The mountainous berms of snow piled by plows during the winter at Lake Tahoe’s huge parking lots normally slowly melt away in springtime, dirty and undignified. No so this year at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, where heavy machinery spread the frozen mass into a course for Saturday’s final round of the American Motorcycle Association’s Snow Bike Series National Championship.
The sport was created in 2009 at the Idaho Winter Carnival with an event that had 26 racers. It has grown into a seven-event series held in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. The Lake Tahoe event was postponed earlier this winter, which started out like a near-drought. Snowfall lately hasn’t been enough to declare a Miracle March II, but there is enough of it to hold the final snow bike races of the season. This will be the first professional snow bike event held in the Sierra Nevada, organizers say.
There are pro and amateur men’s and women’s classes. Gates open at 1 p.m., practice start at 2 and the races begin at 3. Racing will conclude by 7 p.m. The awards will be presented in the new Vibe stage located in the center of the casino floor from 7 to 9 p.m. Guests will be able to hang on at the Hard Rock’s Snow Bar, check out the demo tents, listen to music and warm by the fire throughout the day. Adult tickets are $15.
The pro men’s division will be decided at Tahoe. Keaton Ward, who won the March 11 event at West Yellowstone, Montana, leads with 325 points. Jimmy Jarrett and Josh Hill are close behind with 320 points. Hill has won three races, with both Jarrett and Ward winning two.
Shayna Lied has dominated the women’s class, winning all six races. Jacqueline Riess has clinched second place.
Jeremy Deming has won the last two races and leads the senior class, which is for racers 40 years and older. Jeff Davis is in second, ahead of a bunched field with Jason Weis, Jake Neill, Zach Evans and Gary McNeil.