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Skiing : There's Plenty of Snow, but Patience Is Needed

December 25, 1987|Bob Lochner

This is the way it's supposed to be for skiers at Christmas time.

There's two to six feet of snow spread all over the mountains of California, from the San Bernardinos to the San Gabriels to the High Sierra; it's sunny but cold, and every ski resort in the state is open, both north and south.

Rather than read the rest of this, just go skiing. That is, if you don't mind standing in lines to do just about anything in snow country.

If you do, then wait until after Jan. 3. The snow will still be there. The lines won't.

World Cup Alpine competitors are taking their annual holiday break.

The men's overall race is turning into a duel between Italy's new sensation, Alberto Tomba, who leads with 125 points, and defending champion Pirmin Zurbriggen of Switzerland, who has 91. For the long haul, the Swiss racer rates the edge because he skis every discipline, while Tomba skips the downhills.

The women's standings are slightly more congested. Switzerland's Michela Figini is on top with 92 points, followed by Spain's Blanca Fernandez-Ochoa with 75 and Austria's Anita Wachter with 70.

At least, it's not turning into a Swiss sweep, as was the case last winter.

Where are the Americans? Don't ask.

Six more skiers have been elected to the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame, bringing the total membership of that exalted pantheon to 272.

You probably didn't know there were that many famous skiers, right? Obviously, they're going to have to add another wing--or a second story--to the hall at Ishpeming, Mich.

The new honorees, who will be officially inducted March 5, are Suzy Chaffee, former U.S. Ski Team racer and freestyle skier; Mike Gallagher, former national cross-country champion and coach; Wilbert Rasmussen, a world-class jumper; Suzy Harris Rytting, a top Alpine competitor in the 1950s; Tony Wise, founder of the American Birkebeiner race in Wisconsin, and the late Fred Bellmar, a noted Colorado ski pioneer.

Skiing on the tube this week includes the following:

--The recent U.S. Pro Ski Tour's opening races for both men and women at Park City, Utah, on ESPN, Saturday at noon, PST.

--A two-hour Calgary Olympic Holiday Special, on Channel 7, Saturday at 4 p.m., PST.

--"Subaru Ski World With Bob Beattie," with footage of skiing on steep slopes where supposedly, "If you fall, you die," on ESPN, Sunday at 2:30 p.m., PST.

--World Cup 90-meter ski-jumping held Dec. 13 at Lake Placid, N.Y., on ESPN, Sunday at 3 p.m., PST.

Skiing Notes

A total of 13 scholarships worth $600 each will be awarded to young ski racers around the country from the Spider Sabich Memorial Fund. The fund was created to honor the former U.S. ski racing star who died in 1976. Chairman Bob Beattie hopes to increase these scholarships to 25 at $1,000 apiece next winter . . . Pro ski racing resumes Jan. 9-10, with the men at Heavenly Valley, and the women at Haystack, Vt. . . . David Mirisch's Hollywood ski circuit this season includes the fifth annual Red River Celebrity Winter Carnival in New Mexico Jan. 14-18, a benefit for the Make-a-Wish Foundation . . . The seven man U.S. Olympic biathlon team selected after trials at West Yellowstone, Mont., is: Josh Thompson of Gunnison, Colo.; Rich Gross of Bend, Ore.; RaimondDombrovskis of Seattle; Darin Binning of Pinedale, Wyo.; Willie Carow of Putney, Vt.; Lyle Nelson of Burlington, Vt., and Curt Schreiner of Day, N.Y.

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