Winter X was ‘awesome’

 Connor Goodwillie competed in a USASA rail jam.

Connor Goodwillie competed in a USASA rail jam.

Winter X Games draws tens of thousands of fans to Aspen each January for what is arguably the biggest stage in the world for extreme skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers.

Along with Dylan Thompson, who picked up a bronze medal in the snowboard street contest, this year Hood River was represented by high school snowboarder Connor Goodwillie and skier Tucker Fitzsimons. The two participated in an invite-only rail jam competition on the same course of jumps and rails as the main X Games street event was held. They earned invites after catching the attention of the USA Snowboarding Association during the USASA organized Mt. Hood Rail Jam series held earlier this winter at Mt. Hood Meadows.

“It was an awesome experience to be there,” Goodwillie said of the event. “There were so many people watching; it was definitely the biggest crowd I’ve competed in front of. I also got to watch some of my favorite snowboarders compete, which was super exciting and motivating.”

Goodwillie, a senior, recently moved to Hood River from White Salmon and is expected to be one of the top snowboarders on the Hood River Valley High School team this season.

For Fitzsimons, the sentiment was much the same, and although neither of the two made it into the final round of the contest, both said the trip was more about the experience than the result.

“The course was fun but pretty sketchy,” he said. “On one of the rails, if you fell off it was like a 20-foot drop. The course was right next to the snowmobile events so there were definitely a lot of people watching us. It made me a little nervous, but also got me pumped up. Even though I didn’t place I feel like I did pretty well for myself.”

As a freshman, Fitzsimons is already making a statement on the HRVHS freestyle ski team, where he is giving older teammates a real run for their money.

Both boys say their focus for the rest of the season will be to continue to improve, land some “sick” new tricks, qualify for state and hopefully finish on the podium at their strongest events.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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