Continental Cup returning to Steamboat

Fundraising efforts have been successful so far, Todd Wilson says

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— Steamboat Springs has been scheduled to host a Con­tinental Cup Nordic combined meet at Howelsen Hill for months, but the event only was made official this week.

Todd Wilson, the Steamboat Springs Nordic program director, said the club would host two events Dec. 4 and 5 at Howelsen Hill. Both events will be held on the large hill, with the 10-kilometer cross-country race starting and finishing inside the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena.

The format consists of one officially scored jump followed by a 10-kilometer pursuit cross-country race. It is the same format used on the World Cup.

“I’m psyched that it’s going to be in Steamboat Springs,” Nordic combined skier Taylor Fletcher said.

Fletcher isn’t sure whether he will be one of the Americans representing the U.S. (he hopes to be on the World Cup), but he said he would be happy if he gets the chance to ski at Howelsen Hill.

“These are really important events, especially for the younger skiers,” Fletcher said. “These events are important in order to step up to that World Cup level.”

Promising athletes from across the world will be seeking the points they need to move up to the World Cup Tour at the Steamboat events.

Wilson said it is unlikely that Olympic athletes such as Todd Lodwick, Billy Demong and Johnny Spillane (currently recovering from a knee injury) would compete in Steamboat Springs. However, several local athletes who are on the World Cup bubble — including Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Nick Hendrickson and Brett Denney — could be skiing in the Steam­boat event in December. It also will be an opportunity for several younger skiers for the Steam­­boat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Wilson said he was surprised and excited that supporters were able to raise $30,000 in money and pledges to make the Continental Cup event possible. He also is excited that world-class Nordic combined skiing will return to Steamboat and Howelsen Hill.

“We are super excited about hosting this event,” Wilson said. “We are confident about where we are at in the fundraising process, and this seems like a win-win for Steamboat Springs and Nordic skiing.”

Wilson said a group of private fundraisers has been able to raise money, or get pledges, for the event in a period of about three weeks. He said the group also was sensitive to the fact that another group is raising funds for improvements to Howelsen Hill.

“We didn’t want to put people in a situation where they had to make a choice between the two things,” Wilson said. “I feel like we were able to do that.”

Steamboat was added to the International Skiing Organ­izations (FIS) calendar in spring. But at the time, Wilson said, the club and supporters were caught off guard by the announcement and not prepared to launch a campaign to raise the money needed to host the event.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association contributed $7,500, but organizers need about $50,000 to put on the event. Wilson said he feels comfortable that they’ll succeed based on where fundraising efforts stand.

Steamboat previously has hosted World Cup and Con­tinental Cup (formerly known as World Cup B) events.

Wilson said Steamboat last hosted a Continental Cup meet in 2007.

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