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Ski notebook

A good showing is on Clark's to-do list

FROZEN OUT - For the second straight day, the US Cross Country Ski Championships were postponed because of subzero temperatures in Anchorage. It's hoped the races will resume today, the final scheduled day of the event. FROZEN OUT - For the second straight day, the US Cross Country Ski Championships were postponed because of subzero temperatures in Anchorage. It's hoped the races will resume today, the final scheduled day of the event. (Al Grillo/Associated Press)
By Marty Basch and T.D. Thornton
Globe Correspondents / January 8, 2009
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It's a genuine homecoming for Kelly Clark as the inaugural Winter Dew Tour visits Mount Snow in West Dover, Vt. The events run today through Sunday and feature many of the world's best snowboarders and free-skiers.

Among the competitors are Olympic medalists Clark, Shaun White, Hannah Teter, and Danny Kass; top riders Kevin Pearce, Danny Davis, and Steve Fisher; and noted free-skiers Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall.

Clark was born in Rhode Island but grew up in West Dover and graduated from Mount Snow Academy in 2001. She hasn't competed at Mount Snow since it hosted the X Games, when Clark finished fourth in slopestyle in 2000 and came in fifth in the superpipe in 2001.

"This is going to be great to see everybody I grew up with," said Clark. "I will get time to spend with my friends and family and they'll be able to see me in my element up close and personal doing what I do year-round."

Clark, 25, placed second in the superpipe behind Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler at the Tour's debut in Breckenridge, Colo., last month.

"I think to win it will have to be a combination of amplitude and progression," she said. "I don't think one trick or one specific thing will do it. They will be looking for the whole package."

Many snowboarders are preparing for the 2010 Olympics.

"The Olympics are definitely my long-term goal," said Clark, a member of the US Snowboarding Team. She won gold in the Olympic halfpipe in 2002 and took fourth in the 2006 Games. Last season she won the Chevy Grand Prix halfpipe and an X Games silver medal.

The competition is set at the Carinthia base area and spectator entry is free.

"The finish line of the slopestyle course is literally a stone's throw from the superpipe so all the action can be viewed right in the base area," said Mount Snow spokesman Luke Stafford. "No chairlifts are necessary."

Cranmore celebrates
In a classic black-and-white photo from 1939, legendary ski instructor Hannes Schneider, family, and entourage are shown arriving in North Conway, N.H., and walking from the train station under an arch of ski poles held by children. Seventy years have passed since Schneider arrived from Austria, where the ski pioneer escaped Nazi persecution, and Cranmore Mountain is commemorating the anniversary with its Snowtrain Weekend.

On Friday, lift ticket prices roll back to the 1930s cost of $3.30. The yellow train station in Schouler Park is the backdrop for Saturday's reenactment of the Feb. 11, 1939 arrival of the Schneider family, during which Hannes's son and former Cranmore general manager Herbert Schneider, his sons Christoph and Hannes, and two grandsons will walk under an arch of poles held by children from the area.

"There will also be the opening of a New England Ski Museum satellite display which fittingly features Hannes Schneider," said Cranmore's marketing director, Kathy Bennett.

Not uplifted
A New Year's Day lift mishap at the tony Vail ski resort in Colorado left a 48-year-old man dangling upside down without pants about 20 feet off the ground for about seven minutes before he was freed by rescuers.

The unidentified man wasn't injured, although his ego likely was bruised thanks to onlookers who snapped photographs of the ordeal.

The Aspen Times reported that the skier was boarding the Skyline Express Lift shortly after 10 a.m. when he slipped through the seat, which appears in photographs to be incorrectly placed in the upright position. His right boot and ski became wedged in the metal framework of the chair, and as he fell through the opening, his pants and underclothes got snagged.

Operators immediately stopped the lift and reversed it so the man could be lowered to the ground by ski patrollers.

According to the Vail Daily, the man seemed in good spirits after being lowered to the ground, and that the crowd applauded his return to safety.

Ready, hut
The second of 12 planned backcountry huts along a 180-mile corridor between the Mahoosucs and Moosehead Lake in western Maine is set to open Jan. 17.

The full-service Flagstaff Lake Hut, which sleeps 42 people, is on the east end of Flagstaff Lake by the Bigelow Range and can be accessed by skiers, hikers, snowshoers, and mountain bikers while also providing paddling opportunities in the Carrabassett Valley.

Maine Huts and Trails executive director David Herring says skiers will be able to ski the 11.5 miles between Flagstaff Lake Hut and Poplar Stream Falls Hut, which opened last February. The tour can take between 3-5 hours.

"There is some nice rolling terrain," Herring said.

The organization grooms about 17 miles of trails, which are free to use, but there is a fee for staying in the huts. The new hut will be used in the Feb. 14 Maine Huts Marathon XC Tour and Race, which goes between the Flagstaff Hut and Sugarloaf Outdoor Center. There is more information at www.mainehuts.org.

Fantastic voyage
If you're bored with the chairlift, there's now another option to get to the top of the mountain, the first of its kind in New England. Sugarbush is rolling out its "Lincoln Limo," a 12-passenger luxury mountain-climbing vehicle that will make the Vermont resort the only one in the East to offer cat-serviced backcountry skiing and sightseeing.

Sugarbush has scheduled tours, kids' parties, moonlight skiing, and remote fireside gourmet dining packages involving rides in its new toy, which comes with a flat-screen TV, cushy seats, and beverage service. Diehard skiers might be more enticed by the "April Cabin Cat" promotion, when the Lincoln Limo will be available for private group bookings of spring skiing excursions on the resort's highest peak.

Clinic for veterans
The New England Handicapped Sports Association will sponsor the 12th New England Winter Sports Clinic for Disabled Veterans Jan. 12-16 at Mount Sunapee. The event promotes rehabilitation by instructing physically challenged veterans in adaptive Alpine snowsports. Participation is open to military service veterans with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputation, visual impairments, neurological problems, and other disabilities. Clinics include ski lessons, air rifle shooting, sports massage, snowmobile rides, and an awards banquet. Use of adaptive equipment is included. Details are available at www.nehsa.org.

Give and receive
Those who donate blood at Shawnee Peak Sunday will receive a free one-day lift ticket for another day at the Bridgton, Maine, resort good on weekdays through March 31 . . . Ragged Mountain in Danbury, N.H., has $25 lift tickets for women on Mondays and for seniors (65-plus) on Wednesdays . . . The Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge stops at Ski Ward in Shrewsbury Sunday . . . Wildcat in Pinkham Notch, N.H., is hosting a demo day Saturday.

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