With heavy snowfall covering the Johnsville Historic Ski Bowl, the single Historic Longboard Revival Race and World Championship of 2018 went off festively Sunday, March 18.
Don Fregulia, Jr. of the Plumas Ski Club noted, “The races were excellent this year! We finally got the right day in terms of weather. The last few years have been a bit touch and go with lots of rainy days, but the race held this year had good weather, and the coordination of all to bring the event together was perfect. I’d say it was one of our most successful races ever.”
Quite a few entities came together to bring the race to fruition, beginning with behind-the-scenes work between the Plumas Ski Club and the Eastern Plumas Recreation District, from painting the lodge, deck work and improvements to the on-site restrooms.
Tom Connolly of EPRD got up long before the sun on the morning of the race to groom the slopes, working with about 16 inches of hard packed snow and 30 inches of soft, creating a smooth surface on the ski hill for the racers.
“A lot of work has been put in here, and it’s all in support of the ski club and to promote this to the community,” Connolly said.
The Clampers Las Plumas Del Oro Chapter 8 attended, as they generally do, with a history of judging races such as this, according to Fregulia.
“Historically, the Clampers were judges at mining camps, as well as security guards,” Fregulia noted.
The Del Oro chapter out of Quincy served as judges yet again, ringing the gong at the starting line at the top of the ski hill, and calling the winners at the red jello finish line at the bottom as the racers flew by in various stages of speed, tumbles, lost ski poles and laughter.
“Luckily we didn’t have any major injuries,” Fregulia noted. “In 26 years, we’ve been lucky to only have one serious injury at the races.” Fortunately, Plumas-Eureka Fire Department and Graeagle Fire Department were both in attendance to provide emergency medical services on the spot if needed.
The Lost Sierra Ramblers were on the deck, merrily playing toe-tapping tunes with the smell of hot dogs, grilled cheese and hamburgers filling the air. The Plumas Ski Club sold plate after plate to hungry event-goers, and ski club members working the beer booth were kept on their toes as beer from the Brewing Lair and Sierra Nevada flowed freely.
“I really want to thank the Brewing Lair and Sierra Nevada for donating the beer for this event,” Fregulia noted. “I also thank Scott and Cheryl Arthur of Ricochet Café for coming and selling kettle corn, as well as food provided by Mike and Lisa Kelly of Moon’s in Quincy.”
Fregulia also noted the teamwork between State Parks and the Plumas County Roads Department. “The PCRD really helped us out with blowing out the parking lot and creating a clear lane up to the ski hill for attendees,” he said gratefully.
With more than 700 in attendance, and cars winding down both sides of the road leading up to the ski hill, the snow clearing was much needed and appreciated by all.
Fregulia also noted his appreciation to EPRD for lending a side-by-side ATV to the event, in order to assist the disabled in getting up the hill.
The day kicked off early, with Sport Success getting the kids from C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School in Portola up the hill from 10 a.m. to noon for kids’ races, sledding, ski scooters, bobsledding and luge, with free hot chocolate provided by the Plumas Ski Club for each kid.
Once the kids finished, many joined the people and dogs of all varieties lined up in the snow and sunshine as the races commenced, with a total of 12 female racers and 37 male racers, most dressed to the nines in period attire.
“If I could give best costume to anyone this year, it would have been Max Egloff in his green spandex suit,” Fregulia laughed. The costumes only added to the feeling that history had come to life for a day in a place echoing with memories of the past.
While a delegation from the International Ski History group was expected, and a special sign printed out and flying in the breeze along the ski hill in honor of their arrival, Fregulia explained that the group had unfortunately been delayed.
John Bartell of CBS attended the event, capturing the music, the skiing and the crowds of happy attendees. Fregulia said he looks forward to seeing the results of the day’s footage.
Plumas-Eureka State Park was involved, with Tim Hardie meeting early arrivals at the ski hill parking lot with pioneer skiing history booklets to give to one and all, and greeting each carload with a smile and a nod that the parking lot was full, meaning many had an extended hike up to the ski hill.
Attendees flocked to the races from as far as Tahoe, with some noting that they had no idea previously of the existence of the ski hill, and agreed that they would be coming back for more next year.
“We’re always thankful for the support of the community,” Fregulia said. “With everyone so willing to jump in and help, it truly makes this event a success.”
Fregulia noted that the next big event for the Plumas Ski Club would be preparing for the Lost Sierra Hoedown, a music festival generally held around September.
“All of the funds raised by the Plumas Ski Club, a 501c3, from the races and the music festival go right back into the hill,” Fregulia stressed.
“If all goes well, there is potential for the Hoedown to bring in enough funds for us to get the rope tow going on the bunny hill — we’ve got to get a solid power source for the lift, as currently we utilize portable generators for our events.”
Just days before the first day of spring, the Plumas Ski Club and all longboard skiing enthusiasts breathed a sigh of contentment with yet another fantastic race day in the history books, looking forward to the Hoedown to come. For more information, visit plumasskiclub.org.