The best laid plans of mice, men, and ski race promoters don’t count much for anything when it comes to Sierra Nevada weather. And in the case of the Tahoe Rim Tour and Race, a premier new, classic technique-oriented competition in the Lake Tahoe region, flexibility and â€œgoing with the flowâ€ is as important as fluorocarbons on a warm, snowy day.
Conceived by Far West Nordic Board President Jeff Schloss, the Tahoe Rim Tour is designed to be a fun, exciting new fundraiser/competition for Far West Nordic skiers. Starting from the North Tahoe High School near Tahoe City, the course winds amid the beautiful trails of Tahoe Cross Country XC Ski Resort before heading high up over the Tahoe â€œRimâ€ encircling the Lake, and then heads downhill toward Northstar Resort, where it meanders on the cross country trails at Northstar before finishing at the XC resort at mid-mountain.
At least, that’s what it was supposed to do.
With blizzard warnings and high winds in effect on the morning of the competition, the organizers decided to go safety-first and, instead of canceling the race, turn it into a 15 kilometer single loop on the trails of Tahoe XC. Northstar will just have to wait until next year.
Open to classic skiers, skaters, and even snowshoers, over 100 braved the elements, and, aided by a slight break in the weather at start time, enjoyed great skiing and competition. The premier event of the day, the classic competition, was dominated by two skiers, one with great grip, one with great glide in the somewhat tricky waxing conditions. Garrett Reid of Palo Alto (who is taking the season off from skiing competitively for Colorado University) used his exceptionally fast skis to overtake former University of Nevada, Reno skier and coach Tav Streit of Reno, and pull away on the mostly downhill second half of the race, winning in a time of 52 minutes and 59 seconds. Streit finished in 53:25 for second place. Coming in third (and, of course, winning the women’s division overall for the 4th consecutive time this season with a tim e of 54:07) was Far West’s top female racer Beth Reid of Palo Alto. Peter Hanson, all the way from Minneapolis, took 3rd in the men’s division, and Judy Rabinowitz of Larkspur (like Reid, another former Olympian) cracked the top 10 to finish in 9th place overall to take second in the women’s class. Not to be left out, 15 year old Joanne Reid was the 3rd overall female, finishing in 16th place in the classic field.
In the smaller Skate division, Carl Reid (there’s that name again) was easily the top skier with a time of 47:26, while Maureen Sheehan took top female honors in 1:03:27.
With plans next year to complete the trip to Northstar, competitors were happy with the trail conditions, and also the decision to keep it local for this year. The Sierra has received 2-3 feet of snow in the past couple of days, so weather conditions in late January can never be counted on to supply bluebird weather.
Photos courtesy of Gene Murrieta