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Early season skiing has its good and bad

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

While the snow was far from early seaon best, the holiday weekend was a good and bad time to demo skis.

The skis were the hot Atomic Medtron series, M2tron 9 at 171 cm. IN contrast to the Rossignol Bandit XX at 160, which felt a little shot, the 171s seemed to be just right.

That is, when you consider the conditions. At Heavenly it was blue ice, which didn’t seem to bother the 17,000 guests who reportedly hit the slopes in one day.

At Diamond Peak it was much of the same, frozen snow with a thin layer of new snow on top. But the Atomics had been well prepared by the techs at The Sporting Rage on South Carson. It had been a toss-up between the 9s and the 11s, but being a lazy skier we opted for the 9s. The techies reevaluated the DIN rating after the last demo when the old rating of 6.5 was cut to 5.5 and happily it was back to the 6.5 – littlte worse than popping out of bindings set too low.

The blue runs from the Lakeview lift were not crowded so it was time to put some pressure on these skis, and they did just fine. Yes, it was like getting foot massage from the frozen snow, but the 171 length seemed to handle the ice just fine.

Then the big quad chair to the top beckoned and we hopped on board. Not sure it was a wise move as the ice was solid at the top. Again, the skis were better than the skier, who was in a survival mode most of the way down.

So it was a good day for bad conditons for a demo ski, but a bad day for trying new skis in packed powder or plain powder. So next weekend, with the help of the folks at the Sporting Rage, we’ll give them, with luck, a run or two on softer stuff.

GOOD FOR GUESTS

If you’ve got guests coming up for skiing, the Carson Valley Inn in Minden offers five great Winter Packages – including two value-priced Ski Getaways – through March 31.

The Ski Inn-Vite provides two nights’ hotel accommodations and one Kirkwood lift ticket per person for $95 per person, double occupancy, for Sunday through Thursday arrivals and $109 per person for Friday and Saturday arrivals.

The Nevada Getaway includes two nights’ mid-week accommodations plus dinner certificates ($15 each) for two, all for $59 per person, double occupancy (Sunday through Thursday arrivals only).

Call (800) 321-6983 or 783-6629.

BIG HIT AT SIERRA

Volcom’s Peanut Butter and Rail Jam will spend the third stop of its 13-resort tour at Sierra-at-Tahoe Saturday, allowing Lake Tahoe’s pro and amateur athletes to showcase their jibbing skills.

The competition is open to snowboarders of all ages and it is free. The contest will be jam format so each competitor can take as many runs as time allows and judges will be looking for the best tricks. A lift ticket or season pass is required. The competition will be divided into four categories: 15 and under, 16 and over, women and open class.

Registration will be held in the Volcom tent in the base area from 8-9 a.m., followed by a practice session from 9:30-9:50 a.m. and a rider’s meeting. The competition will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Awards will be held immediately following the contest. Prizes include trophies, snowboards, snowskates, skateboards, shoes, clothing and cash prizes for the open class.

To keep athletes’ energy levels high, Sierra will provide complimentary peanut butter and jam sandwiches, chips and sodas to all of the competitors. Call (530) 659-7453 or see http://www.SierraAtTahoe.com.

NORTHSTAR IN HIGH GEAR

Northstar-at-Tahoe is pleased to announce that the first four new retail stores and the 9,000 square foot ice skating rink are now open for business in the new Village. Combined with overnight ski check, a grab n’ go coffee stand, Timbercreek restaurant and much more, Northstar’s new Village is coming to life.

The new 9,000-square-foot ice skating rink is free and open to the public with a $5 charge and credit card deposit for skate rental. Guests can take a spin on the new rink from noon until 8 p.m.

Northstar-at-Tahoe announced that Andy Finch has signed a sponsorship agreement with the resort for the 2005/06 winter season. Finch, a resident of Truckee, has won many prestigious halfpipe titles over the past few years and hopes that his winning record will land him a spot on the U.S. Olympic Snowboard Team and an invite to the Winter Games in Torino, Italy this February.

NORTHSTAR BENEFIT

Ski and snowboard for a cause at Northstar-at-Tahoe’s SkiB for Education Day Sunday. Discounted lift tickets are $20 and can be purchased at all Porter’s Ski and Sports stores located in Truckee, Tahoe City and Incline Village. All ticket proceeds will go directly to the Excellence in Education Foundation with a resort goal to raise $20,000.

Northstar is offering discounted lift tickets to all local Tahoe, Truckee and Incline Village teachers every Sunday throughout the ski season for just $25. The discounted lift ticket will also be available to local teachers Feb. 20-24.