest report.
MORE ON SKI WAXING
I’ve written about waxing before, pointing out that it’s not only to make the skis glide faster, but also to make them easier to turn, something to treasure on crowded hills. If doing it yourself is too much of a chore, then take the skis to a pro shop, such as the Sporting Rage on South Carson Street. I’ve had my skis tuned up there for years and they do a fine job for between $25-35, depending how much needs to be done. Depending on flow, there’s usually a two- to three-day turnaround time.
“We sell wax in small and large amounts, enough to last a season,” said Dave Godwin at the shop. “I personally wax every time I go up, but many skiers wax just once a year. Not good for the skis.”
Godwin said the shop doesn’t do snowboards but is having a special sale on outdoor sporting clothing.
Sporting Rage has been around for several years and until recently had little competition until the new shop CV Sports opened on Topsy Drive. Play It Again Sports, also on Topsy Drive, offers tuneups for a flat $25, with a one- to two-day turnaround.
Do it yourself or get it done, but do it. Skiing can be a lot more fun with well-tuned skis.
MORE VIDEO ON SKIING
Dug into my own VHS tapes about skiing and came across one featuring Picaboo Street, A.J. Kitt and Holly Flanders, all big names back when this was made in 1994. This is aimed at beginners and I couldn’t recommend it more highly to someone planning to start skiing. Of course, these three are top of the line and they make it all look so easy,
Despite the fact that they are all on old straight skis, their techniques are modern, although they do often lift the uphill ski in demos. That was the old style, but viewing this tape isn’t going to make for bad habits. One lesson with a Professional Ski Instructor of America will clear up any questions. No, not many people watch VHS tapes these days. Check second-hand stores for old VHS tapes.
I’ve checked the Web for skiing DVDs and yes, there are some out there, but when I tried to check them out they all asked for too much personal information for me, so I passed. Just Google ski lessons DVDs for a list.
Downtown Carson City on Ice is a very good idea and all the sponsors should be happy with what they have achieved. On an average day some 200 skaters take to the ice in a counterclockwise spin, parents guiding little ones gingerly, teens laughing it up.
Rink manager Tara Burke says she hopes to keep the ice solid through February, although after that it depends on the weather.
The outdoor rink is opposite the Carson Nugget on Carson Street on Arlington Square. Hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Fees are $7 general admission, $6 for those 13 and up and $5 for those 3 to 12. Skate rentals are $2 for hockey or figure skates; if you have your own they are OK. Skate sizes range from kids size 7 to adult size 16.
Each Monday “Cheap Skate” deals will be posted at the rink. Call (775) 291-9446. Private parties can be booked by phone or by just showing up.
When we visited on Christmas Eve, there was a happy crowd twirling round and round.
Time for us to dig out our old figure skates and see if we can still do a spread eagle.
Sugar Bowl has six quads rolling with two terrain parks. Alpine Meadows reports just one lift running, but that is sure to change by today. Boreal up on I-80 has one lift running in the day, one at night. Kirkwood is 100 percent open with 10 feet of snow. As usual, Wood gets more snow than any resort, thanks to its unique weather position. Sugar Bowl is running nine lifts serving 84 trails up there at Norder off I-80.
Olympic site Squaw Valley has 22 lifts in action serving 115 runs. The Funetel lift is probably the fastest. Homewood opened Wednesday with ski schools welcoming students at the little resort that many pass up en route to Squaw. Too bad, Homewood has some of the best views of Lake Tahoe from the slopes.