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Friday, March 19, 1999 - Saturday, March 20, 1999 -- Davis
9th Annual Snowy Luau

[Coverage/Recap w/Pics] [Results]
More Pics: [Freestyle & Sync] [NASTAR] [Wee Ski] [Sleds & Slides]

At a Luau you gotta have Hula dancers!
Timberline Resort couldn't have asked for better weather than they received on Saturday, March 20th, during the 9th Annual Snowy Luau weekend. A bright, sunny day with temperatures in the 50's greeted all the visitors on Timberline's ski slopes and on the main lodge's slope-side deck. Grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts, leis, and strategically placed coconut shells, were the attire of choice for the day (along with sunscreen for the wise.) Not only did the colorful outfits bring an air of fun to the slopes, it also got you five dollars off your lift ticket price.

Aside from the general festive atmosphere, there was also some racing to be done. The first event of the day was the Freestyle Snowboard Competition beginning at 10:00 am. While it seems that some boarders must have been more interested in the approaching Pig Roast on the Deck, scheduled for 11:30 am, a fiesty group made it to the top of Lower Thunderstruck to show off their skills. The beauty of the small crowd was that there were enough prizes for all the participants. A pretty nice way to get this party started.

From NASTAR to freestyle, there was plenty of racing for everyone
Next up on the agenda was the Synchronized Skiing Contest on the White Lightning trail. This competition is open to teams of two or more individuals using any type of ski or snowboard. The object is to traverse the slope in the most elegant form of unison. Each group took to the slope with team names like the Villains, Cavaliers, ABsolutely FABulous, and In-sinc. With many of the teams celebrating the day in costume, all the choreographed carving, crisscrossing, and spinning was quite a spectacle.

Maui Wowies
Two of the four Maui Wowies looking good at the Synchronized Skiing Contest
In the end, it was the Wee Ski School instructors Kelly Gilmore, Melissa Ray, Chris Ujvagi, and Kurt Snider taking first place honors as team Maui Wowies. The performance took advantage of their skill in backward skiing that is used to teach youngsters to ski. They traversed down the slope in two pairs with each guy skiing backward facing one of the ladies. Each pair carved wide turns, meeting in the middle of the slope, then spreading out to opposite sides. On every other meeting they would cross paths with each pair weaving through the middle of the other. The Star Chicks, Laurel Hensley, Jenny Reed and Alice Hensley, took second place with another nice display that included synchronized arm motions while waving multi-colored Hawaiian leis. The creativity of all the participants was quite a sight and they all deserve some thanks for helping to put together a wonderful show.

With a quick chance to get a bite for lunch, it was now time to grab some more sunscreen and catch the the 1:00 pm start of the NASTAR slalom racing. Open to the public on an electronically timed course, men and women, young and old, attacked the gates on White Lightning. If your time was good enough relative to your age group and the "Par Time" set by the official pace setter, Tim Worden, you were awarded with a medal and a Power Bar. A pretty good time and a great way to test your skills without the pressure of head-to-head competition.

Hula Hoop
Four-year-old Nate gets to the tricky part in the Wee Ski Race
But, we couldn't wait for the many skiers and snowboarders to complete all their runs before it was 2:00 pm and time to catch the Wee Ski Race put on by the folks at the kids ski school. This "race" was a dual obstacle course consisting of, among other things, a little sledding, some snow shoveling, and a bit of Hula Hooping. There was no timing, there was no scoring, and all the tiny racers received prizes.

Of course everyone made sure that all the kids had a great time running around and playing in the snow. But, it is almost certain that all the moms, dads, and curious adults had equal fun just watching the wee ones scramble around in this frenzy of activity. And in the end, a few adults couldn't resist the urge to act like kids and give themselves a little test through the playhouse of an obstacle course.

Kids Race
Another heat of racers hit the Ski Wee course
Now if the kids weren't enough entertainment, it was time to catch the authentic Hawaiian music and dance group performing on the deck at 3:00 pm. It was a spectacular show complete with hula dancers, conch shells, drums, and twirling flames on torches that burned on both ends. What a great way to fan the excitement for the pending Sleds, Shovels & Sliders Hawaiian Derby slated to start at 4:30 pm.

This timed event was as simple in concept as any Nordic event. The only catch is that no traditional skiing or boarding equipment is allowed. The participants, either solo or in teams, must slide the down Timberline's half pipe and across the finish. The definition of "crossing the finish" states that your time is measured when your sliding craft and at least one person cross the line.

The Ski Mingos navigate their 8-person craft
With an amazing array of sliding contraptions making their way to the top of the run, it was assured that the racing would certainly be something amazing. Whether it was the single person kayaks, the 4-person "catamaran" of team Beaches, Bars and Catamarans, or the incredible vessel (complete with styrofoam cooler at the stern and a tiki figurehead) navigated by the eight-person team of Ski Mingo, everyone was ready for a good time.

When it came to shear speed, the singles had the advantage. It was the simple plastic sled navigated by Wesley Jordan that was able to slide from start to finish in just 13.84 seconds. But nothing was simple in this side-splitting entertainment disguised as a competition. Wesley raced to his winning time in large boots and a full mask just to make it interesting. However, he needed all the advantage he could get from using some excellent luge form. The whitewater (liquid or frozen) kayak navigated by Adventure Pursuit's Susan Klimas glided over the course in 13.85 seconds, a scant one-hundredth of a second slower than Wesley.

A few kayakers did their best to rush in the spring thaw
On the side of pure style and originality, the title went Ski Mingos 20-foot behemoth and it's many decorations. For simple fun, everyone who participated, from the cafeteria trays to the kayaks, deserves credit for putting on a hilarious show for all who dared to watch.

After eight hours of covering (and participating) all the activity on Timberline's slopes, it was time for WVOutside to head home. That's too bad, because the most visual display was still yet to come. At 9:30 pm the Lava Light Display was set to begin. This guaranteed spectacle of a light show starts with over 100 skiers slowly descending the mountain while carrying glowing torches and finishes with a grand fireworks display.

We'll be back next year as will all the fun and games. The only difference is that we will be prepared to take in every bit of the fun from early in the morning until late at night. We're in training now so that we are ready to keep up with the action at this marathon of fun and games.