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Monday, April 16, 2012
A train for good

For the fifth consecutive year, the High Fives Foundation -- a Tahoe-based nonprofit that helps skiers with life-threatening injuries -- hosted Trains, a slopestyle contest with a charitable focus that was held Saturday at Alpine Meadows, Calif.

Participants in this year's Trains contest ranged from local pro and amateur rippers to some of the world's top pros, including Nick Goepper, Tanner Rainville, Parker White, Chris Logan, and Michelle Parker. Pro snowboarder Danny Toumarkine made his return to competition at Trains after suffering a traumatic brain injury last season.

Goepper, fresh off a second place finish at the Dumont Cup, made the trip to Tahoe to participate in Trains for his second time. "I travel all the way to Tahoe for Trains because it is one of the most fun and laid back events of the year," says Goepper. "It also benefits charity which is a pleasant bonus."

Trains 2012 had three categories: best 540, best male, and best female, decided in a jam format. All the earnings would be donated to charities of the athletes' choosing. Andy McDowell won for best 540, donating $1,000 to the Tahoe-based charity Ski Duck. Marta Krusell took top honors for the women donating $1,000 to the Shane McConkey Foundation. Winter X Games silver medalist Goepper won the best male category and opted to send his $1,000 earnings to the Reeve Irvine Research Center.

The winners then chose teams and started running trains through Alpine's park. The teams attacked the course, hitting the jumps rapid-fire with as many as five competitors in the air at the same time. The Green Team, captained by Andy McDowell, won that portion of the contest and an additional $2,000 to be donated to the Shane McConkey Foundation.

"Trains is a way to bring skiers and snowboarders together to spread the name of High Fives, have fun, and eat a ton of chicken wings," said Roy Tuscany, founder of the High Fives Foundation. "It's still to date the most fun fundraiser we do every year."

Trains was first held in 2008 at Sugar Bowl. This year was Alpine Meadows' fourth consecutive year hosting the event. "We absolutely love hosting Trains," says Jenny Kendrick, Alpine Meadows' spokesperson. "It's a spectacular event involving high caliber skiers and riders. It's quite the display of talent and all in the name of charity."