By KIM LOCCISANO
Times Leader Staff Writer
Snowboarding is a thrill-packed sport for everyone from beginners to world-class professional and amateur athletes. These people increasingly plan their work and play opportunities around the growing number of high quality events being added to the schedules for slopes at resorts across the U.S.
The event schedule at the nearby Seven Springs Resort stands as solid proof the snow sports considered as standards for such top quality sites view snowboarding to be a serious business that is, at its core, all about offering quality challenges and experiences in a professionally maintained environment made as safe as possible for participants by professional crews.
Snowboarders and those who enjoy skiing know they can count on the quality of large events at such sport focused resorts like Seven Springs.
On Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4 and 5, for the first time ever, Seven Springs will host the Gatorade Free Flow Tour, the official amateur series of the Winter Dew Tour. In its third season, the Winter Gatorade Free Flow Tour will search the country's premier mountains, giving top amateurs the once-in-a-lifetime chance to go from "Flow to Pro."
The goal is to find top amateur talent from across the country while giving snowboarders and freeskiers of all abilities the opportunity to have fun while competing in a contest.
On the other hand, when schedules and other real life reality check details are entered in the mix, the desire to look a little closer to home for time on the slopes can be enjoyed at areas such as Oglebay Resort and Conference Center's Ski and Snowboarding area at 465 Lodge Drive, Wheeling.
Daily hours and conditions for Oglebay's slopes are readily available by calling 304-243-4177 or on the Internet at www.oglebay-resort.com.
Information regarding rental equipment and lessons can be found at the ski lodge or by calling to reserve lesson or clinic times by calling 304-243-4049.
The local ski lodge is also the place to connect with ski clinics and snowboard clinics for youngsters from ages five to 12.
With the reopening of the local slopes several years ago, related businesses came into being: Alpine Skis and Boards. Located at the foot of Oglebay Hill at 268 Bethany Pike, owner Paul W. Exley and his expert staff are happy to help clear up any confusion that can sometimes come along with the experience of learning a new sport.
They also provide access to and knowledgeable advice about the proper gear and attire to gather together before heading to any venue for snow sports in general-whether you plan to participate or to observe.
For quick, but quality, references concerning safety tips for a trip to any slopes home to snowboarding or skiing, Exley offers skiing tips with the help of about.com. Some suggestions include:
"If you consider those who routinely wear protective headgear, including football and baseball players, construction workers, horseback riders, rock climbers, bicyclers, auto racers, and motorcycle riders, it certainly makes sense that skiers should be just as careful. The most important safety tip that I would personally give to any level skier, is to wear a certified helmet," said Mike Doyle on skiing.about.com.
More information about the events and resources of Seven Springs Mountain Resort which is located at 777 waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs, Pa 15622, by calling 1-800-452-2223 or on the web at www.7springs.com