Squaw hosting big show | TheUnion.com

Squaw hosting big show

This weekend, Squaw Valley hosts the last leg of the Jeep King of the Mountain ski and snowboard races – one of the few major events to hit the Sierra this season.

Saturday is a qualifier for locals who have a chance to take part. The event starts on Sunday. One of the novel aspects of the race is the Y format, in which two competitors start on separate courses but join in a single track at a Y. This makes for lots of elbowing and adds excitement to the event.

The rosters will again feature talented racers in their sports. They include national and international champions, World Cup titlists and World Championship medalists, seven of whom will have recently returned from competing in the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

The Jeep King of the Mountain Series, which offers the richest cash purse in snow racing, will feature 32 of the world’s top skiers and snowboarders competing head-to-head in this final race of the season to capture the title of World Professional Champion. Also at stake is a share of the record prize payout topping $450,000 plus $20,000 n additional bonuses from John Paul Mitchell Systems. The keys to four new 2006 Jeep Commanders will be presented to the men’s and women’s champions.

Spectating will be easy as the races will be held on a slope facing the base lodge area. This is easily one of the most enjoyable snow events of the season, well worth the drive to Squaw.

A national audience will be able to view the Jeep King of the Mountain Series race from Squaw on March 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. on CBS Sports.

Northstar and Sierra tickets

Sierra’s 3-Pak and Northstar’s Quad Pak are now on sale. These multi-day lift tickets can be used any day of the season, including holidays, and do not need to be used consecutively. Cost for Sierra’s Adult 3-Pak is just $117 meaning guests can ski or snowboard for as low as $39 a day. At Northstar, guests can ski or snowboard for less than $50 a day when they purchase the Quad Ticket Pak. The Quad Pak costs $199 for adults, $169 for young adults and seniors and $49 for children and super seniors. Both Sierra’s 3-Pak and Northstar’s Quad Pak are not transferable.

Northstar-at-Tahoe will wine and dine guests at the resort’s first featured Winemakers Dinner at Timbercreek Restaurant and Bar, Thursday March 9 at 6 p.m. Francis Coppola will be the featured winery of the evening and Timbercreek’s award-winning chefs will pair a variety of the vineyard’s famous wines from the Coppola Family Diamond Collection with dishes created just for the event.

Reservations are required and can be made at (530) 562-2250. Cost is $70 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Vertical Express for MS

The Vertical Express for MS hits the slopes at Squaw Valley USA on March 4-5. The Express, an event for skiers and riders of all abilities, benefits The Heuga Center, a national nonprofit organization and leader in the field of wellness and educational programs for people and families living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The Vertical Express involves teams of three skiers and/or riders who raise a minimum $1,000 to enter. The weekend’s activities include two on-snow events, including a mountain challenge and GS race, a race clinic, great prizes for both performance and fundraising, complimentary lift tickets, food and cocktail parties, and goodie bags. Any team that raises $15,000 or more wins a free trip to Vail, Colo., on April 6-9 for the April Awards celebration. Call (888) DO.IT.4MS.

Visit http://www.heuga.org.


Advanced backcountry skiers and riders can test their limits in the ultimate ski tour of the season at the Marmot Six Summit Peak Pursuit & Backcountry Festival on March 11-12 at Kirkwood. The Pursuit is part of the Mountain Hardwear/Life-Link/Dynafit Ski Mountaineering Rally Race Series, which just this season expanded to seven races and now includes Kirkwood.

On March 11, participants will race up and down the mountain at Kirkwood on some of the best snow and most difficult terrain the Sierra offers as they set out to bag the six peaks that punctuate Kirkwood’s ridgeline.

Each event will feature a race and a recreational division for both men and women. At Kirkwood, the race division competitors trek a 9-mile course, gaining approximately 5,758 feet and descend roughly 5,762 feet; the race takes about 2 hours. The recreational division covers 6 miles, and competitors climb approximately 3,450 feet and descend about 3,461 feet; the race takes about one hour. Racers must ascend by use of climbing skins.

All races will follow the point system with the exception of the Americas Cup in Jackson Hole; the Americas Cup finishers will receive double the points of all the other races. The winner of the Series will then be crowned. If there is a tie, the tie will be broken by the order of finish in the Jackson Hole Race, and the winner of the Americas Cup will be determined by order of finish. This year, more than $10,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded.

To register for the race, review the race courses or seek additional information about the Series visit http://www.life-link.com or call (800)443-8620.

A host of Expedition: Kirkwood programs await those looking to get off the beaten trail, including a one-day Women’s Only Snowboard Clinic sponsored by Burton Snowboards; a one-day Telemark Clinic; a Backcountry Awareness Course; Full Moon Cross Country Ski/Snowshoe Tours; and equipment demos, info booths and more. Call the Expedition Kirkwood Headquarters at (209) 258-7360 or see expedition@kirkwood.com.


Sam Bauman can be contacted at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or (775) 881-1236. Bauman, a Carson City resident, is a former ski instructor at Heavenly Mountain Resort and Bear Mountain in California. He spent 14 years working as a journalist in Japan and Europe and skied many of those area’s major resorts. He has won several ski writing awards and skis the Sierra Nevada regularly. He is a member of the International Ski Journalists Association.

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