Kirkwood to become ‘Title’ town | NevadaAppeal.com

Kirkwood to become ‘Title’ town

Sam Bauman column

If you want a chance to meet one of the legends of the NFL try and wrangle an invitation to the opening of Bub’s Sports Bar & Grill at Kirkwood Mountain Resort Saturday afternoon.

On hand will be Y.A. Title, all-pro, most valuable player with the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants in the 1950s and ’60s. One of the most famous sports photos of the 20th century was of Title on his knees in a muddy end zone, helmet off, the ultimate personification of defeat.

But don’t bring your ice skates — still too much snow. So much, in fact, that Kirkwood has given up on opening the ice rink this season. It’s buried under several feet of snow, so much so that the equipment being used to finish the rink is also buried. Plan is to “groom” the area and forget it all for now.

LOCAL OLYMPIC HISTORY

We all remember the 1960 Olympics were held at Squaw Valley. What few remember is that the Nordic events were held about 17 miles down the road from Squaw at Tahoma, Calif. on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore.

After the ’60 Winter Games, the Olympic Nordic trails were abandoned, Mother Nature took over and the facility faded into oblivion.

Until a few years ago that is, when the idea of restoring the trails was conceived. In 1999, after uncovering a portion of the trails in his Tahoma backyard, retired engineer and local resident David Antonucci began spearheading the effort to restore the Olympic trails and create a year-round public recreation facility in this area. Today, approximately 15 percent or 10 kilometers of the 65-kilometer trails are accessible. The remainder of the trails is expected to be completed by 2005.

To help reinvigorate the community’s interest in the trails and to celebrate some historical Olympic firsts, the Olympic Trails Organizing Committee, along with the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and the West Shore Association, is hosting Olympic Trails History Days.

The two-day event, set for Jan. 17-18 at Sugar Pine Point and Granlibakken Resort, on the West Shore, will feature a reunion of the 1960 Winter Olympic Nordic athletes and officials, a rededication ceremony, Nordic film highlights from the 1960 Games, as well as organized ski tours of the once-hidden cross country tracks.

The 1960 Olympic Nordic Trails are rolling, single lane parallel Nordic tracks that stretch from the area that is now Sugar Pine Point State Park to Homewood Mountain Resort.

The trails, on both private and public land, are considered to be the first cross country ski area in the United States, and were designed by former U.S. Olympian Wendall “Chummy” Broomhall and Dartmouth ski team coach Allison Merrill. Here the first-ever biathlon competition, a 20-kilometer ski-and-shoot race course looping through the terrain of Tahoma and Homewood, California, was held.

The Olympic Trails Organizing Committee is a volunteer organization devoted to the restoration of the cross country ski trails of the 1960 Olympics. For details, click to http://www.olympictrails.org. To donate funds, Olympic artifacts and memorabilia, please contact Dave Antonucci at (530) 525-5410 or by email at dcantonucci@msn.com.

Bet you didn’t know that Tahoma was the site of the first biathlon. I didn’t.

HOLIDAY SNOWSPORTS

Almost all of the Tahoe ski/mountain resorts will be holding holiday parties for the next two weeks. Perhaps most ambitious will be Squaw Creek with all kinds of events, including U.S. Berkely’s marching band, dances for adults and teens at the Resort at Squaw Creek, Santa skiing and snowboarding, classes for kids to create Christmas tree ornaments — and more. Check your favorite resort for details, too many to list here.

KIDS’ PROGRAMS

A reader suggested that we take a look at kids’s ski and snowboard programs around the area, which seems like a good idea. Perhaps among the best is Bee Ferrato’s Diamond Peak operation. We’ll be visiting Bee as soon as we get by the holiday season.

OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS

We try to join Rusty Crook at Mt. Rose on Fridays when he holds his free two-hour class for seniors (free coffee and snack included). In early season classes Rusty came up with a couple of exercises worth sharing.

The first is “the silken wedge.” Most advanced skiers rarely use the wedge after progressing to parallel skiing. But the maneuver is the basis of most advanced skiing. Rusty worked on getting the body inside the turn to get the weight on the correct ski and flatten the other ski. Surprisingly, it doesn’t come easily, despite the fact that most advanced skiers keep the body inside the turn all the time.

Idea is to make the turn as smooth and under control as possible. Try it, you might be surprised.

Another interesting exercise is quite simple. Find a gentle, smooth run. Start letting the skis roll and then alternate with a shoulder back, shoulders squared to the slope and shoulder back the other way, keeping the body waist down calm and the skis parallel.

Surprised when the skis start to make a turn when the shoulders are angled? It’s just physics, the shoulder movement putting more weight on the turning ski.

A similar maneuver is the patience turn. Standing on a slope with the skis parallel across the slope, one naturally edges the skis to stay in position. But if you flatten those skis and remain still, lo! The skis start to turn by themselves downhill.

And if you want to check your balance skills, find a gentle, not busy slope and traverse the hill slowly with your eyes closed. You’ll suddenly find with the eyes closed that it’s much harder to maintain your balance. Of course, do this with friends standing by to make sure you stop in time.

And of course, you always ski with both hands at front at all times. It’s the right posture and it helps avoid the dreaded ACL.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.