Season Nordic passes on sale

Touring Center looks forward to changes for skiing operation

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— The staff of the Steamboat Ski Touring Center is preparing for a new season, highlighted by a pair of Fish Creek projects that could change the look of the cross-country skiing operation that occupies the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Course in winter.

Birgitta Lindgren, owner of the Touring Center, said last week she is optimistic about plans to re-route the popular Fish Creek Trail around a new access road. Subdivision developer VGS Enterprises is building the road.

Lindgren is also helping community members with a fundraiser to build a permanent replacement for the old Fish Creek Bridge just downstream from the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation filtration plant.

The old bridge was not in use when it was taken down last fall. It was condemned, Lindgren said, because it was not up to current engineering standards and did not meet 100-year-flood regulations.

In another era, the bridge gave skiers access across the creek to advanced trails on Knobs and Skyline. Renewed interest in the bridge among skiers and hikers could lead to a return to those advanced ski trails, Lindgren said.

The Fish Creek Bridge Fund Committee is forming and consulting with the city of Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner Water, she said.

The Fish Creek Trail is a fixture for the many citizens' races the Touring Center hosts. VGS Enterprises partners Jerry Stanford and David Vandervelde purchased the 11.3-acre Graystone Park parcel from the Sheraton this summer for $5.1 million.

To make the most of the new residential subdivision, they are building a new entrance road to the golf course clubhouse from Steamboat Boulevard. The road cuts across the Fish Creek Trail.

Lindgren said a trail consultant working for VGS has been cooperative in making plans to re-route the first portion of the trail.

The arrival of September gives valley residents a reason to begin thinking about skiing - 29 years of records reflect there is typically sufficient snow for cross-country skiing by Nov. 16 or 17, Lindgren said.

A crew of volunteers under the supervision of the U.S. Forest Service has already made preparations for October skiing on Bruce's Trail on Rabbit Ears Pass. They met Aug. 25 and rebuilt a wooden bridge over the creek that guards the entrance to the trail.

The Touring Center has begun early-season sales of season passes. Adult passes will cost $175 through Sept. 15, then go up to $205 on Sept 16 and $215 on Nov. 1. The price of youth passes is consistent all fall. Senior passes are $60 through Sept. 15.

The Touring Center is also selling Valley Passes that offer access to several touring centers for $295 through Oct. 31.

For more information, go to www.nordicski.net or e-mail Lindgren at xcski@nordicski.net.

- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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