Steamboat Springs This year, Steamboat Springs resident Mary Monger will earn a new Columbia jacket for her efforts as a volunteer at the Nordic Combined World Cup.
Monger said she has earned more jackets than she can wear as a volunteer over the years, but none of them can match the warm feeling she gets from donating her time to make the special events in Steamboat Springs a success.
"I just like to volunteer for things," Monger said. "I have more jackets than I can use, but I would be out there no matter what it's just something to do."
Monger is the type of person World Cup volunteer coordinator Chris Richards is looking for this year. Her job is to pull together roughly 300 volunteers for this year's Ski Town USA Classic Nordic Combined World Cup at Howelsen Hill, which will take place Dec. 14-18.
As of Tuesday, Richards had about 50 volunteers on board, including Monger, and only about 250 more to go in a little less than one month.
"It always works out," Richards said.
Her belief comes from years of experience and the feeling that most locals are willing to help out when the crunch time finally arrives.
"There are so many different jobs available," Richards said. "There is so much to do and so much work that goes into making this event a success.
Richards said the biggest need is for personnel to work in jump maintenance. Richards said she needs skiers and snowboarders to pack the hills for the jumping competitions.
However, she added a number of positions from parking lot attendants to runners are needed.
In return for working, volunteers will receive a Columbia jacket for 21 hours of service. The workers will also get a lift ticket for every regular shift (roughly seven hours) worked. There will also be a big volunteer party for both freestyle and Nordic Combined workers following the completion of the events.
But for folks such as Monger, the extra incentives offered by the organizers are just icing on the cake.
"I've been volunteering for the last 20 years," Monger said. "I enjoy it."
For the past eight years she has been handling a variety of jobs that help make the World Cup a success here in Steamboat.
"Sure I feel good that I volunteer," Monger said. "It's work, but there is also a sense of accomplishment that goes along with it."
Monger's dad, John, got her interested in volunteering for special events after she graduated from high school. Since then, she has made it a point to come out and help every year at a variety of different events. She has been helping out with the World Cup since it started.
Richards said the push is on to recruit more volunteers to come out and help this year. She added she is very flexible when it comes to scheduling volunteers and understands most of them have other responsibilities and jobs.
"You don't have to work the whole day," Richards said. "We can use volunteers who may only have a couple of hours to give or may just want to work over their lunch hour. We need lots of help and we are very willing to accommodate people's schedules. Every little bit of help we can get is great."
This year's Nordic Combined World Cup begins with official training on Dec. 15. Opening ceremonies will he held at Howelsen that night as well.
Some of the volunteers will also be needed for the Dec. 19 Gold Cup events in Steamboat.
Volunteers are needed for the entire length of the event. Competition days will include a traditional two-jump, 15-kilometer cross-country event on Dec. 16. There will also be a Sprint (one-jump, 7.5-kilometer cross-country race) on Dec. 18.
To volunteer, call the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association at 870-0880, ext. 204, and leave your name on the answering machine, or volunteers can e-mail their names to firstname.lastname@example.org.