Sports Club offers a chance at the ramp

Free weekend for jumpers of all levels likely on tap at Bald Eagle Lake

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— Those wondering what it's like to be a freestyle mogul skier or aerialist could have a chance to find out this weekend at Bald Eagle Lake.

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club intends to host a free weekend Saturday and Sunday, allowing skiers, telemarkers and snowboarders of all skill levels to soar off the ramps at the lake off U.S. Highway 40 just south of Steamboat Springs.

"Definitely all levels will be there," said Erik Skinner, the Winter Sports Club's freestyle director. "Some people will just bounce on the tramp and some people will be doing technical tricks on the ramps. It's great for guys that ski the backcountry and ski the parks once in a while to see if they like it."

The free weekend event depends on whether county officials grant the Winter Sports Club a special use permit. There is a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Routt County Courthouse.

Whereas in years past, people had to be a member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, this year the event is open to the public.

The ramps at Bald Eagle Lake are one of only three like it in the country. The others are in Lake Placid, N.Y., and Park City, Utah.

All people who participate this weekend will have to sign a waiver. Those can be downloaded at www.sswsc.org or signed at the water ramps.

Participants also will have to take their own equipment. While Skinner said there is some equipment at the water ramps, there is not enough for every person.

Skinner recommended bringing old skis, snowboards and boots. People will also need to tie a string or tether from their binding to their boots and have a wet suit.

Helmets will be provided.

"For moguls skiers and free riders it's more realistic than any other facility," Skinner said, noting it does take some time to get used to skiing on the plastic. "It's the way the jumps are built and the relationships between jumps and the water."

After the free weekend, the Winter Sports Club will run camps and jumping programs for the rest of the summer.

The programs cater to all ages and levels.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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