Along with Disneyland, oranges and Rodeo Drive, Southern California's travel propaganda frequently includes this question: "Where else in the world can you surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon?"
Snow ski, that is. Here--and in Florida--you have to make that distinction.
This weekend, 240 surfers/skiers will test that statement in the third annual $7,000 California Surf & Ski Classic (Classic?) sponsored by KROQ-FM. The surfing will take place at Huntington Beach, the skiing at Snow Summit.
Competing will be the first 120 surfers and the first 120 skiers who sign up with the station this week. Qualifying is set for Saturday, with the top 30 from each category advancing to Sunday's finals, when the surfing will be held from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by a giant slalom at 2 p.m. at the Big Bear Lake resort.
Snow Summit is one of five Southland ski areas operating daily. The others are Snow Valley, Goldmine, Mountain High and Mt. Baldy, and base depths range from 12 to 66 inches, with packed powder on top. Snow Forest, Shirley Meadows and Ski Green Valley plan to be open for the weekend.
High Sierra resorts are all in full swing, and most of them will remain open at least through Easter, April 19, with a few shooting for the following Sunday. Squaw Valley has set a tentative closing date of May 3; Alpine Meadows is aiming at running through May 25, and Mammoth Mountain again will try to stretch its season through the July 4 holiday weekend.
Other ski events in California this weekend include the $15,000 Earth Grains Cup at Kirkwood, last stop on the Women's Pro Ski Racing circuit, with two-time defending champion Cathy Bruce holding a 36-point lead over Austrian rookie Roswitha Raudaschl, 310 to 274; the Stella Artois Weekend World Cup finals at Mt. Reba/Bear Valley; the Yosemite Winter Carnival at Badger Pass, and Saturday's 14-mile Echo Summit-to-Kirkwood cross-country race.
Freestyle skiing, also called hotdogging when it burst on the snow scene in the early 1970s before landing on its buns a short time later, will acquire an aura of legitimacy next February when it becomes a demonstration sport in the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The United States, which was at the forefront of freestyle until several tragic inverted-aerial accidents led to liability-insurance problems, has gradually returned to the point where it should provide a major share of the excitement at Calgary.
A team of 12 men and 6 women will be selected in each of the three events--aerials, moguls and ballet--and next week's Subaru National Freestyle Championships at Squaw Valley should indicate who's hot and who's not.
Next Wednesday--Men's ballet, in which Lane Spina of Reno is trying for his third national title.
April 2--Women's ballet, pitting seven-time Grand Prix champion Jan Bucher of Salt Lake City against defending national titlist Ellen Breen of Canoga Park.
April 3--Moguls, with two-time men's national champion and current Grand Prix top gun Steve Desovich facing challenges by Cooper Schell and Nelson Carmichael of Steamboat Springs, Colo., and Hayley Wolff of North Miami Beach, Fla., bumping up against Liz McIntyre of Lyme, N.H., in the women's event.
April 4--Aerials, topped by defending champions Kirk Palenik of Littleton, Colo., and Sheryl Nason of Sharon, Mass.
The aerials at Squaw will all be upright--and less dangerous than inverted aerials--according to Jeff Chumas, national freestyle competition director of the sponsoring U.S. Ski Assn., who adds: "After the championships, the qualified athletes are given the proper training and coaching through the aerial development pool to compete internationally on the World Cup circuit in inverted aerials."