Undaunted by poor weather and somewhat soggy conditions, the February 20 “Historic Longboard Revival Series” race took place two weeks ago at Johnsville’s “Ski Gold Mountain”, previously known as Plumas Eureka Ski Bowl. The Plumas Ski Club held the event with the spirited cooperation of “Gold Mountain”. In true Lost Sierra pioneer spirit, 17 men and 6 women took part in the races. Many racers came from out of the area just to see or participate while over 100 people watched the festivities. Local racers won in both the men's and women's races taking home both prize awards and cash. Organizers were very happy with the turnout and look forward to a great season finale at the World Championship Longboard Race scheduled for March 19.
With the cooperation of “race dignitaries” from the local clampers, John C. Gallagher took starting duties accompanied by Carl Clark, Dave “Slot Machine” Piersen, and canyon master Bill Dore. A brief history of longboards was presented prior to the race heat numbers draw. Racers were reminded of the rules including “no cheatin’ or spittin’ ” and the required use of historically styled clothing, skis, boots, and waxes.
On a very slow race course, both men and women of varying ages pushed off in race after race jumping at the sound of the “gongmasters” saw blade “clang”. In true race spirit in damp snow, some racers had to push with pole strokes to get across the finish line. Racers with the right wax concoctions, and a good hard poling start had more success. Despite the slow race track, spectators seemed to have a great time cheering on the revival series racers helping keep the historic spirit of longboarding alive. Longboard racing dates back to the 1850’s in Plumas and Sierra Counties making it the home of the first ski racing in America and the entire western hemisphere. The old mine ore bucket “tram” which historically ran up and down Eureka Peak (formerly known as “Gold Mountain”) is reportedly the first ski lift in the world. In women's and men's races, Sue McCourt of Sloat and Rob Russell of Quincy placed first. Both McCourt and Russell are past race winners. In the women's division, Carol Burney of Quincy finished second followed by Sue Jackson of “Elizabeth Town” in a near “photo finish”. Chris Baugher of Artois near Chico came in second in the men's division followed by Mat “Rad” Radkey of Quincy. A total cash purse of $300 donated by Gold Mountain was distributed to the winners along with lift passes and newly released longboard shirts. Given the good turnout despite the poor weather, organizers are expecting the “World Championship” final season race to be a “uniquely spirited event”. The final race will take place on Sunday, March 19
The World Championship “Historic Longboard Revival Series” race grand
finale is open to club members and the public for a modest fee of $15-
$25. Entry includes use of 10-15 foot authentic wood longboard skis, ski
“dope” (historic style wax), and a single wooden ski pole used for starting
and hopefully stopping. Leather boots are required for racing along with
some attempt at a historic, circa 1870’s pioneer outfit. Spectators
are also encouraged to wear historic attire. Prizes will be awarded
for the best get-ups. New 2000 longboard T-shirts should be available
for sale along with food and refreshments. Many new hand crafted skis should
arrive at the hill come race day following another FRC longboard class!
Along with registration and officiating by the ski club, ECV clampers will
once again be officiating and “watching out for cheaters”.
As always, public participation is highly encouraged whether for
racing or simply watching the fun oriented women's and men's race heats.
Practice runs for the March 19th World Championship will be from around
10a.m. to noon followed by racing in groups of two or three lasting until
around 3:30 p.m. Many, many prizes will be presented for the best historic
spectator and racer outfits, best crashes, and of course the fastest racers.
Live music will be going, weather permitting in the afternoon. As
a special new addition to this year's festivities, Gold Mountain may have
a dance party at the ski hill lodge the evening of the 18th. For
further information on the races and ski conditions at Ski Gold Mountain,
call 836-2317, the Plumas County Visitors Bureau 283-6345, or the Eastern
Plumas Chamber of Commerce at 832-5444.