High-flying action – video included
The evening was ideal for snowboarding enthusiasts with snow everywhere – snow slumping off roof-edges, snow piled by the roadsides, snow melting and creating ubiquitous slush. The atmosphere was electric at the first snowboarding exhibition in downtown Nevada City, Tuesday night.
In the strong white glare of floodlights, a few hundred snowboarding fans braved the harsh weather and supported participants who included students from the Bear River High School and Nevada Union High School snowboarding teams.
There were family members, friends, miscellaneous bystanders, craning their necks above clusters of hooded heads, frowning into the tricky night-light, cheering boisterously – emitting puffs of tepid breath into the freezing air – and clapping aloud as young snowboarders swooped off the back of a white pickup onto a concave of snow.
They then slid down a rail – a smooth table-like rectangle propped on hay – onto a stretch of snow-padded slope. And all the while, foot-stomping hip-hop music played by a live DJ added to the festive ambience.
The event was organized by local event producer Stu Wolfson and Nevada City resident Tina Basich, who is also one of America’s first women snowboarders.
The live snowboard exhibition was preceded and followed by the Nevada City premier of the 2005 Universal Pictures movie about snowboarding, “First Descent” at the Nevada Theatre. The proceeds from the ticket sales will support the snowboarding teams of the Nevada Union High School and the Bear River High School.
“The whole idea started with a parent who wanted to do a fundraiser for the snowboarding team at Nevada Union. Her kids were in the team,” Basich said. “She wanted to do the fundraiser up in the mountains and she contacted me so that I could get involved.”
It was Basich’s idea to have the event right in the middle of downtown Nevada City. As she is a part of the movie “First Descent,” she came up with the plan of doing a movie premier fundraiser.
“It’s a wonderful event,” said Conley Weaver, mayor of Nevada City. “Snowboarding is becoming a very popular national sport. And it’s nice to bring some people to town and give a show on what snowboarding is all about.”
The money raised from the movie will help the Bear River High School snowboarding team do more on-hill practicing, Coach Tom Kelley said.
“Snowboarding entails a lot of traveling,” he added. “That would be the biggest need (for funds). We have to go to and from the mountains. When it comes to state events, you’re talking about lodging. Some equipment is also needed.”
The exhibition on Tuesday night showcased the sport rather than just being another competition.
“We race in the alpine disciplines, slalom and giant slalom,” Kelley said. “But what we are doing tonight at the exhibition has to do more with the freestyle aspects of snowboarding. So basically what that does is it gives snowboarders who are better in the freestyle a chance to showcase their talents.”
Aaron Serrano, a junior at Bear River, was one of the participants at the event. A snowboarder for the last six years, he practiced seven hours, four days a week, for the event.
“I think it is great that we can have a local event here without having to go up to the mountains,” he said. “I guess it shows the public what we do with the rails and jumps and stuff.”
“It’s great to see them do it,” said Nevada City resident Bren Smith, who was at the event with his family. “It is obviously a little-bit limited by what they can do; they don’t have a full-fledged slope, but it’s great they are doing it.
“We wanted to come and support Nevada Union and Tina. It’s a great thing she is doing here.”
Colin Casey, 16, an excited spectator, had about six friends in the participating team from Nevada Union.
“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “They are throwing some pretty mad tricks. It’s cool.”
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