Nordic Valley Pass deadlines today

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— Today is the deadline for cross-country skiers to purchase Valley Passes at the early season rate of $295.

The Valley Pass allows Nordic skiers all access to the groomed trails at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, Lake Catamount Ski Touring and Howelsen Hill.

The adult price goes up to $350 Wednesday and stays there through Oct. 31, bumping up to $395 Nov. 1. Valley Passes for youths 18 and younger are $115 and stay at that rate all season. Family passes are $645 through today and go up to $695 until Nov. 1, when they will cost $795.

The Touring Center's Birgitta Lindgren said this winter marks the fourth for the Valley Pass program, which began in concert with the Steamboat Nordic Council. The number of Valley Pass purchasers remained modest at 125 last season, but that number represents a doubling from the inaugural season of 2005-06. "We're fairly happy with that number," Lindgren said. "The Valley Pass isn't for everyone. Each area also sells its own season pass and there are a lot of people who do that. Then there are people who ski at Howelsen Hill on their lunch hour but don't Nordic ski on the weekends. They might go Alpine skiing or up on the pass with their families."

Howelsen Hill, a city park, offers adults season passes for $80, youth passes for $60 and family passes for $150.

The Touring Center is scheduled to open Nov. 5, snow conditions permitting.

Skiers hoping to elevate their skills in a casual environment are welcome to noon instructional clinics that begin Dec. 1 at the Touring Center. Mondays are reserved for a beginner skate skiing clinic. Intermediates take their turn on Wednesdays. Classic skiers who have some skills are invited to learn the fine points on Fridays.

The fee for individual clinics is $25. A punch card good for five clinics can be purchased for $100. It includes discounts on ski rentals.

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