Sugar Bowl to host skicross races, U.S. Olympic Camp |

Sugar Bowl to host skicross races, U.S. Olympic Camp

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Courtesy of Dalton Paley/daltonpaley.comTruckeeand#8217;s Daron Rahlves trains on Sugar Bowland#8217;s new skicross course off Mt. Judahand#8217;s Tunnel 41 trail. Rahlves and fellow skicross racer Errol Kerr of the Jamaica Ski Team are slated to compete in two sanctioned U.S. Skiing FIS Nor-Am Cup skicross competitions on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 2 and 3.

SUGAR BOWL and#8212; In roughly three weeks, Truckeeand#8217;s Daron Rahlves and Errol Kerr will bang for space against some of the worldand#8217;s fastest skiers when the discipline of skicross debuts at the 2010 Olympic Games.

In the meantime, the pride of the U.S. and Jamaica skicross teams, respectively, are polishing their skills at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., before returning home to compete locally Tuesday and Wednesday at Sugar Bowl.

Spectators are welcome to witness the action-packed, four-person heats first-hand. In fact, theyand#8217;re encouraged to attend the two sanctioned U.S. Skiing FIS Nor-Am Cup skicross competitions, which will offer numerous on-course viewing areas.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re anticipating up to 40 racers on the menand#8217;s side and 15 to 20 on the womenand#8217;s side,and#8221; said John Monson, Sugar Bowland#8217;s director of sales and marketing. and#8220;Right now weand#8217;ve got U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Italian competitors, with interest from Swiss and French teams.and#8221;

Jamaica, too, as Kerr and#8212; who has dual citizenship between the United States and its neighboring island nation and#8212; is slated to compete despite a few bruises from a recent crash on the World Cup circuit. While Rahlves and Casey Puckett were named this week to the U.S. Olympic Skicross Team, Kerr will compete as the lone representative from Jamaica at the 2010 Games, which kick off Feb. 12 with the Opening Ceremonies. Menand#8217;s skicross is scheduled for Feb. 21.

Rahlves, a former Alpine racer whoand#8217;s entering his fourth Olympics, figures to be freshly tuned and rested for the Games. Thatand#8217;s because his home resort and#8212; heand#8217;s Sugar Bowland#8217;s ski ambassador and#8212; will host a U.S. Olympic Camp from Feb. 13-17 on its new skicross course off Mt. Judahand#8217;s Tunnel 41 trail.

and#8220;Iand#8217;m going to go up there (to Vancouver) for some processing and media stuff, then Iand#8217;ll watch the Opening Ceremonies, then come home and have a little training session at Sugar Bowl before going back up there on the 17th,and#8221; said Rahlves, who has tagged along with Sugar Bowl Terrain Park Manager JP Martin to offer input while designing the course.

and#8220;Iand#8217;ve been in the cat with JP Martin, and heand#8217;s putting together a sick track this year,and#8221; Rahlves said.

Martin said he and his staff are designing the course to meet the specifications of the Olympic standard and#8212; a tight course with plenty of banked features and jumps, and limited opportunities to pass unless someone makes a mistake.

and#8220;What weand#8217;re trying to do is give them the best possible training venue,and#8221; Martin said. and#8220;Weand#8217;ve been watching video from the World Cups and looking at diagrams from the U.S. teamand#8217;s coach.and#8221;

After the U.S. Olympic Camp, Sugar Bowl will open the skicross course to the public.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re just thrilled to provide the U.S. Team a course to train on,and#8221; Monson said, and#8220;because at the end of the day it will greatly improve the U.S.and#8217;s chance to podium [in Vancouver]. Itand#8217;s pretty special to not only support Daron, but the whole country with this.and#8221;

For the FIS skicross races, United States competitors must have both a current USSA membership and a FIS license, while international competitors are required to carry a FIS license complete with inscription by their home nation. Entry fees are $185 for both days or $115 for one day. Monday is a training day, with sanctioned competitions scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 2 and 3.

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