Nordic event to showcase Howelsen ski jumps | SteamboatToday.com

Nordic event to showcase Howelsen ski jumps

Dave Shively

Skyler Keate launches off the K-68 hill on Monday during a training session at Howelsen Hill. The jump will host the second annual Ski Jumping Extravaganza on the Fourth of July. Members of the U.S. Nordic Combined team, the Canadian team, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and the National Sports Foundation are expected to take part in the event, which organizers are hoping will become a holiday tradition in Steamboat Springs.

— July 4th holiday fanatics who can’t wait until sundown for a skyward show will have the country’s best Nordic ski jumpers to tide them over tomorrow.

Nearly 70 skiers will partake in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s two-part Ski Jumping Extravaganza. The event starts at 9:30 a.m., with a two-kilometer, cross-country roller ski race on Lincoln Avenue.

Winter Sports Club head Nordic ability coach Martin Bayer said the cross-county race will be a mass-start, down-and-back format. From there, points will carry over to a ski jumping competition at Howelsen Hill’s K-68, all-weather jump, starting at noon.

Bayer said the talented pool of competitors includes all the Club’s 13-and-older Nordic jumpers in addition to athletes from across the country from Park City to Lake Placid as well as 12 Canadians and a handful of Alpine “gelande” jumpers. And then there’s the U.S. Ski Team’s Nordic A and B Teams that will cap off their training camp – one that was coupled with a development training camp hosted by team veteran Bill Demong – with the Extravaganza events.

The competitive field will be leveled on the jump with an accuracy-based contest. This means that a set landing distance is designated that jumpers must come close to, but not exceed.

“For the younger guys, maybe they’re not as strong, so they can use more speed, so it gives them a better chance to compete with the older guys,” Bayer said of the field that will be pared to a five-man finals field after three rounds.

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The gelande jumpers will be going for distance, counting their best two of three jumps.

Club director Rick DeVos estimated the event should be complete by around 2:30 p.m.

DeVos held the event last year for the first time, which has tripled in size since, and he sees watching elite jumpers perform as the perfect segway from the morning’s parade activities.

The event is free. Steamboat Meat & Seafood Company will have a barbeque lunch available ($8 for adults, $5 for kids), and the Steamboat Car Club will have a collector’s vehicle exhibition set up in the Howelsen Hill Lodge parking lot. DeVos also said Olympian Hall (upstairs at the Lodge) will be open and staffed to help visitors orient themselves with the competition and the history behind both the Hill and the Club. Door prizes, including a signed Olympic jump ski, also will be raffled.