X-Games qualifiers at Squaw
Olympic Valley – The Paul Mitchell skiercross at Squaw Valley USA Tuesday, Jan. 16 was the last opportunity to qualify for the 2001 Winter X-Games and brought skiers from 17 states, five countries and three continents.
Fresh snow and cold weather slowed the already painfully flat, practically Nordic course.
Long flats, gentle rollers and sharp turns left skiers wondering whether they should ski or skate.
The course was technical and demanded that skiers take their choice of wax seriously.
Local ripper Darian Boyle, one of just 18 women competing, came up short in her first heat and all concur when Boyle gets beat something is awry.
“I didn’t nail my wax, and I got passed,” she said. “Once you hit the lower part of the course it was more of a wax race.”
Not one to make excuses Boyle readily admitted wax was only part of the problem and “there were some rippin’ chicks” out there.
Indeed at least one local female will be representing Tahoe in Vermont.
Hailing from Alpine Meadows, Lela Hebard ditched class at the University of Vermont and placed second behind the almost-local Katie Shackelford from Davis, Calif. Coming in a respectable fourth was Olympic Valley’s Alanna Lungren, but only the top two women will be going to Mt. Snow for the X-Games.
As for the men, none were surprised that 31-year-old former pro-racer Eric Archer took earned a trip to Mt. Snow. Archer placed first in each of the qualifying heats including the one that counted most. Give it up to local soothsayer and all-around-in-the-know-guy Chris “Uncle E” Ernst for making the call.
Archer, well aware of his own quickness, predicts good things to come in Vermont.
“If I’m on it I don’t think anyone can beat me,” Archer said after his victory. Archer and Shackelford will each take home $500 for their first place victories.
Also qualifying for the X-Games on Tuesday was Boulder, Colo., resident Jamey Parks, Quebec, Canada resident Thomas Rinfret and perhaps the day’s biggest surprise, Hiroomi Takazawa hailing from Tokyo, Japan.
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The second round of high school Nordic racing was held Wednesday at Auburn Ski Club, and for the second straight week, a skier from North Tahoe stood atop the podium.