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Squaw set for big event

Sam Bauman

We have a major ski event coming to Squaw Valley on Feb. 25-26. This is the now traditional ski-snowboard event on a Y course; racers start in a standard two-lane format but then join at a Y for a single track. This can be good fun to watch as the competitors jockey for the lead in steep, banked turns.

For locals, there’s a qualifying event on Feb. 25 for ski and snowboarders, giving them a shot at the $450,000 total purse. Check http://www.jeepsports .com for entry info. The four winners also each get a 2006 Jeep Commander as well as part of the prize purse.

Saturday evening is the opening ceremony with fireworks and the ski portion of the event. Sunday is snowboard racing on a similar course. It ends up with the crowning ceremonies.

The event started at Crested Butte, Colo., last December, continued at Sunshine Village in Banff and the moved to Sunday River, Maine.

Ski tuning tips

In my eagerness to try out the new Rossignol Z9 skis, I failed to follow my own advice: Always tune new skis because the factory never does a good job. The Z9s were factory waxed and the edges hadn’t been banged up in the shipping process. However, with two weekends on the Z9s, it was time to work them over.

For those not familiar with the hot wax process, I’ll go over it.

First, check the edges for nicks and burrs. It seems doubtful, but those imperfections will slow skis. Remove the burrs and nicks with a diamond stone ($10 at a ski store) or a soft stone. Try not to alter the bevel of the edges, which is usually 2 degrees on the side and 1 degree on the base. Tools are available to make sure you keep those edges true.

Also, run a straight edge across the base, perpendicular to the ski edges. The edges should be flat with the base; high and you’ll make locked “railroad” turns, low and your skis will wander and skitter. Correct or have a ski shop do it.

Then waxing. You need an old electric iron (special irons for the purpose are available, but an old used iron works fine), a block of wax, a plastic scraper, rags, a wire brush and light abrasive rubbing pads (not steel).

It helps if you have ski vises to hold the skis steady. Otherwise, I’ve used railings that join in a corner. With the base up, scrape all the old wax off. Get down to the Ptex base.

Heat the iron (I use the midrange setting) and holding the block of wax against the iron, dribble the wax the length of the ski – just drops, not solid. Let the ski sit in cold weather for 20 or 30 minutes, then scrape from shovel to tail with the plastic piece. The idea is that the wax will fill the tiny holes in the Ptex, which if left open act as suction cups to hold back the ski. Scraping the wax makes sure the holes are filled and the wax that is left helps the ski to glide.

Go over the base with the light abrasive cloth to remove bits. Then run a wire brush along the base. Here you will be clearing the tiny grooves that funnel water out from under the ski as it melts the snow. In the old days, we would rub the base with a cork block, but that isn’t needed these days.

Older skis will have a groove running the length of the ski to disperse water, but contemporary skis have done away with that.

The point of hot waxing skis is not just to make them go faster; waxed skis turn easier.

Valentine fun

Find love on the mountain this Valentine’s Day with three specials brought to you from Squaw Valley.

A $43 lift ticket is available this Tuesday, as well as the fourth annual “Where’s the Love?” Scavenger Hunt on the mountain. Squaw is also offering a special Sweetheart’s Dinner and Ice Skate Package at High Camp.

Get your partner a $43 “I Love Squaw” special Valentine’s Day lift ticket. Pre-purchase online at http://www.squawshop.com. These tickets are valid only on Tuesday (Feb 14).

The “Where’s The Love?” Scavenger Hunt offers guests the chance to look for love on the mountain and be rewarded with discounts and vouchers for food, gear and lift tickets. Squaw Valley’s cupids will place several magnetic hearts at locations around the resort. If you find a heart, a prize is yours. The hunt begins when the lifts open and lasts until the last heart is found. Once found, participants can redeem their prizes for special tickets or the retail store or restaurant from which the prize is offered.

The Sweetheart’s Dinner and Ice Skate package is at High Camp. This includes a scenic ride up the Cable Car to High Camp and a three-course meal at Alexander’s Café overlooking Lake Tahoe. Following dinner, guests go for a spin on the ice (ice skate rentals included) at High Camp’s Olympic Ice Pavilion. This one-of-a-kind evening is $75 per couple. Make reservations by calling (530) 581-7278.

Olympic memories

In celebration of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw, Olympic Heritage events will begin in conjunction with opening ceremonies today at Squaw.

To kick off the celebration there will be an outdoor showing on the Big Screen in the Village of the original 1960 Olympic Movie on Friday at dusk.

On Saturday you can hop on the Olympic band-wagon with former Olympians Tamara McKinney, Jeff Hamilton, Jimbo Morgan and others. With help from the Mighty Mites, Squaw Kids and anyone else who wants to join in, Tamara, Jeff and the rest will be skiing a lit “Olympic Torch” down the Mountain Run. The group will convene at 12:30 p.m. at Gold Coast and will ski down to the Olympic Houses’ Sun Deck at the base of the mountain. At 12:45 p.m., a reception will be held on the Sun Deck with former Olympic athletes.

Relive the glory of the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics with an ice skating exhibition on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Olympic Ice Pavilion.

Throughout the Olympics, there is no better way to support your local athletes than watching their events on TV at one of their favorite Squaw Valley bars. Look out for skiers Marco Sullivan, Julia Mancuso, Shannon Bahrke, and Daron Rahlves and snowboarders Nate Holland and Jayson Hale.

Support the team

Northstar-at-Tahoe joins 75 other resorts to support the inaugural U.S. Ski Team Day, a promotional fundraising event to benefit ski and snowboard team athletes, on Friday. The resort will donate one dollar for every adult lift ticket sold to support the U.S. Ski Team.

Mike Hudson, former U.S. Freestyle Ski Team member, performs a ski ballet at 10:30 a.m. off the Bear Paw chairlift. Those looking to get in on the action can meet seven-year member of the U.S. freestyle moguls team Chris Tishler, who has invited Northstar guests to meet him at the top of the Vista Express chairlift at 1 p.m. for a run guests won’t forget.

Call (800)GO-NORTH.


Sam Bauman can be contacted at sbauman@nevadaappeal.com or (775) 881-1236.


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