City agrees to fund World Cup

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The Steamboat Springs City Council agreed to spend close to $20,000 to bring a World Cup back to Steamboat.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Director Rick DeVos asked the city to contribute $15,000 in financial support and close to $5,000 in staff support to help host a Nordic Combined World Cup B event in December. The council agreed to fully fund the request.

"It think this is extremely important for us to do," City Councilman Ken Brenner said. "This is the kind of marketing we can't buy anywhere else."

In its initial letter to the council, the Winter Sports Club also asked the city to contribute $10,000 in capital improvements. The money would have been spent on improving the safety corral boards, 70-meter coaching stands, communication facilities and timing system.

On Tuesday, DeVos said the Winter Sports Club would cover those capital improvements.

Hosting a World Cup B event is expected to cost more than $40,000.

The 2003 to 2004 season was the first time in nine years that a World Cup event was not held in Steamboat.

In December, after the council had set its budget, the U.S. Ski Association asked the Winter Sports Club to host a World Cup B event. The USSA was waiting on the city's response before designating Steamboat for the two-day event starting Dec. 4.

A World Cup B event would host about 75 young athletes who are looking to move up to the international elite level. As many as 16 U.S. athletes could compete in the event, many who are from the Winter Sports Club, DeVos said.

Hosting the World Cup B event is one way the community can keep its foot in the door for the bigger and more recognized World Cup A events, DeVos said.

DeVos said bringing World Cups back to Steamboat largely lies in the hands of USSA and the sponsors they can find to support the events. On non-Olympic years, those sponsors can be hard to find, DeVos said. The organization looks at how many athletes it can get on the podium and what the cost per athlete is before spending the money, he said.

"Obviously, guys like Todd Lodwick winning a medal the other day brings with it the recognition. We look good," DeVos said.

U.S. Nordic Combined team members Lodwick and Johnny Spillane are from Steamboat and are the most accomplished Nordic combined skiers in the country's history. Lodwick won a World Cup event in Germany on Sunday, and Spillane is the only American ever to win a Nordic combined world championship.

City Council President Paul Strong said he was excited about the possibility of having a World Cup return to Steamboat.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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