Free music takes center stage

Steamboat Ski Area hosting bands, rail jam for NASTAR event

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More than 1,300 amateur ski racers are in town this weekend for the NASTAR National Championships, and the Steamboat Ski Area is offering a variety of live, free entertainment for them and other visitors and residents.

One day after the Gin Blossoms entertained crowds at the base of the ski area, American Relay will play a free show at 4 p.m. today in Gondola Square.

A two-piece band, American Relay will play its blend of delta blues, early R&B, country and rock 'n' roll. American Relay will share the stage with Reverend Deadeye, a punk/blues act. Reverend Deadeye picked up the name after he lost his eye to a rattlesnake.

Alex Hebert, American Rel--ay's drummer and a Steamboat Springs native, said he's excited to be part of the festivities.

"To be invited by the Warren Miller Experience, to play at the base of the mountain we grew up riding and to play in front of a hometown crowd is really freakin' cool," Hebert said.

Within earshot of the American Relay and Reverend Deadeye performances will be a rail jam taking place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on the Headwall ski run. In addition to rail features from the SoBe Terrain Park, the rail jam will include a new 40-foot rail designed by Cactofab owner Kevin Nemec.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. added the rail jam to this year's event as "a way to celebrate the NASTAR event and also as a way to showcase talented local and regional athletes," ski area spokeswoman Heidi Thomsen said.

The free entertainment continues Saturday, when Shawn Allen will play from 3 to 4 p.m. in Gondola Square.

The NASTAR National Championships is the culmination of a season-long competition at more than 120 ski resorts across North America. Ski and snowboard racers of all abilities and ranging in age from 3 to 86 will be competing for national titles.

Thomsen said hosting the NASTAR National Championships and sponsoring the free events is good for visitors and the area.

"It is a way to showcase Steamboat and all the wonderful things that we have to offer," Thomsen said. "It will build momentum not only for this weekend, but for the 2007 NASTAR Championship, as well."

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