Volunteers help make Cup smooth sailing

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— It was business as usual for the World Cup volunteers who reported to duty at Howelsen Hill Friday.

While the nordic combined skiers went through a day of training in preparation for Saturday's Ski Town USA jumping and cross-country events, some of the volunteers were busy tending to the course.

They were up on the hill, shoveling and raking snow to keep the course in prime condition.

Others were setting up shop in Olympian Hall, where a teams' captain meeting was about to take place.

And one man was pulling a security shift.

For the past week, nearly 150 individuals have spent time helping out at the Steamboat World Cup.

Some are members of the course maintenance crew and others are parking attendants or concession workers.

Some gather ski results and then e-mail them or fax them to news agencies across the globe.

Other volunteers have helped feed skiers, coaches and reporters who have traveled from around the world to take part in the event.

"We're here to take care of things as they happen," said Marne Roberts, one of the women in charge at the volunteer headquarters located inside a van in the Howelsen parking lot.

While many individuals stay outside and do volunteer work, others remain indoors and serve meals to reporters inside the press room, which is in the David L. DeHaven Strength Training Center.

The skiers chow down in the VIP Tent, which is immediately facing the ski-jump outrun.

Volunteer Carol O'Hare said the experience of working around the reporters has been a memorable experience for her.

"They're very interested obviously in what is going on, but they're very professional," O'Hare said.

"They're out in the blowing snow covering their particular people."

One of the specific jobs volunteers have been doing for reporters is assisting them with taking down and setting up their camera equipment. Some of those reporters are from the ESPN television network, which will run a cablecast of the World Cup at 1 p.m. MST Feb. 2.

Last night, volunteers helped out at Olympian Hall, where the captains of the ski teams met for a discussion. Volunteers set tables, made decorations and distributed written materials to the captains.

Olympian Hall, which is located upstairs in the Howelsen Lodge, is the home of the competition headquarters.

Kathi Meyer, competition secretary, said about 30 individuals had helped out at Howelsen Lodge the past several days by organizing the housing and travel arrangements for the skiers and coaches and by assisting with the meals program.

Some of the volunteers have been up in the jump tower, where they have helped to time and record results.

The most intriguing volunteers, however, are perhaps the ones who made the L.L. Bean logo on the face of Howelsen Hill with some pine boughs.

The Cup is sponsored by L.L. Bean.

Meyer said the goal of the volunteers has been to try to make the Cup as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.

"It's all about putting on a good show," she said.

The final day of the Steamboat World Cup gets under way this morning with the one-jump, 7.5-kilometer sprint event that begins with jumping at 9 a.m. with the trial round. The cross-country race is scheduled to start at noon at the Romick arena.

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