NCAA ski event in 2006

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The world-class cross-country trails at the base of Howelsen Hill and the slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area will play host to the best college ski racers in the country in 2006.

The University of Colorado, which is hosting the NCAA National Skiing Championships, recently announced that Steamboat Springs will be the venue for the March 8 to 11, 2006, event.

Steamboat was the site of the championships in 1993, the last time CU hosted the event.

"The University of Colorado is excited about the return of the NCAA Skiing Championships to Steamboat Springs," CU Athletics Director Dick Tharp said. "Just as in 1993, this is an opportunity for the university, and the state of Colorado and Steamboat, to demonstrate the commitment to the sport of skiing. We look forward to hosting the championship and providing a first-class experience for all the other universities and student-athletes who will be part of the competition."

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic Director Todd Wilson said Steamboat's track record for hosting World Cup events, plus recent upgrades to the snowmaking system at Howelsen Hill, made it an easy choice to host the events.

"It's flattering," Wilson said. "Anytime you get asked to host an event like this, it's a compliment to the entire program and the club."

Wilson expects the cross-country races to be held at the base of Howelsen along trails that were built for the World Cup events, while the Alpine races likely will be at the Steamboat Ski Area.

He said the University of Colorado will organize the event but that the Winter Sports Club will be in charge of making sure the courses are in shape and will support the University of Colorado during the events.

"Organizing the NCAA championships is a huge undertaking. We will be relying a great deal on the support of our incredibly dedicated alumni and friends of the CU Ski Team to make a first-class event," CU ski coach Richard Rokos said.

The skiing championships will be the first of two NCAA championships hosted by CU in 2006. The university also was awarded the first and second rounds of NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament, which will be held March 18 to 21, 2006, in Denver's Pepsi Center.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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