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Knee-deep in snow gear

Not all snow competitions take place on the slopes. The fastest tire-chain installer wins $200 at the Sacramento Ski & Snowboard Show this weekend. (Can anyone beat the winning time of 20.5 seconds clocked in January at an “I Survived the Winter Storm of 2004" party held in Tualatin, Ore.?) The quick-fingered may be one text message away from winning a Slopecycle -- think snowboards with bike handles -- in a novel giveaway in which cellphone users call a number and punch in their names to enter. But most of the 21,000 who turn out annually for this snow-sport fest at the California Exposition Center simply ogle or purchase discounted skis, snowboards and related equipment and clothing, says promoter Judy Gray. “It’s either new or last year’s gear, marked down 40% to 70%,” she says. Other highlights: indoor ski lessons on an 80-foot-long, 12-foot-high ramp carpeted in pseudo-snow, below, and rail slide demonstrations on 20 tons of freshly made snow. The $15 admission for adults includes a free lift ticket at one of two Tahoe-area resorts (restrictions on dates); $3 for children 6 to 11 (no free lift ticket); free for children younger than 6. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The even bigger L.A. Ski Show & Snowboard Expo comes to the L.A. Convention Center from Dec. 2 to 5, but so do the crowds: 90,000 are expected to attend.

-- Mary Forgione


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