Old dog has trouble with usual tricks | NevadaAppeal.com

Old dog has trouble with usual tricks

Sam Bauman

We’re getting there with yesterday’s dump. No resort is 100 percent open yet, but there’s plenty of show for skiing or riding.

Alpine Meadows is about 25 percent open, for instance, Heavenly about 30 percent. Squaw Valley is 50 percent open, 15 of 34 lifts, and Sugar Bowl is 45 percent open. All this will change this morning as latest results are tallied. In Nevada, Diamond Peak is 50 percent open, Mt. Rose is 25 percent open, 4 of 8 lifts.

That’s the picture around the Sierra for snowsporters. It’s a lot prettier than it was a week ago and on the horizon is more snow. It’s been a slow start to the season, but last weekend at Heavenly the snow was pretty much all right, with access via Gondola for Nevada runs and Cal Base for the California side.

I had to pick up a ski boot at the Heavenly ski store (for a blown out ankle to accommodate a cyst) and took Gunbarrel to the crossover to the Canyon quad. There’s a short steep pitch just before Canyon and Sky chairs that I have taken a thousand times without a hitch. But Saturday it was a disaster – not the pitch, but me. First I lost control and hit a young lady. Had a terrible time getting up, and then was blindsided and sent flying by another skier. Then two more falls just getting off the pitch.

Then over to the Ridge trail, another old friend which suddenly turned enemy. Two more falls for no discernible reason. That adds up to six falls on just about two runs. That’s more falls than I usually suffer in a season. Something definitely wrong. Just had the third knee injection to stave off a new knee until the end of the season ($500 per shot), but the knee seemed OK. But I had a tough time getting up – this from a one-time ski instructor who used to demonstrate rising from a fall for students.

Most baffling. I have kept up my regular one-hour morning workout doing light weights, Swiss ball, standing push-ups, etc. But I was glad to ride the Gunbarrel chair down, passing up what will probably be the only time this season the Gunbarrel of The Face won’t be bumped beyond my knee’s capacity.

Recommended Stories For You

With several off days ahead, I’ll try to see what the problem is, with the help of Rusty Crook, Mt. Rose’s veteran instructor. He holds a senior clinic Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Rose (starts Jan.. 7) at 10 a.m., free. Rose even tosses in a continental breakfast.

MAMMOTH’S NEW CHAIR

The area will hold a Grand Opening event to celebrate the debut of Cloud Nine Express today. Cloud Nine is a brand-new, high-speed six-pack chairlift that has replaced Mammoth’s legendary Chair 9, an old double-chair. The $6.5 million project was completed in the fall of 2007. The opening takes place at 11a.m. at the base of the chairlift.

The new Doppelmayr lift will whisk skiers from the Eagle Lodge side of the mountain to 10,371 feet near Dragon’s Back in just over six minutes, providing access to hundreds of acres of intermediate and advanced terrain and cutting the ride time in half. Originally installed in 1969, the fixed-grip two-seat chair is famed for deep powder and runs like Dragon’s Back and Ricochet on the eastern slopes of Mammoth Mountain. The new lift will provide quick and efficient service while being able to operate under more acute weather conditions and giving more skiers the opportunity to enjoy some of the best terrain Mammoth has to offer.

Winds can be strong as weather blows in over Mammoth’s east side. The heavier six-passenger lift has been installed instead of a quad lift to allow it to operate in higher winds.

RIM TRAIL OUTING

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association begins its Winter Trails snowshoeing programs Saturday, Jan. 12. The program will be at Tahoe Meadows on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe starting at 10 a.m. and going until 2 p.m. No fee here. Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol will provide a winter safety talk and demonstration. A four-mile trek through the Lodgepole pine forest at Tahoe Meadows and then out to a vista overlooking Lake Tahoe is part of the trek. See http://www.tahoerimtrail.org or contact at 298-0231 or lexiso@tahoerimtrail.org .

JEEP KING OF THE MOUNTAIN

This annual event started at Telluride included athletes from 11 nations, competing for a share of the season-long cash pay out topping $250,000.

Truckee’s Daron Rahlves finished second and Squaw Valley’s Errol Kerr finished sixth in the men’s competition, with Anik Demers Wild of Truckee finishing fourth in the women’s competition. Extreme sport legend Shaun Palmer of South Lake Tahoe and Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis of Stratton Mountain, Vt., captured the men’s and women’s titles.

Yesterday’s winners in the ski cross competition were Lars Lewen of Sweden and Ophelie David of France. Coverage of the action from Telluride will be televised Dec. 29, 2007 and January 12 on CBS. The next stop of the Jeep King of the Mountain will be Feb. 8-10 in Squaw Valley.

“STEEP” PREMIERE

“Steep,” a Peter Jennings Production about the thrills and challenges of big mountain skiing, premieres tonight at the Heavenly Village Cinemas; contact theater for times. “Steep” features the biggest names in big mountain skiing including Heavenly’s own Glen Plake.

• Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or Sbauman@nevadaappeal.com.