Jarrett to build Nordic program

Former resident lends his skills at Soldier Hollow

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— After six years on the U.S. Nordic Combined Team and three trips to the Olympics, Dave Jarrett is preparing to step into a new role at Soldier Hollow this February.

The former Steamboat Springs resident moved to Heber City, Utah, a year ago to take a job with the Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation, building a Nordic program that will last long after the Olympics have passed.

In February, Jarrett will also act as a coach for the Kenyan cross country ski team at the Olympics. When he isn't helping the African team achieve its Olympic goals, he will assist the American Nordic combined and cross country teams with anything else they might need.

"I'm going to be waxing skis, taking splits and doing anything else that they need me to do," Jarrett said.

"I'm going to be Johnny on the spot."

Located on the equator, Kenya is known more for its marathon runners than cross country skiers. Not surprising for a country that has just one mountain with snow on it and that peak is too steep for cross country skiing.

The African team has only two cross country skiers on its national team (neither of whom live in Kenya) and will have only one of those skiers taking part in the 10-kilometer classic event. So Jarrett volunteered to coach the team and, in return, will get a coaches credential that will allow him to help the American team during his free time.

"It was a great opportunity to help an upcoming team and at the same time help the Americans," Jarrett said. "I couldn't pass this deal up."

Jarrett will be coaching Richard Rono. Rono, who is a top marathon runner, will join Phillip Voit to complete the Kenyan cross country ski team. Rono just missed going to the Olympics as a marathon runner by placing fourth in his country's Olympic team tryouts twice. Now, he will get his chance as a cross country skier.

"Kenya has always produced top runners (track and marathon), so there is a big push to get involved in cross country," Jarrett said.

He will take on the challenge of helping the team have its best run at the Olympics this year.

Jarrett grew up in Steamboat Springs and was a member of the U.S. Nordic Combined Team from 1992 until he retired in 1998. He has been busy since leaving the team. He finally completed his studies at Colorado Mountain College where he attended school from 1989 through 1998 while he was still with the team.

After that, he transferred to the University of Colorado, where he earned a degree in kinesiology and applied physiology on a much more accelerated pace.

"I went straight through fall, winter, spring and summer," Jarrett said.

By December 2000, Jarrett had earned his degree. Shortly after, he had a phone interview with Howard Peterson at Soldier Hollow and was offered the job at the new cross county venue less than an hour later.

Jarrett was presented with the challenge of building a brand new cross county program at Soldier Hollow.

"I'm glad that I came through the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. It's a great model of how to run a successful program," Jarrett said. "It's daunting to begin a new program. It's all up to me, but luckily I've already seen how to do it the right way."

In his first year, Jarrett has 45 skiers in cross county, biathlon and Nordic combined programs.

Jarrett is hoping that at least a few skiers in the next generation of Olympians will call Soldier Hollow home.

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