Group seeks a Cup of volunteers

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— Howelsen Hill will be the site of a Nordic Combined World Cup international ski event for the seventh time in as many years during the week of Jan. 22 through 27, but already, the search for volunteers is well under way.

Competition Secretary Kathi Meyer said she is looking for "attaches" who not only speak a language such as Norwegian or German but who are willing to take past and future Olympians grocery shopping or help them check into their rooms.

"It's traditional in Steamboat that we provide not only language assistance, but hosts and hostesses for the athletes during the week they are here in Steamboat," Meyer said.

In her role, Meyer's primary responsibility is running the administrative side of the event.

People who don't speak Finnish or Russian, but still want to get involved, needn't fret.

Volunteer coordinator Kris Richards said Tuesday she will need almost 250 volunteers to help pull off the event, which includes competition in both ski jumping and cross-country skiing all rolled into one contest for purposes of scoring.

Richards estimates she has about 75 to 100 volunteers signed up.

As an incentive, volunteers are offered skiing privileges and an official event vest, depending upon the number of hours worked.

People who already volunteered for last month's Papa John's Bumps and Jumps freestyle skiing event may apply those volunteer hours to Nordic Combined World Cup hours to qualify for more skiing privileges. However, the freestyle hours don't apply to the official Nordic Combined vest.

"Our biggest need is for volunteers in arena production and ski jump maintenance," Richards said. "It's pretty demanding work."

The term "arena production" means the volunteers will be installing the fencing and markers needed to delineate the cross-country racecourse at the base of Howelsen Hill.

The volunteer committee also needs workers willing to supervise event parking and to perform security duties at World Cup facilities like the VIP tent and the ski waxing room.

Volunteers are on hand providing security at those areas throughout the night.

"We try to use experienced volunteers for security," Richards said. Keeping track of the schedules of 250 volunteers is a major task.

But Richards, who is the group sales and public relations manager for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said she's found she can generally depend upon people in Steamboat to show up for their assigned duties.

"Everybody here is so good-hearted, we really don't have to worry about it," Richards said.

Not all of the volunteer work is as physical as ski jump maintenance.

Richards also needs people to volunteer to put up decorations, greet people arriving for the opening ceremonies and work in the concessions area.

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