Ski racing

Nordic Challenge series kicks off a new season

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Competitors in the second event of the 2004-05 Nordic Challenge cross-country ski race series will head north Jan. 8 to Vista Verde Guest Ranch for a 12-kilometer dash that will take in views of the Park Range in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. The second event in the five-race series benefits Routt County Search and Rescue.

The first race of the season, benefiting Everything Outdoors Steamboat, was held under the lights Wednesday at Howelsen Hill. The race format was a six-lap relay with each of two teammates skiing three laps. Most of the teams were selected randomly by race organizers drawing contestants' names out of a hat.

EOS introduces middle school students to outdoor activities.

Fittingly, Matt Tredway, who founded EOS, won the race. And he had some expert help getting to the finish line. Tredway's partner was Nordic combined World Cup star and Olympian Todd Lodwick, just home from Europe for the World Cup's holiday break.

"Todd is staying at my house, so this was really fun," Tredway said.

Although the race format dictated that fun held sway over competitiveness, Lodwick wasn't the only U.S. Olympian in the field. Former U.S. Nordic combined skier Kerry Lynch teamed with Steamboat architect Katie Kiefer to place second.

The team of Paul Klemer and Murray Selleck was third, followed by Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country coach Brian Tate and Emily Hannah in fourth. Vince Hooper and Sunny Lodwick combined for fifth place. Tom Bedell, dressed as a Rastafarian Santa Claus, and Don Schwartz were sixth.

The Jan. 8 race at Vista Verde begins with a 3K youth division at 10 a.m. followed by the 12K competitive division at 10:05 and the 6K recreational division at 10:07. Snowshoe races will begin at 10:10 a.m.

Registration will be from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. at the Vista Verde ski hut. Parking is limited, and carpooling is encouraged.

A post-race awards party will be held at about 11:30 a.m. at Glen Eden in Clark.

Entry fees are $12 in advance at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center or online. Fees are $15 on race day. The cost for skiers 12 and younger is $6.

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