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SKIING / BOB LOCHNER : Wind Slows Things, but Brings Snow

March 11, 1995|BOB LOCHNER

No, the rain and wind haven't washed or blown away Big Bear and Wrightwood.

Six Southland ski areas have continued to operate daily--or until Friday, anyway, when near-gale conditions prompted most of them either to close or shut down their lifts early. By midafternoon, Mt. Baldy, although closed for the day, was reporting heavy snowfall and the front was headed east toward the San Bernardino Mountains.

Said Snow Summit's Bonnie Tregaskis: "We closed the lifts about 1:30 p.m. because it was just too windy, but we can use the snow and plan to be open again for the weekend."

Before this storm, Snow Summit had a base of 12-36 inches, as did nearby Bear Mountain. Elsewhere, depths ranged up to 48 inches at Snow Valley and 42 inches at Kratka Ridge. Mountain High, with 36 inches, didn't open Friday because of high winds but should be back in business today.

Mt. Waterman and Ski Sunrise, dark all week, also hope to resume operations this weekend.

Barring a hurricane, flood or famine, Snow Summit will play host to the annual March of Dimes celebrity ski races this weekend, with television's Terry Murphy acting as hostess. The actual competition is scheduled for Sunday in this event founded by Steve Kanaly of the old "Dallas" TV series in 1984.

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AJ Kitt's victory--later voided--in the World Cup downhill last Sunday at Aspen, Colo., came a week after he had finished a surprising second in the super-giant slalom at Whistler, Canada. His success came as no surprise to U.S. teammate Kyle Rasmussen, who said when he was home in Angels Camp last month that it was just a matter of time.

"Getting married was a real change for him," said Rasmussen, 26, who finally lived up to his own potential by winning the downhill at Wengen, Switzerland, in late January and placing third in the super-G Friday at Kvitfjell, Norway. "I was married five years ago and it took a long time to adjust, but now I'm glad I did it when I was young because I've got all that out of the way.

"AJ probably never even had a steady girlfriend until a couple of years ago, then he marries the first one he has. He's in a deep hole right now, but he'll fight his way out of it."

Kitt, also 26, did just that, beating the world's top downhillers in a race that the International Ski Federation (FIS) ultimately declared no contest, even though all of the likely contenders had completed their runs.

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It's almost certain that Alberto Tomba of Italy will win the men's overall World Cup title. With 1,050 points, he leads runner-up Jure Kosir of Slovenia, also a slalom specialist, by 300.

Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg, who skis all four Alpine events and is third with 670, will have to do better than his 11th in the Kvitfjell super-G if he hopes to win his sixth title. Gunther Mader of Austria, who finished fifth Friday, has 617 points, 15 more than Kjetil-Andre Aamodt of Norway, who was 22nd.

Two downhills will be held in Norway this weekend before the scene shifts to Bormio, Italy, for the finals beginning Wednesday.

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Also odds-on for a championship is Picabo Street, who moved closer to the women's downhill title by winning for the fourth time this winter, last Sunday at Saalbach, Austria. With 509 points in her specialty, she is 117 ahead of U.S. rival Hilary Lindh. They will compete again at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, this weekend and at Bormio next week.

Katja Seizinger of Germany leads the overall competition with 943 points, followed closely by two Swiss women, Heidi Zeller-Baehler and Vreni Schneider, who have 938 and 915, respectively.

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Raphaelle Monod of France won the Freestyle World Cup women's moguls title with her victory this week at Salen, Sweden, finishing with 672 points, eight more than runner-up American Donna Weinbrecht, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist, who dropped out of the lead by placing fourth. . . . Sergei Shupletsov of Russia had clinched the men's moguls championship the week before.

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