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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
March 25, 2009     Feather River Bulletin
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March 25, 2009

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Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter Wednesday, March 25, 2009 lC S and ama rle neg ric Io Shannon Morrow Sports Editor sports@plu Wind and snow greeted folks as they arrived at the historic longboard revival races March 15, but the in- clement weather couldn't dampen the festive atmos- phere always associated with the event. A record number 62 racers competed, as 46 men and 16 women came to the Plumas Eureka Ski Bowl in hopes of winning the final race of the year to be named world champion. The snow was fresh, but it was very sticky, which made the course much slower than normal. To racers, it felt like hid- den patches of carpet were staggered down the course, which caused their skis to unexpectedly slow down and speed up. These "catch and release" conditions caused many hu- morous crashes, much to the amusement of the crowd. Under such circumstances, the dope wax that racers ap- plied to the bottom of their skis was vitally important. In each race, it was obvious which competitors had good dope and which did not. Those without adequate dope had to fight harder to stay upright, and many need- ed to use their single ski poles to propel themselves across the finish line. "You've got to have the right dope," said Scott Law- son, the dopemaster for the Plumas Ski Club. "It's trial and error." Because the right dope is so important to winning, the phrase ':dppe- is king" has en- Sue Jackson, left, passes Dana Ludington in the women's final race March 15. Ludington had faster dope and led most of the race, but Jackson was able to stay upright and was first across the finish line. Photo by Shannon Morrow dured for almost 150 years, original races, original dope recipes from to the rule on dope. Racers would hire a dope-the 1860s, but it has become On the other hand, dope Dope master to concoct dope much harder to obtain since has become a great excuse Practically the only real recipes for the specific snow the crackdown on whaling,for losing. If somebody beats rule in longboard racing is conditions, and then the win- With so much effort beingyou and you thought you that modern ski waxes and Ring racers would often split put into creating fast dope should have beat them, sim- any other synthetic lubrica- half their earnings with the out of natural ingredients, it ply accuse them of cheating. tions are prohibited. Only dopemaster, would be a sin for racers to It is a common joke among natural dope wax can be These days, racers still try cheat by using regular ski racers to accuse each other of used. to create winning dope mix- wax. using modern ski wax, and it This rule keeps with the tures using paraffin, candles, Granted, it is hard to know is hard to tell whether the historical accuracy of the beeswax and other naturalif competitors are using nat- joke comes from half truths event. The historic longboard products, ural dope or synthetic wax, or if it stems from bruised revival races re-create the The night before the race, so it is difficult to enforce egos. birth of ski racing in this Lawson knew the snow sucharule. Ultimately, the ambiguity area 150 years ago, and much would be wet so he brewed a The event has always re- associated with dope can be effort is put into keeping batch of soft dope containing lied on the honor system; but viewed as a favorable part of everything authentic, paraffin, turpentine, glycerin at times people's honor has the races. The whole spirit of The hand-built skis, his- and beeswax candles, been brought into question, the event is more about fun toric attire, live music and Some racers are even This is especially true and camaraderie than it is course setup all adhere to searching for old spermaceti when the traditionally fastest about competition. The con- how the races were in the wax from the head of sperm racers are defeated by new- tentions about dope simply 1860s, and dope was usually whales. Spermaceti was ancomers or out-of-towners add to the quirky charm of the deciding .fa ar of the essential iagredient in the who might not .have adhered the longboardrevival. ....... Blackbeards With snow conditions so sticky at the race, dope be- came more of an issue, and the fastest skiers had to de- fend against mumbled accu- sations from competitors they beat. A few racers on the moun- tain, in particular a band of younger racers calling them- selves the blackbeards, had better dope than the rest and slid down the course with rel- ative ease. As expected, the black- beards' dope was quickly brought into question, espe- cially by those rooting for the greybeards, because the grey- beards traditionally win. Folks became suspicious of the blackbeards because they were using the same wax kit, which gave them a consider- able advantage over the oth- er cpmpetitors. However, after separately interrogating the suspect rac- ers and inspecting their dope, it was deemed that there was no foul play, and the blackbeards' meager hon- or remained intact. Their success was not in using prohibited ski wax, but rather in the application of their dope. Using brand new paraffin, the blackbeards took a great deal of effort and time to ap- ply it as expertly as possible. Many other racers were al- so skiing on carefully-applied paraffin, but the blackbeards' secret weapon was a semi- soft bristle brush that only they possessed. After each run, the black- beards were diligent about applying and scraping a new coat of paraffin and then See.Races, page 8C DON1" MISS THESE PRE-OWNED DEALS: HURRY IN FOR THESE PRE-OWNED DEALS: spoiler, leather, CD, fast car! Stk #19914, Vin #151308 0It 0~* for 7"2 me &'l,000 Cuhl Sahara edition, 3 piece hard top, power group. Stk #60158, Vin #613025 Rear spoiler, CD. 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