Skaters take to Northstar slopes |

Skaters take to Northstar slopes

photo by Doug Slater

Over 60 skaters competed in the weekend’s events, which included open and pro divisions in both GS and slalom events.

Most of the pro division was, however, made up of aging dudes pushing 40 but still sporting the traditional anti-establishment skater garb despite thinning, gray hair under their helmets.

“Thirty to forty [years old] is the core crowd,” said Gary Cross, 41. Afterward,

Cross, of Tahoe Paradise, took first in the pro division in Sunday’s GS slalom event and took second in Saturday’s “hybrid” race, a combination course of slalom and GS. Incline Village’s Charlie Ransom, 42, took third in both events.

Paul Dunn won Saturday’s hybrid race.

“The competition is real tight, there are 12 guys that could be up there at any given race,” Cross said of Sunday’s win. “It felt good to sort of defend the title.”

Cross won both events at last year’s race in the Tahoe area, held at Donner Lake.

The race at Northstar was the third installment in the eight-race series to occur at locations across the western United States, culminating in this year’s World Championships at Morro Bay on October 11-13.

On Saturday and Sunday, racers had two runs to qualify, ranked against each other according to their times in a 32 person, single elimination format.

Once qualified, skaters were paired and had to wiggle through side-by-side sets of cones, some barely 10 feet apart, for two runs over identical courses. The racer with fastest combined time moved on.

Participants had to negotiate 30 cones at speeds of 35 mph in a mad dash down a steep, 150-yard long section of the Northstar parking lot.

They did it in everything from spray-painted overalls with cigarettes dangling to nothing at all.

One participant, after being eliminated in quarterfinals, vented his frustration by airing out everything and taking a final run in his birthday suit.

Despite their age, an obvious competitive streak remained in all the skaters, but most seemed to know each other well enough for friendly exchanges of expletives as they took turns knocking each other out of the competition.

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