(Donner Summit, CA) - Sugar Bowl Resort played host to two FIS Nor-Am Cup ski-cross races Feb. 2 and 3 on its Tunnel 41 trail off the Mt. Judah Express chair.
And while Sugar Bowl’s ski ambassador Daron Rahlves skipped these races to mend from the dislocated hip he sustained during the X Games last week, other top ski-cross racers from around the world set the course on fire as they battled in four-man heats through the whoops, banked turns and jumps that made up the Sugar Bowl ski-cross course.
According to Truckee-based U.S. ski-cross team racer Scott Horn, “this is the best course we’ve skied so far… It is fast. It is action-all-the-time, nonstop. You’re always doing something. There are tough sections and sections where you just let loose and sections where you really have to focus and reign it in.”
With many of the competitors in the field using these races as a tune-up for the 2010 Winter Olympics, which are just around the corner, the Sugar Bowl races had a friendly, but competitive vibe.
Taking top honors for the women was Fanny Smith of Switzerland, followed by Marielle Thompson of Canada and Catriona Blair of Canada.
On the men’s side, Truckee’s own Errol Kerr, who is the one-man Jamaican Ski Team, lead every heat he ran on his way to the top podium finish, followed by Stanislas Ray of Canada in second and David Holmes of Canada in third.
Next up for Sugar Bowl’s skier-cross course is a five-day training session by the U.S ski-cross team in preparation for the Olympics Feb. 13-17, after which the resort will detune the course and open it to the public for a limited time.
So make plans to head up to Sugar Bowl on Donner Summit after Feb. 17 to get the chance to run a real-deal ski/boarder-cross course with your buddies. And just remember, rubbin’ is racin’ when you're on the cross course.
Photos by Sylas Wright/Sierra Sun newspaper. Podium photos by Paul Raymore.