Southland skiing is in full swing after last weekend's storm, which boosted the local snowpack into a range of 30 to 60 inches. There's packed powder everywhere, from Big Bear to the Angeles Crest and on the slopes in between. Virtually all lifts will be running this weekend, with just about all runs open.
Operating daily are Goldmine, Snow Summit, Snow Valley, Snow Forest, Mountain High, Ski Sunrise, Mt. Baldy, Mt. Waterman and Snowcrest-Kratka Ridge. Both Ski Green Valley and Shirley Meadows will open for the weekend.
At Baldy, incidentally, they're skiing all the way to the parking lot, and the road is clear.
Nic Fiore will be honored this week on the 40th anniversary of his arrival in Yosemite National Park to teach skiing, and he shows no signs of slowing down en route to No. 50.
Fiore, who takes an on-snow approach to directing the ski school at Yosemite's Badger Pass, says he has taught more than 80,000 people to ski. That's about 2,000 a winter. So confident is he that he's got the technique down pat, Fiore guarantees that almost anyone can learn to ski in one day.
"We offer everything you need for your first time on skis--rental equipment, all-day lift ticket and two-hour group lesson--for $30," he says. "If you're not satisfied that you can ski after buying this package, the entire cost will be refunded."
Fiore claims that 99% of his first-timers are satisfied.
Pirmin Zurbriggen has a chance to narrow the gap between himself and Alberto Tomba in their World Cup men's overall duel this weekend at Leukerbad, Switzerland.
Downhills are scheduled Saturday and Sunday, followed by a super-G Monday. Tomba, the Italian who leads with 206 points, has said he will not race downhill until after the Winter Olympics, and Zurbriggen is capable of scoring all three days. The Swiss defending champion has 163, well ahead of Austria's Guenther Mader of Austria, who is third with 96.
The women will be at Badgastein, Austria, for a downhill and slalom, plus combined, Saturday and Sunday, and the Swiss have a 1-2-3 lock on the standings: Michela Figini 166 points, defending champion Maria Walliser 127 and Brigitte Oertli 124.
Saturday's World Cup men's downhill at Leukerbad, Switzerland, will be shown on ESPN Sunday at 3 p.m., PST. The network has scheduled a feature on Swiss skier Pirmin Zurbriggen at 2 p.m., followed by "Subaru Ski World with Bob Beattie" at 2:30. . . . Saturday, ESPN will show a tape of last weekend's women's pro ski meet at Waterville Valley, N.H., at 10 a.m., PST. Roswitha Raudaschl of Austria won both races and is second in the standings with 126 points, 14 behind leader Birgit Hussauf of Austria. Three-time defending champion Cathy Bruce of the United States is third with 111. The women will go back into action Jan. 30-31 at Okemo Mountain, Vt. . . . The men on the U.S. Pro Tour will spend the next two weeks in Vermont, competing at Pico this weekend and at Mt. Snow Jan. 29-31.
Ski Incline, on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, will open its new Diamond Peak quad chairlift, serving advanced terrain, Sunday at 11 a.m. . . . Sierra Ski Ranch, near South Lake Tahoe, will play host to the weeklong Great Sierra Winter Carnival, starting Saturday. . . . The third annual Duchin Cup Invitational winds up today at Sun Valley, Ida., for Clint Eastwood, Brooke Shields, Janet Leigh, et al. . . . Steamboat Springs, Colo., is celebrating its 25th anniversary with various festivities this week. . . . The U.S. Olympic cross-country ski team is being selected this week in trials at Giants Ridge, near Biwabik, Minn.
Mammoth-Toiyabe Heli-ski has suspended operations for the rest of this season, according to Guide Director Wally Oldham. In a statement, he said: "In spite of our vigorous objections, (Bridgeport District Forest Ranger) John McGee removed Dunderberg Peak and Kavanaugh Ridge from our Bridgeport permit area. This represents a loss of a key portion of Heli-ski's skiable terrain, and the majority of our low-avalanche-hazard, intermediate skiing terrain. In addition, despite the unanimous opposition of the Mono County Board of Supervisors, McGee recommended to Congress that our remaining skiable terrain in the Toiyabe National Forest be designated as wilderness, thereby precluding its use for helicopter skiing. Without this area, there is no future for Heli-ski."