Steamboat, Aspen creating series

Sport enthusiasts will be offered two pentathlons this year

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The city of Steamboat Springs and the city of Aspen are coming together to create The Rocky Mountain Pentathlon Series this winter.

Each town will host a pentathlon event in 2005, providing winter sport enthusiasts the opportunity to compete in two communities for series prizes.

"I'm still working on all the details," said Nancy Lesley, director of special events and marketing for the city of Aspen. "We are going to try and keep it very, very similar to Steamboat's. I think it's a great fit. This is something that people do normally anyway. Steamboat is the same. Why not make it a competition if people are doing it anyway?"

Last year, nearly 300 people participated in the Steamboat Pentathlon.

The five-stage multi-sport race includes Alpine skiing/snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and running, with a standard and shorter course available.

Individuals and teams of various sizes can register, making the event as much about competition as socializing near the base of Howelsen Hill. Last year, two individuals from Aspen placed in the top three, giving way to the idea that a pentathlon in Aspen has the potential to be successful, as well.

"They have some individuals in that community who are die-hard pentathletes," said Christina Freeman, of Steamboat Springs Parks, Open Spaces and Recreational Services. "It should be fun. It definitely provides us with something different to offer our annual participants and generates additional excitement by each to promote the other's event."

The Steamboat Pentathlon is scheduled for March 5, and individuals and teams can receive a discount for any registration received by Feb. 21. The early registration price is $27 a person, with the price going up to $42 after Feb. 21. People can call 879-4300 with questions, or they can visit www.steamboatpentathlon.com.

Aspen's event is Feb. 13, and Lesley said she hasn't finalized prices, though she doesn't expect it to be much higher than Steamboat's rates. The Aspen Pentathlon will be held near the Aspen Recreational facility near Buttermilk Mountain. The race will use the mountain and the adjacent golf course.

Registration for the Aspen Pentathlon is available at www.aspenrecreation.com or call (970) 920-5140. There also is a NorAm cross-country race Feb. 12 for those enthusiasts looking to pack a lot of racing into one weekend in Aspen.

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