Cross-country skiers will have an opportunity to make a contribution to five nonprofit agencies when they take part in the Nordic Challenge Race Series this winter.
Organizer Dan Smilkstein said contestants who register in the "nonprofit" category will see $10 of the typical $15 ($12 before race day) entry fee go to a different organization after each race.
"We want to involve more casual racers this year," Smilkstein said. "Each race will have a kids' fun race of one to three kilometers and a recreational division of five kilometers in addition to the competitive 10-kilometer division."
The first event of the season is Dec. 15 at Howelsen Hill and allows skiers in all divisions to form relay teams. The race begins at 7 p.m. under the lights and each skier will have to trade off with his or her teammates to ski three laps each.
"It will be one wild night at the Howelsen Hill Rodeo Grounds for this year's relay," Smilkstein said.
The races and the nonprofits associated with them include: Howelsen Hill/Everything Outdoors Steamboat; Vista Verde/ Steamboat Search and Rescue, Jan. 8; Steamboat Lake State Park/North Routt Snow Club, Jan. 22; and Steamboat Ski Touring Center/Horizons, Feb. 13. The final race in the series will be Catamount Nordic Challenge. It will benefit the Diabetes Education and Wellness program at Yampa Valley Medical Center.
A sixth event at Latigo Ranch near Kremmling on Jan. 29 has been added to the 2004-05 series, but will not factor into the points series for competitive racers.
Everything Outdoors Steamboat is a program that introduces middle school students to outdoor activities such as snow camping, ice and rock climbing and cross-country skiing.
Smilkstein, a physician, is particularly interested in the diabetes education program, he said, because the incidence of childhood diabetes is growing in society.
For information, visit www.steamboatxcski.org
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