Wednesday, January 28, 2009

South Shore sports commission

unedited 12/08 tahoe mt. news

By Kathryn Reed

With startup money from South Lake Tahoe, South Shore recreation enthusiasts have formed a local sports commission whose purpose is to bring athletes to town.
Economics is at the root of the plan – getting people to stay a few nights, eat out, have sore muscles massaged, buy souvenirs and spend money wherever they can. In return for dropping greenbacks, visitors will become one with this outdoor playground.
Although the possibilities seem limitless, the initial focus is on the community track at South Tahoe Middle School. It is underused, the newest venue in the region, and offers something for various ages and ability levels.
“We tried to focus on what we can do this (next) year with the money we have. What do we have that is really cool that no one else has? It got back to the track,” said Mike Frye, sales and events manager with Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
Frye envisions it being more than just the oval. Music, food and other vendor booths could be part of the mix.
“There isn’t anything that isn’t a possibility at this time,” said Frye, who was a sports science major in college. “It promotes Lake Tahoe and our brand as an outdoor adventure capital.”
LTVA is using $5,000 from the city to get the sports commission off the ground. In November, Frye convened representatives from Lake Tahoe Unified, South Lake Tahoe Recreation Department, Douglas County Recreation Department and a couple other sports nuts. Monthly meetings are planned. December’s already took place.
“Our direction is to be out of the event producing business and be in the finding producers and helping then promote an event,” Frye said of LTVA’s philosophy.
Right now commissioners are evaluating what venues the South Shore has for potential events, what events they would like to see take place, what should be done first and what the future could hold.
Besides track and field events, bringing softball-baseball-soccer tournaments to town for youths and adults is being bandied about. Frye knows local fields are packed in the summer. Removing locals for the sake of making a few bucks is not the plan.
Transportation issues are being discussed. But Frye likes the idea of introducing participants to fields at Zephyr Cove and at Lake Tahoe Community College so they see more of the area. With BlueGo revamping its bus operation, it may be called into service.
Scott Morgan from Douglas County brought up the idea of disc golf tournaments. Diverse, breathtaking courses exist between Zephyr Cove and Kirkwood.
Promoting Tahoe’s rugged mountain biking terrain was mentioned. Kirkwood has the only bike park on the South Shore. Liability issues are a concern – a reason Mammoth doesn’t have races anymore.
BMX is another possibility.
Bringing back a triathlon is possible. In the 1980s people came to swim-bike-run.
“If we could get an Iron Man … what that would mean to our community,” Frye speculated.
Hockey and skating events could be staged at the city’s indoor rink.
Zephyr Cove used to host a well regarded tennis tournament. When it was Caesars, professional matches were played there. This could all be resurrected.
Frye’s background is in skiing, so the commission is likely to tap his expertise.
In the near future the commission will have a page on LTVA’s website touting what it’s all about, how to be involved and what’s coming up.

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