Nordic Challenge creates Hill Climb |

Nordic Challenge creates Hill Climb

Race from rodeo grounds to quarry

The Mountain Cut Hill Climb isn’t until Sunday, but Dan Smilkstein thinks the inaugural cross-country ski race will be an instant classic.

“I think it’s really going to be a good turnout,” said Smilkstein, president of the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council. “We’ve been kicking around new ideas for races for a couple years.”

The Mountain Cut Hill Climb is the second race in this winter’s Nordic Challenge Series. Mountain Cuts in Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center sponsors the race.

The race is a classic or skate event, and it will be divided into classes and lengths for all levels of skiers.

The junior event is for skiers ages 14 and younger. The course is 1 kilometer and climbs 200 feet. The recreational race is 1.8 kilometers and climbs 580 feet.

“It will make the average person breathe hard and sweat and say, ‘Why am I doing this?'” Smilkstein said.

The competitive race is 2.9 kilometers and climbs 1,070 feet from the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena to Blackmere Drive to the quarry on Emerald Mountain.

“The average competitor will do it in about 30 minutes,” he said. “There will be some sub-30-minute times.”

The race begins in a staggered start at 10 a.m. Sunday, with the competitive skiers leaving first. Early registration is $14 for adults and will be taken until 5 p.m. Saturday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Race-day registration is $16 for adults and is from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the race site. Registration for children is $6.

For an extra $10, participants can sign up for a post-race lunch offered by Backcountry Provisions.

In addition, $10 from every recreational registration fee will be given to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. The Nordic Council continues to partner with Routt County nonprofit organizations to raise funds and awareness.

Smilkstein said he doesn’t want the words “hill climb” to discourage people from signing up. Although there will be some advanced skiers on the course Sunday, the Nordic Challenge races are designed for everyone.

“Get out the fish-scale skis and walk up,” he encouraged.

A party, award presentation and door-prize giveaway will be at the Steamboat Springs Community Center after the race. For more information and to see a course map, visit and click on Nordic Challenge.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail

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