Snow skaters take on Donner Ski Ranch | SierraSun.com

Snow skaters take on Donner Ski Ranch

Sun Staff reports

Courtesy of Scott Thompson/ScottshotsPhoto.comPat Quinn of South Lake Tahoe throws a stylish air during the Minus 7 Melee at Donner Ski Ranch this past Saturday. Quinn took first place in the jam session contest.

A common sight this was not ” snow skaters shredding in force down the slopes of Donner Ski Ranch.

In fact, the Minus 7 Melee this past Saturday marked the first-ever snow skate contest on Tahoe’s north shore, said Kurt Zapata, owner of Truckee-based Minus 7 Snow Skates along with his wife, Jill.

About 20 snow skaters, many of whom came from as far away as South Lake Tahoe, Reno and Sacramento, competed in a boardercross-style race (called skatercross) followed by a terrain park jam session. It was largely a family affair, Jill Zapata said, as fathers and sons as young as 8 entered together to fill out the youth and adult categories.

Snow skaters ride a skateboard deck set on trucks and a small ski. Unlike snowboards and skis, however, the boards have no bindings.

In the skatercross, competitors raced down a series of rollers in heats of four while weaving in and out of orange cones that marked the course. During the jam session, which lasted about an hour and a half, Jill Zapata said, the snow skaters pulled out their best tricks on a number of features ranging from unique rails and boxes to small jumps and a showtime booter at the bottom.

For Kurt and Jill Zapata, now in their second full year as owners of Minus 7 Snow Skates, the event was a success in helping bring attention to the sport.

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“We pride ourselves on building our snow skates right here in the Tahoe basin,” said Jill Zapata, who’s been riding and developing snow skates for about five years with her husband. “We have a little bit of product left from this year and we are heading into production already for next season.”

Minus 7 Snow Skates may be reached at minus-seven@hotmail.com, or may be found on Youtube and at http://www.snowskaters.net. The Zapatas currently working on a Web site, http://www.minus-seven.com, which they intend to bolster with more photos and product information in the coming weeks.