Keeping the flame alive | State Parks to host Olympic Heritage Week | SierraSun.com

Keeping the flame alive | State Parks to host Olympic Heritage Week

Special to the Sun

Heidi Doyle/Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.comCandace Cable, executive director of Turning Point Tahoe, right, and

TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; During the winter of 1960 athletes from around the world came to Lake Tahoe to participate in the Winter Olympic Games. The biathlon and cross-country (XC) events of the V111 Winter Olympics were held in what is now Ed Zand#8217;Berg Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe. A portion of the marked XC trails takes you on a loop through the heart of the menand#8217;s events and the biathlon trails. and#8220;The magic of the Olympics and our California snow heritage comes alive as our visitors ski or snowshoe under the forest canopy or along Tahoeand#8217;s magical shoreline,and#8221; said Interpretation Program Manager Heidi Doyle of California State Parks. The public is invited to join park staff and business partners to celebrate with a series of events in historic venues alive with the Olympic spirit.

Upcoming events

Jan. 7, 11 a.m., Olympic Snow Trails Open

The 13 km blue, red and green ski trail systems at Sugar Pine Point State Park will be professionally groomed for the duration of Olympic Heritage Celebration week thanks to the donation of grooming equipment from Kasshohrer All Terrain Vehicles. The marked trail system will open to cross country skiers and be maintained though Jan. 15. There are trails available for all skill levels and the surrounding scenery is breathtaking with interpretive signage to guide you though historic Olympic trails. Free trail maps are available at the park entrance station and there is no fee for trail use. Parking fees $8.

Jan. 7, 6:30 p.m., Full Moon Snowshoe Hike

California State Park Rangers will be leading Full Moon snowshoe hikes along Tahoeand#8217;s magical west shore at Ed Zand#8217;berg Sugar Pine Point State Park throughout the winter months. Tours begin on the lake side of the park (Day Use Area) and explore the natural and cultural history around the Hellman-Ehrman estate. Few experiences compare to snowshoeing to the light of a full moon along the snow covered Tahoe shoreline!

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There will be a beginnerand#8217;s clinic at 6:30 p.m. The first group of each Full Moon Hike starts promptly at 7 p.m. with other groups, as needed, starting in 10 minute intervals. The hikes last approximately 1 1/2 hours and costs $20 for adults and $5 for children under 12. The cost includes event parking and snowshoe rentals, if needed. All proceeds from the tours go to the Sierra State Parks Foundation. Space is limited and reservations are required through State Park partner, West Shore Sports at 530-525-9920. Wear warm, layered clothing, waterproof shoes and bring a flashlight.

Jan. 8, noon-2 p.m., Historic Cross Country Ski Tour

Dave Antonucci, author of and#8220;A Snowballs Chance: The Story of the 1960 Winter Olympics,and#8221; will lead Nordic skiers on a interpretive tour of the Olympic Ski Trails located at Sugar Pine Point State Park. This intermediate level 10 kilometer tour will take you to Olympic Meadows, the site of the Biathlon range with stops along the way where you will learn of about snow heritage. This event is free and parking is $8. Please wear layered clothing, bring water, energy snack and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Jan. 8, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Olympic Heritage Celebration Opening Ceremonies

Join past Olympians and local dignitaries as we commemorate the official start of the Olympic Heritage Celebration events with the lighting of an Olympic caldron. The ceremony will take place in front of a scale replica of the Tower of Nations that stood at the entrance of Squaw Valley to welcome visitors to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. This free event will be held near the campground entrance of Sugar Pine Point State Park. Hot cider and cookies will be provided.

Jan. 10, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Reception with Olympians at Gatekeeperand#8217;s Museum

Come to personally welcome Olympians at the Gatekeeperand#8217;s Museum Olympic reception in Tahoe City (next to Fanny Bridge). Sip hot cider, or enjoy the no host bar, for a memorable evening surrounded by our local history and a chance to have a conversation with the several past winter Olympians in the area this week for our Olympic Heritage Celebration events. This event is free, but donations are welcome. For more information call 530-583-1762 or email info@northtahoemusuems.org.

Jan. 11, 10 a.m., Scholastic Ski Day

In celebration of our Lake Tahoe snow heritage, the Olympic Heritage Celebration committee is sponsoring a cross county ski day for North Lake Tahoe third-grade students. A special course will be set up, enabling our students to ski on the and#8220;path of Olympians.and#8221; Athletes and officials from the 1960 Winter Olympic Games will be on hand to share their experiences with the children. Also on hand will be a 1968 Tucker Snowcat similar to the ones used in 1960 to groom the trails. Home school students are also welcomed to join the fun. Call Heidi Doyle at 530-583-3074 to make arrangements.

Jan. 11, 6-8 p.m., Nordic Olympic Trails Fundraiser

West Shore Cafe will be the place to be for a spirited evening of great food, lively music and fun and#8230; all for a worthy cause: supporting efforts to maintain the free interpretive Nordic ski trails at Sugar Pine Point SP. The evening will feature a Meet and Greet with past Olympians, live local music, ski and historic Olympic memorabilia from 1960, an amazing silent auction, and surprise special presentations. Hors hors dand#8217;oeuvre and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. No host bar. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door and are available at the North Lake Chamber Visitor Center in Tahoe City, Gatekeeperand#8217;s Museum, Granlibakken Resort and West Shore Sports. For more information call 530-583-3074.

Jan. 13, 6-8 p.m., Olympian Dinner at Granlibakken

Cedar House Pub, at Granlibakken Resort is sponsoring a special evening in honor of Olympic Heritage Celebration week by offering 50 percent of the eveningand#8217;s profits to be donated toward the Olympic Trails restoration efforts. Enjoy a fabulous menu of local favorites while mingling with other Nordic enthusiasts and contributing to a worthy cause. Call 530-581-7307 for reservations.

Jan. 14, 10 a.m.-1p.m., Citizens Against the Clock

Strap on your cross country skis and get ready to live the thrill of Olympic competition. The West Shore Business Association with Turning Point Tahoe are sponsoring a Citizens Against the Clock event which puts skiers, of all ages and abilities, on a short cross-country ski course followed by an electronic rifle shooting range, proving a safe and family friendly way to experience this Olympic sport. This is your chance to try something new and fun. Turning Point Tahoe will provide adaptive skiing options, making this event accessible to all. Each skier will be electronically timed and the results posted. The course will be run between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The event is free. There is an $8 per vehicle parking fee.

Jan. 15, noon-2 p.m., Historic Cross Country Ski Tour

Dave Antonucci, author of and#8220;A Snowballs Chance: The Story of the 1960 Winter Olympics,and#8221; will lead Nordic skiers on a interpretive tour of the Olympic Ski Trails located at Sugar Pine Point State Park. The event is free and parking is $8. Please wear layered clothing, bring water, energy snack and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Jan. 15, 2:30-3:30 p.m., Olympic Heritage Celebration Closing Ceremonies

Join past Olympians and local dignitaries to commemorate the official end of the Olympic Heritage Celebration events with the extinguishing of the Olympic caldron. The ceremony will take place in front of a replica of the Tower of Nations that stood at the entrance of Squaw Valley to welcome visitors to the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. This free event will be held near the campground entrance of Sugar Pine Point State Park. Hot cider and cookies will be provided.

For energy efficient recreation find California State Parks on the Internet http://www.parks.ca.gov.