Steamboat to host Nordic combined event Saturday |

Steamboat to host Nordic combined event Saturday

Luke Graham

— As home to one of the only ski jumps in the world currently open for the season, Steamboat Springs will play host Saturday to a Nordic combined competition featuring skiers from the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic and possibly France.

The event begins with a morning jump at Howelsen Hill before a cross-country event at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. The jumping will begin at 10 a.m. with cross-country to follow at 3 p.m.

"It's our winter opening and the first competition," said Martin Bayer, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Nordic combined coach. "We're getting ready and up to speed."

The event should feature most of the top Americans on the development team, including Nick Hendrickson, Brett Denney, Cliff Field and Michael Ward. The competition also will feature the Czech Republic's development team, several special jumpers, a couple Canadian skiers and possibly the French team.

"It's getting the bib on them and getting them ready for pressured jumps," Bayer said.

The Development Team is in town with the other national teams for several reasons. One, Steamboat is one of the only places in the world where jumping and skiing is available at this stage of winter. Two, Saturday's competition serves as a good precursor to the opening stages of the Continental Cup.

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The Continental Cup begins Dec. 9 to 11 in Park City, Utah. Another event is Dec. 16 to 18 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

"We're definitely ahead of the game more than other teams," Bayer said. "There are not many teams jumping on snow right now. These guys look pretty good to me. We're hoping for a lot of Continental Cup points."

This weekend's get-together also marks the continued success of the American and Czech Republic development teams working together.

With Bayer being from the Czech Republic, the two countries have worked closely together the past two years.

In August, the American team had a monthlong training camp in Europe, where they stayed with members of the Czech Republic team. Now the Americans are paying back the favor.

"Having this team around from the Czech Republic helps us see the level we need to be at," Bayer said. "This raises the bar for both teams. We'll be more competitive with the other teams that are better funded. That's what we're hoping for. We want our relationship with the Czech Republic to make us more competitive."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email

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