Lords of Boards off to X-Games
Alpine Meadows – Qualifying for next year’s X-Games began last weekend at Alpine Meadows as skiers, snowboarders and huckers competed for $20,000 in cash, invites to the ’02 X-Games and his and her lordships.
Competitors were helped by a conflicting event within the ski industry. The SIA Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nev., drew many would-be racers away from the the Lord of the Boards competition and increased the odds for those in attendance.
Eric Archer likely didn’t need any help to begin with and dominated the skiercross. He posted the fastest qualifying time and never looked back, a feat he’s familiar with. He did the same thing at the X-Games qualifiers at Squaw Valley in January.
He finished a disappointing 12th at last year’s X-Games but with his victory over the weekend has already secured a shot at redemption in next year’s games. Rounding out the field was Frenchman Stephan Verdier, Jamey Parks from Utah and Slovenian Janez Demsar currently residing in South Lake.
Squaw Valley girls stole the show for the women. This year’s X-Games bronze medalist Chiara Lawrence took first followed by Michaela Boyle, Katie Shackelford and Anik Demers.
The top two finishers in the skiercross secured spots to the 2002 Winter X-Games.
For the snowboarders it was Boyle’s sister Darian doing the snowboard thing and, in a bizarre twist of fate, winning. Darian, more associated with two boards than one, caught the field off guard with her victory.
Tahoe City native Brandon Stieg took first for the men followed by fellow T.C. rider John Percy. Percy has won five of seven Lord of the Boards boardercrosses that he’s entered.
The story for the boarders was wax, wax, wax. The course was frozen for qualifying runs but the ever practical jokester above put an inch of fresh snow on the course before heats got under way and left it to the wise to re-apply wax befitting the changing conditions.
Champion among waxers was Ward Collins of TOKO Wax. He waxed for Eric Archer, Darian Boyle, Michaela Boyle and Brandon Stieg. That amounted to three first place finishes and one second place finish for Collins.
The lordly quest would not would not complete until the new school hucked their meat.
It was Matt Sterbenz of Squaw Valley winning easily, scoring the two highest jumps of the day. Sterbenz is going to Winter X in ’02 and Jared Dalen, who finished second, may go if the ESPN bigwigs rule in his favor.
Few big names were on hand for the big air contest, a fact that puzzled event organizers. Despite X-Games invites up for grabs and $1200 cash, only fifteen pros showed up to compete. Compare that with 100 people for three spots at the X-Games qualifiers at Squaw Valley in January.
“The young athletes haven’t figured out how to play the game yet,” said Chris “Uncle E” Ernst, Lord of the Boards founder, and Director of EXP Productions.
In the amateur category Jared Evan won, but it was Matt Owens turning heads with a switch triple daffy, so creative, yet so obvious.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.