Steamboat will be getting a new ski cross course this winter. A ski cross or snowboard cross course is one of those death-defying runs that goes twisting and turning down a slippery slope. It has hairpin turns, gaps, and jumps that only the best skiers and riders can handle.

Nick Roma, a member of the Vancouver Olympic course building crew and now the Steamboat Terrain Park manager, will design it. Jon Casson will help. Casson is the snowboard director, and head boardercross coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. "Our goal is to build a course that is versatile, creative, and challenging to all levels of athletes," he said.

Casson says they won't know the exact features until they actually start building it, but the course will weave through the bowl area of Bashor, by the terrain park. The start will be on Sitz run, just below where Jess' Cutoff comes in. The finish will be in lower Giggle Gulch.

Casson says Steamboat will host several events this season. The Hole Shot Tour is an FIS NorAm level event for Canadian and U.S. riders who are vying for spots on the World Cup; a Telemark Cross World Championships qualifier; and two USASA events for regional level athletes hoping to qualify for USASA Nationals.

Copper Mountain has an intense course that also hosts high-end races, including the USASA National Championships in April.

Brett Buckles coached the U.S. Ski Team at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand, and coaches the ski cross racers for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. "The chance for my kids to have a full-length course to train on is paramount," Buckles said. "I'm happy to see Steamboat step up to the plate to build the course, host the events, and give the SSWSC the opportunity to provide world-class training for our boardercross and ski cross programs. Steamboat's grassroots commitment to ski cross will ultimately transpire into claiming even more hometown Olympians for the upcoming 2014 and 2018 Winter Games."

Buckles coached top ski cross athletes such as Ethan Fortney and Kyle Smaine at worlds, and Brant Crossan and Matt Larson who were in the top four in the open division, and Penn Lukens who took first in the 13-15 year old men's division of USASA Nationals. Buckles also covers snowsports and fitness for OnTheSnow.

Casson said the world class course is great for training for the ski cross and boardercross athletes, who are some of the best all-around skiers and riders on the mountain. "While we've been able to train some of the best young athletes in the sport without a dedicated course, having one now will give us one more added dimension to our training.  This added training tool will help give our riders more specific training they need to get to top of their sport," he said.

The course is expected to be built after the Christmas holidays.

More information. Or call 970-879-6111.