A new name, but goal remains | SteamboatToday.com

A new name, but goal remains

Nordic Council promotes sport

— The group’s Web site has a new name, but the goal and purpose of the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council remains unchanged.

“Absolutely not,” Dave Miller responded when asked whether the Steamboat Nordic Council was shifting its focus. “In fact, we are expanding it.”

Miller is the president of the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council, which created and maintains the Nordic Center of the Rockies Web site. Miller said the site has received 37,000 hits this year. He believes the new name reflects the group’s more regional appeal – especially because it works with several Nordic centers outside of Steamboat Springs.

“Our goal is to drive interest in Nordic skiing, and not just locally,” Miller said.

The council says its efforts to promote Nordic centers in Routt County have already resulted in more out-of-town and out-of-state visitors who want to take advantage of incredible facilities such as the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, Howelsen Hill, Vista Verde, Steamboat Lake State Park Touring Center and, new this year, the Latigo Ranch.

The Web site also provided a great source of information for the Nordic Challenge Race Series. This year’s series includes six races beginning with the first race at Howelsen Hill on Dec. 20. Other events on this year’s competitive schedule include the New Year’s Relay at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center on Dec. 30, the Steamboat Stampede at the Ski Touring Center on Jan. 6, the Steamboat Ski Marathon at Catamount on Feb. 17 and the Steamboat Ski-Athalon on Feb 19. The third annual North Routt Coureur des Bois is scheduled for March 17. Visitors to the site can also find current weather information including forecasts for the area.

Because the council is a non-profit organization, it depends on the sale of the Valley Pass and Visitor’s Pass to support its efforts each winter. It also raises money through donations and race registration fees from the Nordic Challenge, which are then funneled back to the Nordic community through the council.

Miller said local skiers have been very supportive of the council and seem to understand that driving more Nordic skiers to this area will ensure that the sport, and the groomed venues where skiers like to ski, will be preserved for years to come.

Capra said one of the best ways to support Nordic skiing in our area is through the Valley Pass. The money from sales allows the Nordic Council to groom several trails in the area including those great escapes in the heart of downtown at Howelsen Hill and one of the area’s most popular early season destinations, Bruce’s Trail, which opened a couple of weeks ago.

“One of our biggest expenses is grooming,” Capra said. “We ask the skiers who use Bruce’s to make donations, but it’s pretty expensive to maintain it.”

The council typically foots the bill for grooming the trail at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass at a cost of $75 per hour. Miller said the trail takes about three hours to groom and is usually groomed on Friday and Saturday when use is heavy. But the trail is also groomed each time it snows.

Valley Passes are on sale for $295 through Nov. 30. Then the pass, which allows unlimited skier days during the season at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, Lake Catamount Ski Touring Center, Vista Verde Nordic Center and Howelsen Hill Nordic Center, will cost $375.

The Nordic council also offers the Family Pass, which allows all members of a household consisting of two adults and children younger than 18 unlimited skier days at the same Nordic centers as the Valley Pass. Skiers younger than 18 can also purchase the junior pass for $100.

The medallion is a great buy for businesses. This pass, which costs $1,000, can be transferred among members of a work place.

Miller insists that the passes are a great value for local skiers, and a great way to support Nordic skiing in the valley.

He said local Nordic skiers could go out and spend $195 for a season pass to the Steamboat Ski Touring Center or buy the Valley Pass for $295 and get access to Catamount, Steamboat Lake, Vista Verde and Howelsen. The Valley Pass is on sale now at the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, Ski Haus and at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center after Wednesday.