Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. gets its Nordic on at Haymaker
December 20, 2013
If you go
Haymaker Nordic Clubhouse
• Skiing and clubhouse open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
• Lunch and ski combo: cross-country trail pass and lunch, $25
• Trails passes full day/or pass after 1 p.m.: Adult $18/$16; children 12 and younger $12/$10; seniors 65 and older $12
• Haymaker season pass: Adult $195, senior $99, children 18 and younger $75
• Holders of any local Nordic pass as well as Steamboat Alpine season pass* may add Haymaker for $99
*Haymaker is expected to be built into the 2014/2015 Nordic Valley Pass
• Lessons and rentals are available
• Call Haymaker Nordic Center: 970-879-9444
• Book through Central Reservations: 970-879-0740
• Haymaker Patio Grill: 970-879-1265
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs Nordic community moved a step closer toward its goal of being a more complete cross-country skiing and snowshoeing destination Friday when Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. opened more than 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) of wide, rolling groomed trails at the city's Haymaker Golf Course.
Veteran local restaurant and guest ranch operator Jon Hawes is managing the luncheon service that rounds out the Nordic operation at Haymaker, and Birgitta Lindgren and her staff at the long-standing Steamboat Ski Touring Center on Rollingstone Golf Course also are operating the ski shop and lesson programs at Haymaker.
"This is a fantastic venue for winter recreation, and we're so happy to be able to partner with Birgitta to offer this product," Ski Corp. Vice President of Resort Services Jim Snyder said. Minutes later, he took off on a pair of classic skis to complete the 4K Yampa View Trail.
Residents and visitors to the Yampa Valley enjoy Nordic skiing at Steamboat Lake State Park, the city's Howelsen Hill — where some of the steepest terrain is — and the wide open spaces of Lake Catamount. Lindgren's touring center has been a mainstay for three decades.
She said Haymaker offers a skiing experience the others don't, and as a group, they all add up to more diversity for skiers.
"This is a good addition to Nordic in the valley," she said. "Every place is unique. Haymaker will introduce a lot of new skiers to the sport."
Snyder likened the value of increasing the diversity of Nordic skiing opportunities here to a golf destination, where vacationers want to sample several distinct links in the course of a five-day vacation.
The fairways and cart paths of the golf course offer gently rolling terrain with some surprises, including a few quick hills that are steep but easy to overcome because of their brevity. And there are some sections with some twists and turns. But most of the trails gently roll over the former hay meadow where the views into the Priest Creek Alpine trails on Mount Werner are grand.
Snyder said he began thinking about the possibility of Nordic at Haymaker almost as soon as Ski Corp.'s new dinner sleigh ride service was up. He confirms that expanding Nordic options is viewed as a way to keep aging baby boomers involved in winter vacations while visiting here with younger members of the families.
Hawes said the goal is to provide a full-service lodge experience that is missing from the valley's Nordic scene. The golf clubhouse at Haymaker has towering ceilings, large windows overlooking the trails and a fireplace. The adapted golf pro shop is makes one of the nicest Nordic ski shops anywhere.
As a skiing experience, Haymaker provide a secure learning experience for novices. But it also will afford intermediates ideal terrain in which to challenge themselves to tackle the more rigorous V2 skating technique. It involves the skier poling on every skating stride instead of every other stride.
Kathy Yeiser, Snyder's executive assistant, said Ski Corp. carefully structured the Nordic program to allow parents to enroll their children in Alpine ski school and then catch a free shuttle to Haymaker at the Gondola Transit Center at 9:15 a.m. or 12:15 p.m. The early shuttle allows time to arrive for a group lesson and enjoy lunch in the dining room in time to return to the base of Mount Werner before their children's lesson is over.