On the Slopes with Sam Bauman: Olympics right around the corner with locals taking part | NevadaAppeal.com

On the Slopes with Sam Bauman: Olympics right around the corner with locals taking part

Sam Bauman
For the Nevada Appeal
Rusty Crook and Linda Good, foreground, gather with a class of 40 on a gloomy day of whiteout at Mt. Rose base. The class went out to learn how to ski "braille."

Yep, the Winter Olympics are just days away and Tahoe will be well represented in Whistler, even with all those accidents of recent outings. Here are some of those taking part who you may want to keep an eye on:

Hannah Teter – the reigning Women’s Halfpipe gold medalist from Torino, Italy.

Elena Hight – recovering from injuries sustained last winter, Elena is on the U.S. Women’s Snowboarding Halfpipe team and will be traveling to the Games.

Jamie Anderson – widely considered the best female snowboarder in the world, Jamie has won Slopestyle gold at Winter X Games twice and was the youngest Winter X gold medal winner ever in 2007.

Bev Vuilleumier – up-and-coming on the competition circuit, Bev is making her way toward the podium one 720 at a time. Bev rides for Northstar Resort and will compete in Slopestyle.

Daron Rahlves from Sugar Bowl competed in the skiercross at the Winter X Games and took a bad fall, may race but doubtful.

And Shaun White took a fall during practice but is ready to go.

Those who missed out on tickets to see the Alpine ski races for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games can still see the races in person at Whistler Blackcomb.

Whistler Blackcomb is setting up special viewing pods adjacent to several of the runs used for races for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The viewing pods do not require special tickets. You do, however, need to have a lift ticket to reach their locations.

Five special areas have been designated as free zones for watching races on the Upper Dave Murray Downhill trail. The run holds the men’s Olympic competitions: the Downhill Feb. 13, Super Combined Slalom and Downhill Feb. 16, Super G Feb. 19, and Giant Slalom Feb. 21.

Four free viewing stations will line Wild Card and Franz’s Run. Those two runs are the venues for the Women’s Downhill Feb. 17, Super Combined Slalom and Downhill Feb. 14, and Super G Feb. 20. The Paralympic Alpine ski events in March will take place on the same combination of runs as the Women’s Olympic races, with four free viewing locations.

Senior Clinics becoming popular

Heavenly has joined Mt. Rose in offering clinics for senior skiers and snowboarders who want to hone their skills, in many cases after starting retirement.

At Mt. Rose the clinic meets at 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Timbers bar for a continental breakfast and tips for the day. Then seniors go out for two-hour clinics with Rusty Crook and Linda Good in charge. The cost is $10 a pop or $100 for the season. Rusty also runs a three-day Silver Seminar once a month. This month the seminar will be the Feb. 9-11. It’s limited to eight people. It includes a free continental breakfast and a 2 hour clinic in the morning with video, then a recap of the video at lunch, and a afternoon clinic on the video info. The cost on this $180.

On a Wednesday, it was a day we were in the clouds for the 40 seniors who turned out. No snow, but the visibility was not good. Rusty took the class out on “how to ski by braille.” “This teaches the students to trust their inside ski and maintain snow contact the whole turn. It’s a very good to ski when you can”t see well,” says Rusty.

Heavenly began offering its senior clinics a couple of weeks ago with limited classes. This week snowboarder instructor David Rittenhouse took out two skiers for a clinic. Cost of the Heavenly clinic is $80 plus discounted senior lift ticket for six hours of instruction.

Rittenhouse said he gave the two from Hawaii, a major workout and “they said they would be back next month.”

Heavenly’s clinic begins at 10 a.m and lasts to 3:45 p.m. There is an instructor to student ratio of 1:4 and the attention and instruction that each senior receives is very high.

Joe Hayes is the instructor for Heavenly’s Senior Clinics. He is a senior himself and is PSIA certified as a level-three ski coach. Hayes says that the clinic he has allows senior skiers to learn how to get the most out of their modern shaped skis in a easy-paced comfortable manner.

With the baby boomers entering retirement and with more leisure time, senior clinics are bound to become popular.

Diamond Peak apres ski event

Here’s an event that has a special charm on the slopes: the Diamond Peak Last Tracks. Take the last chairlift up to the mid-mountain Snowflake Lodge and enjoy wine tasting and appetizers overlooking Lake Tahoe before skiing or snowboarding down a freshly groomed run at sunset. Last Tracks is held on Saturdays starting Feb. 6 through closing. Purchase your Last Tracks ticket at 2:30 p.m. and ski for two hours before the event starts.

Here is the tentative 2010 Last Tracks Wine Tasting schedule:

February 6, 2010— Sebastiani

February 13, 2010— White Hall Lane

February 20, 2010— Rodney Strong

February 27, 2010— Ruffino

March 6, 2010— Folie a Deux

March 13, 2010— Clos du Bois

March 20, 2010— Wente

March 27, 2010— Simi

April 3, 2010— Ironstone

April 10, 2010— New Belguim Brewing

A sample food menu includes: four cold dishes and one hot dish: a cheese platter, vegetable platter, fresh fruit porcupine, variety of sliced wraps platter and either meatballs, quiche, fritatta or other speciality.

Participants must ski or snowboard down from the event, must be at least intermediate level and must be 21 to attend wine tasting. Reserve a spot online at http://www.diamondpeak.com. Single event tickets cost $29. You can also purchase a Last Tracks season pass to secure your spot for all 10 events for $200 or purchase a transferable Last Tracks season pass for $288. Private Last Tracks events are available any day during the season except Saturday. All Last Tracks tickets/passes are available for purchase online at http://www.diamondpeak.com or you can call Guest Services at (775) 832-1235.

I’ve done this a couple of times and the view of Lake Tahoe at sunset is worth the cost all along. And the ski down after wine has a special, shall we say, taste?

Snow levels high

January, 2010 will enter the record books atAlpine Meadows Ski Resort as one of the top 10 January months in 40 years for snow accumulation. Alpine Meadows’ base-area snow stake (elevation 6,835 feet) measured 118 inches of snow fall; and the resort’s mid-mountain snow stake (elevation 7,500) topped out at 165 inches, making this month the ninth-largest January accumulation total in 40 years of recorded snowfall data.

Winter to date, Alpine Meadows has received a grand total of 20 feet of snow at its base area; and 28 feet of snow at the mid mountain level.

Donate to the Haiti Earthquake Response Fund

Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe made a $5,000 donation to the Haiti Earthquake Response Fund to aid the victims of the Haiti earthquake. The rounded amount donated represents $10 per Mt. Rose employee on the 09/10 payroll. The Mt. Rose donation was made to OXFAM International.

70 Years at Sugar Bowl

Sugar Bowl celebrated its 70th anniversary last weekend with festivities and special lift ticket rates. Sugar is a grand old resort with fine skiing and riding and a recent new base lodge.

The resort, whose location was chosen in part by Walt Disney, opened in 1939 with California’s first chairlift. Lift tickets cost 25 cents, and those skiing Mount Disney coughed up $2. The resort sprouted 13 lifts over the years, its most recent lift was installed this summer. Many major ski races used to be held here.

The resort cut the ribbon on its new Summit Chair Saturday, The new Backcountry Adventure Center offers professionally-guided powder tours, avalanche safety educational seminars, and guided lake runs from Sugar Bowl to Donner Lake below.

Shades of Europe – an ice bar at Squaw Valley

Squaw Valley USA and Stoli Vodka team up to bring the renowned Ice Bar at High Camp back to Squaw Valley for the second year. Guests can ride the Cable Car to High Camp at 8,200 feet to experience Lake Tahoe’s coldest hot spot.

The Stoli Ice Bar is an outdoor bar made entirely out of ice, serving ice cold beer, barbeque items and specialty winter cocktails. The bar will be open during apres ski hours, weather permitting, for as long as the ice lasts.

The Stoli Ice Bar is Squaw Valley’s newest addition for mountain-top dining, featuring unparalleled views of the Sierra and Lake Tahoe. The bar was designed and built by Squaw Valley’s award-winning culinary team and world champion sculptor Scott Rella of “Fear No Ice.” The Stoli Ice Bar is made of 20,000 pounds of ice, constructed from 64 300-pound ice blocks. The team carved the Ice Bar using chain saws, chisels, Japanese carving saws and nail board grinders. The bar comes complete with two shot luges, a grill and DJs on weekends.

The grand opening of the Stoli Ice Bar kicks off Saturday, Feb. 6 at High Camp. Guests can spend their Saturday night enjoying refreshing drink specials and the smooth sounds of DJ spun jams. The Stoli Ice Bar Opening Party will run from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the top of the Cable Car. Guests can then ski down the lighted trail to the base.

• Contact Sam Bauman at 841-7818 or sambauman@att.net