March 16 event at Ski Park being dedicated to Dr. Parker

Seniors ages 50 and over will hit the slopes of the Mt. Shasta Ski Park March 16 to show that, contrary to the name of the race, they are not “over the hill.”

The Seventh Annual Over the Hill Classic Ski/Board Race is being dedicated to Dr. Jim Parker, one of the race’s co-founders. Parker said the event began when he bet Michael Zanger, Shasta Mountain Guides founder and author of the most famous guide to climbing Mount Shasta, that he could beat him in a snowboard race.

“We created the race so we could see who was best,” Parker said. “I beat him by 10 seconds three years in a row.”

Parker recently retired from his medical practice due to health issues, but he said he will try to compete in this year’s race.

“One reason for creating this event is so we all have a chance to win the gold in our life,” Parker said. “Just look around you, we will never stop being athletes as long as we can put the boots on.”

Parker is also the creator of the Mountain Runners July 4th Fun Run/Walk that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years for projects in Mount Shasta.

Sign-ups for the Over The Hill race begin on race morning at the Ski Park from 8 to 9 a.m. The first run starts at 10 a.m. The second run starts approximately one hour after the first runs. An awards ceremony follows. The cost is $25.

The event raises funds for the beautification of Mount Shasta as part of the efforts by the Mountain Runners. A raffle will be held for merchandise and services donated by local merchants, including a season pass from the Ski Park, four rounds of golf courtesy of Mount Shasta Resort, and a pack from The Fifth Season.

Art style posters of the event and specially engraved glasses will also be for sale.

Event organizers say, “The intent of this fun event is to demonstrate that seniors do possess a healthy competitive spirit. Even if you have never done gates before and possess intermediate skills, this event is still for you!”

Race categories are by age and separated by snowboard, alpine ski and telemark. The course is a two-run giant slalom on an intermediate run off the Douglas lift, with the gates placed so that, with care, participants can negotiate the course without being expert skiers. The race is designed to be fun, not torturous.

Each participant takes two runs, times are recorded and ribbons awarded to the top three in each age category in an awards ceremony. The raffle drawing takes place at the ceremony.

In the spirit of the event, participants are encouraged to come in “retro” ski outfits or whatever fun costume they desire.

The Mountain Runners have funded many projects including planting 350 deciduous liquidambar trees along Mount Shasta’s Main Street, new industrial lights in the trees downtown, mini-park at Castle Street and N. Mt. Shasta Blvd., benches and planters, E. Castle Street trees and W. Castle Street trees. Additional Runners projects include the old fashioned classical street lights, the downtown clock, downtown thermometer, benches, the City Plaza and the median strip on Lake Street. A new plaza courtesy of the Runners is taking shape at the north end of downtown.

The Mt. Shasta Ski Park has hosted the Over the Hill race since its inception.

“We’re delighted to host the Over the Hill,” said Park marketing director Jim Mullins, “The Mount Shasta Ski Park wants to be an important part of the community, both economically and socially.”

The Ski Park is located on Hwy. 89 at the summit between the cities of Mount Shasta and McCloud.

Among event’s supporters and merchants donating to the raffle are The Fifth Season, Mt. Shasta Ski Park, Mount Shasta Resort, Pepsi Mount Shasta, Berryvale, Directions, Sportsmen’s Den, Book Nook, Soul Connections, Language Quest, The Shirt Factory, Pomodoro, Alpine Originals, Tri Counties Bank, New2You Second Hand Store, Ace Hardware, Suzie’s, Sereni-Tea, Cresswell Physical Therapy and Hand Rehabilitation, Jon Thomas Fine Jewelry, and Village Books.