Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs High School Nordic ski team has been bolstered early this season by the addition of athletes from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Nordic combined squad.
Trained in skate-skiing techniques, those athletes quickly adapted to the high school scene. They've never encountered anything like they will today at a Nordic race in Frisco, however.
"This race is a little different. In the morning, they race classic style; then in the afternoon, everyone races in a skate race," Steamboat coach Chrissy Lynch said. "For all their skiing, they've just done skate and will have to try classic for the first time."
Steamboat's skiers will need to learn to adapt quickly if they want to continue a strong start to the season.
The morning's classic cross-country portion extends 3.3 kilometers around the Frisco Nordic Center. A strong showing early will be important because the finish from that race determines the start order of the afternoon's 3.3-kilometer skate-skiing event.
Athletes will start the skate race at the same intervals that they finish the morning's race.
"With the classic being first, they'll probably start a little further behind," Lynch said about her Nordic combined crossovers. "But in the skate, they might be catching a lot of people. It will be hard if they have to pass a lot of people because it might slow down their momentum, but it should be fun."
Steamboat will take 14 racers to the event, many of whom have had strong early-season performances.
Erik Lynch and Michael Ward - both SSWSC Nordic combined team members - finished second and third, respectively, last month at their first high school race.
Liza Stout led the team last time out, finishing eighth in a classic race. Sarah Dixson, meanwhile, will continue to try to build on her skimeister aspirations.
Skimeister competitors compete in Nordic and Alpine high school races. Dixson ranks second after a 15th-place finish in her most recent Alpine race.
"It should be really fun for everyone," Lynch said about the unique format. "It's been great for me to see in a season how much - working hard - they've improved their times and moved up the results list. It will be a fun day."