Multi-discipline event’s fate in question
Lorenzo Worster hobbled on crutches to a table during the Budweiser Lord of the Boards awards’ ceremony, Saturday, and propped up his twisted and wrapped ankle. Moments later, Keith McGee joined him sporting a nasty black eye. Rusty Starmer sat down with a casted arm and, suddenly, it became clear that competing for the ‘Overall Lord’ title was no sissy affair.
Mt. Judah’s main room looked more like an infirmary than a ski lodge, but that’s the nature of the game. The Budweiser Lord of the Boards competition is the world’s only Skiercross, boardercross and telecross tour and when you have some participants competing in all three events (shooting for the ‘Overall Lord’ title or a chance to compete in the 2001 X-games) accidents are bound to happen.
So when Chris “Uncle E” Ernst, the event’s main organizer, commented that he’s “always happy with a safe event and beautiful weather,” he meant it.
None of the injuries sustained at the Sugar Bowl event were critical. Starmer’s arm has been casted for a while and he was actually due to have it removed the day of the Skiercross event – postponing the cast removal date to Sunday so he could compete. McGee’s shiner “hurt like hell” when it happened – while trying to make a pass during the Skiercross competition when he was edged by another racer into a gate – but the swelling had dropped considerably and it looked okay. Worster’s injury, resulting from a head over heels crash during the telecross competition on Friday, was only a minor twist and his major concern lay in the fact that the best spill was not awarded.
Consensus among the three injured skiers was reached, along with other skiers gathered around the table, that the course was fast, technical and very good. Consensus was also reached that the best skiers won.
Janez Demsar was crowned as the Lord. Demsar earned $700 for claiming the Overall Lord title, taking first place in the telecross event and finishing sixth in the Skiercross.
“I feel great,” Demsar said. “What I like about this event is it’s a challenge. There are three different disciplines. No one is perfect in all three events. Snowboarding for me is a challenge. The strongest event for me is telemarking, even though I’ve only been telemarking for two years. I am a strong skier, a decent snowboarder and a very good telemarker, so that puts me in a very good position overall.”
Demsar and John Morrison, who finished second in the overall category, have traded first place in the last nine events in which they have competed. Morrison came in second place, Justin Befu came in third place and Starmer finished fourth out of a field of 14.
Christy Kromer won the Overall Ladies competition and was awarded $325. Stephanie Turner took second place, Sarah John took third and Nancy Elrod finished in fourth.
The big money and high stakes lay in the Skiercross. The Budweiser Lord of the Boards was the second stop for the Governing Body Skiercross Competitions, the first of which was held at Squaw Valley earlier this season. Any competitor who wins a sanctioned GBSC Skiercross automatically qualifies to compete in the 2001 X-games.
“Today [Saturday, for the Skiercross] everything was just hardcore,” Erik Smith, another competitor in the event said. “Jarrod Powers, the massage guy, was even talking about it. Yesterday he said that he was busy all day, that boarders were more anxious to get to the table than down the hill. Yesterday was more for the fun. Today, everyone was super-focused on getting down the hill. He only gave something like four massages.”
Kromer, who, as a rule, is dominant in the womens’ field, claimed a first place finish in the Skiercross and the telecross, winning an additional $450. Sarah John came in second place in the Skiercross, Sarah John, third, and Mo Renk finished in fourth place.
Bill Hudson just barely edged out Todd Kelly for a $1,000 dollar purse and a trip to the 2001 X-games. Hudson is now tied for first place in the GBSC tour with Axil Naglich from Austria.
Kelly took second place, Corley Howard finished third, Eric Archer came in fourth and Truckee resident Tyler Buschmann finished in fifth place.
“I basically see you as second,” Smith said to Archer. “Todd Kelly was smoother than I’ve ever seen. He was going top speed all the way through … amazing. Hudson, too, but I wasn’t racing him.”
Hudson had the fastest time trial, beating Kelly’s time by less than a second.
Amy Xistras won the womens’ boardercross on Friday and Jeff Girard won the mens’ competition.
Ernst said this would probably be the last year for the telecross part of the event.
“We’ve had a good five-year run,” said Ernst, “and we’re going to change our formula. We’re probably just going to focus on the Skiercross and boardercross. I think maybe the telecross scares people off. It’s good in theory, but … “
More than 75 people signed up to compete in the two day period, a 25-percent drop from last year according to Ernst.
The Lord of the Boards tour continues on Feb. 24 and 25 at Homewood and will move to Alpine Meadows on March 18 and 19.
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The Truckee girls’ cross-country team raced to a runner-up finish at today’s Class 3A Northern League championships.