Steamboat Springs Members of the growing legion of cross country skiers in Steamboat Springs have a new opportunity to compete in a relaxed setting at touring centers all over the county.
The Steamboat Springs Nordic Council hosted the first race in the new Nordic Challenge Race Series at the Steamboat Touring Center on Saturday.
Skiers who missed the race can still get into the action with competitions scheduled for Steamboat Lake on Jan. 25, the new Bluffs Trails and Hakan's Spar at Howelsen Hill on Feb. 9, Lake Catamount on Feb. 22 and Vista Verde guest ranch on March 1.
Organizer Dan Smilkstein said the Nordic Council's intent is to make the race series inviting to people of all ages and abilities.
"Each site will have a kids fun race or obstacle course at 1-3K, a short course division for recreational skiers that is 5 kilometers in length and a long course/competitive division across a 10K course," Smilkstein said. "Skiers may chose to classic or skate any race, although to qualify for the season points championship (competitive division only) you will need to have competed in at least three races using the same technique."
The race series will also accommodate snowshoe enthusiasts, and for the truly ruggedly fit, there will be "Nordic duathlons" combining cross country skiing and snowshoeing into one event.
Snowshoe races will be 4-10 kilometers in length and in all but one race on Feb. 9 will begin 15 minutes after the cross country race begins at 10 a.m.
Single event entry fee for adults will be $12 prior to the race and $15 on race day. Registration for youngsters 12 and under is $6 anytime. A five-race series pass can also be purchased for $55 for adults and $25 for kids 12 and under.
Competitors may register in one of three ways. First, skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts may stop by the Steamboat Ski Touring Center during normal hours of operation and sign up.
Second, people may visit www.steamboatxcski.org/nordicchallenge.htm and print out the online form, which may be dropped off later at the Touring Center or mailed to the Nordic Council.
Finally, registration will be taken on the day of the race. Race-day registration will take place from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m.