Hayden A couple of Hayden parents are taking advantage of a groomed ski track in Dry Creek Park to offer students an alternative to driving to Steamboat Springs for winter fun.
Tammie Delaney and Robin Bush have organized the Tiger Gliders Nordic Ski Club, an after-school group giving elementary and middle school students the chance to learn cross-country ski skills in the convenience of the town's back yard.
"I really wanted to see some opportunity for skiing that kids can do right here in Hayden," said Delaney, who will be coaching students with Bush.
The club will meet from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 6 to Feb. 24. Students and coaches will meet at Hayden Valley Elementary School before heading across Poplar Street to the one-mile ski track south of the Routt County Fairgrounds.
Delaney and Bush, who grew up Alpine and Nordic skiing in Steamboat Springs, decided to organize the club when they realized other parents frequently were driving 30 minutes to Howelsen Hill so their children could ski after school.
"We just thought we'd try it and see if there is any interest," Bush said.
Ideally, students in the club will have basic cross-country ski skills such as stopping, turning and gliding, Delaney said.
In addition to eight after-school sessions, Bush and Delaney hope to congregate the group at one of several Nordic Challenge Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoe Series races held in Steamboat Springs and North Routt County.
The club will teach students skills and games in a casual, fun atmosphere while the race series will give students the chance to try the sport at a competitive level if they are interested, Delaney said.
Delaney and Bush plan to organize a family ski day at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, and the club also may include outings to tracks at the Yampa River State Park and other areas.
"We want to give them the option of showing them other Nordic stuff out there," Bush said.
In addition to being affordable, one of the biggest advantages of cross-country skiing is it can be done almost anywhere there is snow.
"We feel that cross country skiing is something the kids around here can do right out their back door. ... We'd like to use that land and give them something to do in winter that is fun," Bush said.
Once there is snow, Robin Bush's husband, Richard Bush, plans to groom the track with a new groomer and track setter -- recently purchased by the town of Hayden -- on a daily basis.
The Tiger Glider Nordic Ski Club costs $50 for the season. The fee will help pay for snacks, trail maintenance and possibly transportation to a race or other ski tracks.
Students must supply their own skis, boots and poles. Season rentals are available at Ski Haus, 879-0385 and the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, 879-8180.
Students can register for the club at Hayden Town Hall or by calling Delaney at 276-3436. Registration forms also are available at www.yampavalley.info in the recreation section under Resources/ Facilities/Organizations.
-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org