First Tracks in Sept
The streets of San Francisco,the almost Final chapter
Is a Lombard st. Skier Cross in the future?
FROM SF CHRONICLE/SFgate and a very cooperative Carolyn Jones
With almost no breeze and temperatures approaching 80 in San Francisco, dump trucks roared into Pacific Heights and began unloading 200 tons of snow on a steep Fillmore Street hill.
It was setup day for today's Icer Air 2005 -- a Tahoe-area company's promotional ski-jump spectacle that some nearby residents tried to stop over concern about neighborhood disruption, safety and liability.
"We're not sure why, but someone at the city seems determined for some reason to see this event go through at any cost," Crisp added. "The neighbors are deeply concerned."
After several delays, event organizers secured the last of their permits Tuesday night -- less than 24 hours before they started closing the streets around the intersection of Fillmore and Vallejo, where the ski jumpers will soar today.
The event was organized by Icer, a spray-on ski wax and apparel seller based in Verdi, Nev., and founded by Glen Griffin and Erik Gordon. Gordon, it turns out, played baseball with a young Gavin Newsom at Redwood High School in Marin County in the mid-1980s.
Griffin told The Chronicle that the idea for Icer Air had been hatched with Olympic skier Jonny Moseley, whose clothing line Icer sells, at the Balboa Cafe on Fillmore Street, which is owned by PlumpJack, the restaurant and resort company founded by the mayor.
"I'm sure the mayor doesn't even know that PlumpJack is a sponsor," Ragone said last week.
Organizers hit some obstacles while trying to obtain city street-closure and sound permits for Icer Air -- and they agreed to some midcourse corrections.
Ultimately, the city bureaucracy proved accommodating.
In August, when complaints about the event started to reach City Hall, including those from a bride who planned to be married at the Flood mansion on Broadway, the mayor asked Icer to postpone the competition, originally scheduled for Aug. 27.
Icer delayed and agreed to reapply for permits. Organizers also tried to respond to neighborhood concerns, holding community meetings to answer questions, moving the event from a weekend to a weekday and promising other changes.
On Wednesday, crowds gathered to watch contractors set up barricades, rails and cables -- and roll a gray indoor-outdoor carpet down Fillmore Street from Broadway to Green. The carpet is meant to hold the snow in place.
Snow will be made on site by ice machines. Some of it was spread on the hill Wednesday afternoon, and a fresh batch will be laid down today. The ski jump is supposed to have 10 feet of snow and be held together with rails and cables.
Today at noon, thousands of ski fans and curiosity seekers are expected to watch Moseley, who grew up in Marin, and 20 other professional skiers and snowboarders ski down Fillmore, soar off a ski jump at the Vallejo intersection, perform midair tricks and, it is hoped, land near Green Street. Bales of hay will protect them from skiing into oncoming traffic if they can't stop in time.
"We're definitely coming out to see the snow -- or slush -- tomorrow," said Katie Gorman of San Francisco, the nanny of the 3-year-old child she brought along to watch the setup Wednesday. "I don't know about the weather, though. It'll be great footage, with the blue sky, but I don't know if they can keep it icy."
Icer is donating some of its proceeds to Hurricane Katrina relief and a group called Boarders for Breast Cancer, the company says.
To placate neighbors and the city, Icer also is paying for dozens of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and private security to be present throughout the event. They've also banned food and alcohol.
"I don't know what all the neighbors are complaining about," said Frankie Marx, who's lived in the neighborhood for 37 years and was out Wednesday to watch Moseley direct the contractors. "They should just relax and have fun, then come back to my apartment for champagne afterward."
Courtesy of Carolyn Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.