Rahlves, Holland compete in Jeep King of the Mountain
There was a special feel in the air Sunday at Squaw Valley, when it was not overridden by windswept corn snow peppering faces.
That’s because it’s not everyday that nine athletes fresh off the Winter Olympics ” including Truckee alpine skier Daron Rahlves ” race head to head on local slopes.
But the Jeep King of the Mountain Series was in town, capping its season with the Professional Skiing and Snowboarding World Championships.
Rahlves ” who between runs found himself swarmed by young admirers seeking autographs on helmets, jackets, casts and anything else that could be written on ” placed third among the talented field of male skiers.
“It’s cool being home. Look at my cheering squad here,” Rahlves said, prompting a round of giggles from the flock of young skiers. “It’s just nice to be hanging out in Tahoe and skiing here. It’s not a typical Tahoe day, but [race organizers] still got it done. They did a good job of pushing through and getting us on the hill.
“It’s just fun being out here. It’s a short little trip off [from skiing in the Olympics and on the World Cup circuit], but this is definitely a way I can make the most of it.”
As opposed to others who raced throughout the Jeep King of the Mountain Series, or earned a shot to compete through the National Open Qualifier on Saturday, Rahlves filled in as a last-minute entry.
I found out [about competing in the event] the day before. I kind of snuck in,” Rahlves said. “But I was going to go to the qualifier [on Saturday] anyway.”
Other 2006 Olympians competing in the event were Graham Watanabe, from Salt Lake City, and Nate Holland, of Squaw Valley, as well as Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson and Austrians Doresia Krings, Manuela Riegler, Dieter Krassnig and Lukas Gruner.
Aspen, Colo. native Casey Puckett took first place in the men’s skiing, ahead of Tomas Kraus, from the Czech Republic, and Rahlves.
Ophelie David, from France, placed first in the women’s skiing event. Austria’s Doresia Krings won the women’s snowboarding while Anderson won the men’s snowboarding.
Holland, who came in fourth, said that after spending much of the year on the road competing in boardercross events, it was nice to be back at Squaw.
“I’m fired up to be home.” Holland said. … “It’s good to come out here with some other local guys who just got back from Torino.”
Also vying for victory in the boardercross was South Lake Tahoe’s Joanie Anderson, who placed third.
“This is so much fun,” she said of the event. “The course is pretty good. It flows well. And it has just been really fun to race today.”
The Jeep King of the Mountain Series is different from any other format, with the first three turns set up in a parallel giant slalom format. After that the two courses merge into one skiercross/boardercross style race, with athletes barreling down the same course over rollers, banked turns and small airs.
Competitors agreed that the course at Squaw, while fun, was not a very long one.
“There’s not many passing opportunities,” Joanie Anderson said. “It’s definitely a short course. You really want to get the hole shot.”
Holland said the course was not ideal for traditional snowboard boot setups.
“It’s a hard boot course for sure,” he said. “I’m having to battle pretty hard to keep in the game. … It’s an extremely short track. It hardly gets your heart rate up. But it’s good fun, and it’s good to be home.”
The Jeep King of the Mountain Professional Skiing and Snowboarding World Championships will be aired on CBS Sports on March 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. EST and on nationally syndicated television across the United States between March 13 and April 2.
Tahoe World sports editor Alex Close contibuted to this story.
1. Jasey Jay Anderson (CAN)
2. Dieter Krassnig (AUT)
3. Graham Watanabe (Salt Lake City, UT)
4. Nate Holland (Squaw Valley)
5. Adam Smith (Bend, Ore.)
6. Jeff Greenwood (Boulder, Colo.)
7. Lukas Gruner (AUT)
8. Guillaume Nantermod (SUI)
1. Doresia Krings (AUT)
2. Manuela Riegler (AUT)
3. Joanie Anderson (South Lake Tahoe)
4. Claudia Riegler (AUT)
5. Leslee Olson (Redmond, Ore.)
6. Ursula Smith (Denver, Colo.)
7. Marni Yamada (Seattle, Wash.)
8. Lynn Ott (Bend, Ore.)
1. Casey Puckett (Aspen, Colo.)
2. Tomas Kraus (CZE)
3. Daron Rahlves (Truckee)
4. Jake Fiala (Frisco, Colo.)
5. TJ Lanning (Park City, Utah)
6. Enak Gavaggio (FRA)
7. Davey Barr (CAN)
8. Isidor Gruner (AUT)
1. Ophelie David (FRA)
2. Karin Huttary (AUT)
3. Brett Buckles (Hayden, Colo.)
4. Anik Demers (CAN)
5. Magdalena Iljans Johnson (SWE)
6. Amy Harris (Incline Village)
7. Elyse Saugstad (Girdwood, Alaska)
8. Jenny Owens (AUS)
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.