| SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat skier breaks 200-meter barrier, earning new local record in ski flying

Steamboat Springs native Decker Dean competed in the World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, which concluded with the team event on Saturday. Dean's jump of 120 meters helped the USA men earn 10th. (Courtesy Karl Denney)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — On Dec. 10, 2020, Steamboat Springs skier Decker Dean literally took a leap of faith.

He catapulted his ski jumping career to the next level, trying ski flying for the first time. Ski flying is the exact same thing as ski jumping, just bigger. The largest ski jumping hill is a hill size of 140 meters, or an HS140. The ski flying hill that Dean sat on top of in Planica, Slovenia, was an HS240.

“It’s the same sport, same equipment, same everything, but a bigger scale,” said Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club ski jumping coach Karl Denney. “Much, much bigger scale.”

Standing on top of the in-run of the HS240 in Planica, Dean definitely felt the scale. He had never practiced on a hill that large before. In fact, no one can practice on a ski flying hill. Competitions are highly regulated with guides along the side of the landing hill keeping tabs on the wind. While ski jumping can continue with wind, ski flying cannot.

“Training is not an option,” Dean said. “You put the bib on, and you get your first official training jump. I was nervous, but it’s definitely something I’ve looked forward to my entire life. I was really excited but definitely nervous.”

With nerves and adrenaline pumping through his system, Dean took flight. In his training jumps, he jumped 175 and 184 meters, stretching that to 188.5 meters in the qualification jump. It was the farthest Dean had ever soared.

Ski flying is on the men’s ski jumping World Cup circuit, and only the strongest jumpers are selected to compete, since it requires more technical discipline than smaller hills. There is less room for error.

“The bigger the jump, the more the aerodynamic factor of ski jumping takes hold,” Denney said. “On smaller jumps, you can get away with a little less aerodynamic prowess and more power on the takeoff. Bigger and bigger jumps, it’s more about the aerodynamics.”

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club alum Decker Dean earned a career-high finish of second place in a Continental Cup event in Germany this winter. Dean also tried his hand at ski flying this year, breaking the 200-meter barrier in his second compeition and earning a new SSWSC record. (Courtesy SSWSC)

Ski flying was born in Planica in 1936 when Austrian Josef Bradl became the first man to land a jump over 100 meters. The record came at a time when the International Ski Federation, FIS, deemed hills with a k-point of 70 meters the absolute largest possible. While witnessing Bradl’s jump, it is said that hill engineer Stanko Bloudek exclaimed, “That was no longer ski jumping. That was ski flying!”

In the decades to follow, skiers started jumping farther and farther as new equipment and hill engineering emerged. In 1967, Norwegian Lars Grini was the first to reach 150 feet. In 1994, after the jumping style changed from parallel to v-style in the air, the 200-meter barrier was broken, forever changing the sport.

The 200-meter barrier

In ski flying, 200 meters is the magic number. The barrier was first broken by Toni Nieminen on a new hill in Planica in 1994. While the historic ski flying town held the record for years, Vikersund, Norway, is the current home of the world’s longest ski flying jump at 253.5 meters, set by Austrian Stefan Kraft in 2017.

With one ski flying experience under his belt and his best jump not far from the mark, Dean was determined to hit 200 meters when he returned to Planica in March.

Taking confidence and the little experience he had from December, Dean took off on his training jump. He whizzed by the spot he normally started to lose speed and altitude, leaving his previous personal-best jumps in the dust. He jumped 211 meters — a new record among Steamboat athletes. His second training jump measured 200.5 meters.

Among all SSWSC athletes, Alaskan-born Alan Alborn holds the record with 221.5 meters, but Dean has the longest jump among homegrown skiers.

“I got up to the top that second time, I was confident, and I knew what it was going to be like. I had a good jump and got pretty lucky with the conditions,” Dean said. “I did not expect it on the first jump either. That was awesome.”

Previously, Clint Jones held the Steamboat club record at 200 flat. Now, Dean holds it and intends to improve upon it next year.

“He’s always been a confident competitor,” Denney said. “He’s always gone into competitions knowing that he’s going to fight against the best. I think that’s one of the strongest things it says about him.”

Dean is already looking forward to next year’s ski flying events, of which there are normally one or two a season. The World Championships are always the final event of the season, serving as the cherry on top and a sigh of relief all at once for the athletes who endured a long winter of work.

The American ski flying record was set in 2017 at Vikersund by Kevin Bickner, who jumped 244.5 meters. Dean is hoping to close the gap between him and Bickner’s record next winter.

“I would love to fly over 225 meters,” he said.

20 Under 40: Sarah Leonard fosters the community that raised her through work with Chamber

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Sarah Leonard was little, growing up in Steamboat Springs, her father was vice president of Steamboat Resorts. Now, as community development director at the Steamboat Springs Chamber, she’s working with some of the same people her father worked with, helping to build the community that raised her. 

“It’s fun to see the people I grew up with coming back — wanting to get reinvested in Steamboat and make it a great place for the next generation,” Leonard said.

And that’s exactly what Leonard also aims to do.

“Having grown up in Steamboat Springs, Sarah’s passion for this community runs deep,” said Sarah Konopka, Chamber digital content manager who nominated Leonard for 20 Under 40 recognition. “Sarah has served the business community through the seven years she has been working for the Chamber.”

Leonard played a large role in helping to rebrand the Chamber and shift its focus to best serve the community. She now oversees community programs, serving as a sort of catch-all for developing projects.

“When new projects come through, when new initiatives are important to the community, I get to really assist Kara (Stoller), our CEO, on all of those,” Leonard said. “I get to change what I do a lot, which is great for me. Ticking off tasks is not what I like to do. I like to think big and problem solve.”

20 Under 40 Tidbits

Name: Sarah Leonard
Age: 36
Profession: Community development director, Chamber of Commerce
Education: Bachelor of Arts in communications and minor in broadcast media from Colorado State University

Also through work, Leonard interacts with community groups and members at the Routt Round Table, attends city council meetings and works with event planners.

“I have worked with Sarah Leonard since 2010 or so,” Stoller said. “She is an incredible team member. Her talents in the office include long-term visioning, project management and execution, and team leadership.”

When she’s not working, watching her favorite band Widespread Panic or spending time with her fiance, George Gess, Leonard serves as vice president of the Routt County Humane Society.

“It’s super important to me; it’s a small organization,” said Leonard, who has a 17-year-old American Eskimo named Kodak. “We’re really fortunate in Steamboat that so many people adopt, so our animals don’t usually stay long at the shelter. We’re looking at how can we make things better for the animals that do have to stay. It’s just a passion project for me because I love animals.”

Her most recent project, a mentorship program between the Young Professionals Network Development Board and the Chamber Board of Directors, just debuted in early August.

“You kind of learn the ropes of being on a board and how to be a board member and all that. It was really kind of the brain child of Geoff Petis, who is on our executive committee,” Leonard said. “He really wanted to do something, and I thought that’s something I could do, create a program like that.

“I don’t know if I’ll be here forever, because life doesn’t really work like that,” Leonard added. “But I’m excited to be here now.”

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

20 Under 40: Property manager Mike Swartz specializes in homeowner relations, community involvement

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Mike Swartz studied music business and management at Berklee College of Music in Boston, then spent a decade working in sales-related positions within the music industry. But when he and his wife, Tera, decided to move from Los Angeles to Steamboat Springs to raise their children, he found a new path.

Driving a shuttle at Trailhead Lodge opened Swartz’s eyes to the world of property management and homeowner relations.

“I found that to be much more refreshing,” Swartz said. “In sales, it’s a lot of one-sided relationships, but in property management, it’s a two-way street.” 

After learning about the industry through jobs at Trailhead, Wyndham and Trappeur’s Crossing, Swartz has been with The Steamboat Grand for 4 1/2 years. As owner services manager, Swartz manages nearly 1,000 homeowners.

“It’s as challenging as it sounds and more enjoyable,” he said. “We have a fantastic group of homeowners.”

In this role, Swartz leads his team in answering questions about taxes, dues and benefits, scheduling reservations, working with the real estate community and problem-solving left and right.

“I’ve learned how to listen in a different way than I used to be able to listen,” he said. “It’s important to understand that when someone’s upset, the problem isn’t you. You can be part of the solution.” 

20 Under Tidbits

Name: Mike Swartz
Age: 37
Profession: Community association management
Education: Bachelor’s in music business and management from Boston’s Berklee College of Music

“Mike’s ability to juggle the wants and desires of 900-plus members of the HOA and at the same time, keep a smile on his face at all times, is truly remarkable,” wrote Bud Romberg, an owner at The Steamboat Grand. 

“No one could possibly be as helpful, pleasant, efficient and thoughtful as Mike Swartz when it comes to doing his job,” wrote Steamboat Grand HOA board of directors member Bliss Hicky. 

Swartz said both the people — owners and staff alike — and the schedule of this job make it the best one he’s ever had. 

“The schedule affords me family time. You can’t put a dollar value on that, but if I tried to, it would be a pretty big number,” Swartz said.

The Swartzs and their three young children enjoy spending time outside together.

“That’s my primary goal when I’m not at work,” Swartz said.

Swartz has also served on the Routt County United Way’s Human Resource Coalition Grant Review Committee for the past two cycles and will participate again this year, disseminating city and county funds to local organizations.

“We get to have a strong impact on the organizations that support people who live here,” Swartz said. 

Every year, Swartz puts together a team of co-workers for the annual Junior Achievement fundraiser of the Bowl-A-Thon — this past year, their theme was ‘80’s icons, with Swartz as Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. Junior Achievement provides financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurial programs to local students.

“Mike’s leadership and enthusiasm is contagious,” wrote Michelle Manring, mountain district manager of Junior Achievement — Rocky Mountain, Inc. “Mike’s ability to inspire, teach and mentor others requires him to think less about himself and more about how to make the team as a whole successful.” 

He’s also served as the Eaglepointe Court HOA president.

In the next few years, Swartz looks forward to continue making his mark on property management and getting his children more active in the community.

Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

20 Under 40: Kristopher DeVogelaere gives through time, tea, autism and more

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As revenue manager for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., Kristopher DeVogelaere, 30, is well-accustomed to handling greenbacks. But he’s even more accustomed to giving back, whether with the resort, volunteer efforts for the community or through his organic, loose leaf tea company Grit Tea.

“He’s an amazing addition to the Steamboat community,” said the resort’s vice-president of finance Kelly Keefer, adding that “Devo” even helps seniors at Casey’s Pond cross the street near his home and helped get a crosswalk installed after a recent hit-and-run. “He’ll drop anything to give you a lift or lend a hand. Steamboat is a better place because of him.” 

At the resort, DeVogelaere’s efforts extend far beyond the revenue realm. He participates on internal committees, volunteers for the Gondola Evacuation Team and pitches in during busy days on the mountain. He also helps with the United Way Day of Caring and is involved with Junior Achievement.

His work with the resort’s donations and contributions committee led to him interviewing for a board member position with the Yampa Valley Autism Program.

“They needed a treasurer and my information got passed along,” said DeVogelaere, also a graduate of 2019’s Leadership Steamboat program. “They’re (the local autism program) going through a rapid growth phase, and I’m hoping to help them gain some more financial sustainability.”

The group is happy to have his help.

“He wanted a position with an organization that could utilize his skill set,” said Executive Director Lisa Lorenz. “He has a strong desire to contribute locally.”

20 Under 40 Tidbits

Name: Kristopher DeVogelaere
Age: 30
Profession: Revenue manager, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in accounting, University of Illinois; master’s in business and administration, University of Colorado Denver

As the owner of Grit Tea, which DeVogelaere launched after concocting a black tea/yerba mate blend while backpacking in the Southern Patagonian Icefield, he donates 5% of all sales to nonprofit organizations and sources all of his ingredients responsibly through fair trade.

Last year he traveled to Nepal and began working with a single-origin tea estate that handles all growing and processing. Through a local nonprofit, he donates funds for projects that help the community, from purchasing cows to building thrift stores.  

His donations steep through to various nonprofits via different tea blends. His Mountain Mama mixture benefits nonprofits supporting women’s outdoor programs; Bust a Coconut benefits nonprofits protecting ocean life; his Dawn Patrol concoction aids nonprofits helping those with disabilities through outdoor recreation, such as local Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports; and a mint tea creation benefits the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. 

Growing up in Chicago, DeVogelaere graduated with an accounting degree from the University of Illinois before earning his MBA from the University of Colorado Denver. He worked in the finance department for the Crested Butte ski area before moving to Leadville and working in accounting for Copper Mountain. He moved to Steamboat four years ago to take the revenue manager position with Ski Corp. 

“It was the typical ‘take a winter off after school’ and there you are 10 years later,” said DeVogelaere, who enjoys skiing, mountain biking, climbing, backpacking and traveling. “But I love it here. The local nonprofits are doing some incredible things here, and it’s a great, tight-knit community.”

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.

20 Under 40: Madeline Landgren finds joy in helping others

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Thirty-two-year-old Madeline Landgren wants to help people.

As director of adult programs at Horizons Specialized Services in Steamboat Springs, Landgren has found happiness and joy in working with adults who have significant needs.

Horizons provides support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities across Northwest Colorado. Landgren, who is part of Horizons’ five-person leadership team, oversees residential programming in Routt and Moffat counties along with specialized living services in Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Grand counties.

“Sometimes progress is slow,” Landgren said, “but if you show up every day to work towards a goal, you can make an incredible difference.”

Through her work at Horizons, Landgren has helped many adults with cognitive disabilities overcome challenges to living independently. And she applauded the work Horizons has done to help lead to those successes.

“It’s important to really keep people engaged and involved in their own life trajectory,” she said. “And making sure those decisions are made because it’s important to the person and not just because it’s convenient for the providers.”

She said that is an area where Horizons excels.

Deirdre Pepin, who also works for Horizons, nominated Landgren for this year’s 20 Under 40 class. In a glowing nomination, Pepin described her co-worker as “a perfect leader for the nonprofit world.”

“(Landgren) operates with equal parts emotion and intelligence,” she said.

20 Under 40 tidbits

Name: Madeline Landgren
Age: 32
Profession: Director of adult programs, Horizons Specialized Services
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology; master’s degree in biomedical science from Colorado State University

Pepin recalled an instance when Landgren worked with a man who required a wheelchair, eventually helping him progress from walking 10 feet at a time to accompanying Landgren to a restaurant without needing his chair.

Landgren’s approach, Pepin explained, is one of compassion and understanding, and she never backs away from a challenge.

“She is an empathetic and a patient problem solver,” Pepin said.

Being a millennial, Landgren said her generation is full of innovators who are facing a turbulent time.

“I think we have a lot of people that are coming together to reconcile that conflict and find new solutions,” she said.

And that’s how Landgren’s employers at Horizons feel about her: a tried and true problem solver with extensive knowledge and credibility.

The busy mother of two, who in May had her littlest one, Evelyn, extends herself out into the community, as well.

A resident of Hayden, Landgren serves on the board of Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA and recently participated on the design advisory group for the new Hayden School District campus.

Landgren moved to Routt County, originally living in Steamboat, when she was about 10 years old. She attended middle and high school in the county and had a traditional Colorado upbringing, participating in winter sports and growing to love the outdoors.

After high school, she attended Colorado State University and eventually went on to live in Montana.

She and her husband, Michael, who was formerly part of the Craig Hotshots, decided to move back to Routt County about five years ago. Part of that decision was to be closer to family but also because she couldn’t deny her attraction to the area.

“You grow up in a community and you can’t truly appreciate it for what it is and you take a lot of things for granted,” she said. “I didn’t realize the level of community that we do have, where people really come together. I think we’re a really giving community and everyone comes together to help each other. It’s beautiful.”

To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.

20 Under 40: Julia Luciano changes lives one day at a time

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Julia Luciano left rural Routt County at 18, she thought she’d never look back. Now at 27 years old, she’s back in the Yampa Valley and changing lives one day at a time.

“Growing up in South Routt, it was such a small community and everyone knew everything about you. It was so rural, and I thought I wanted big city life,” Luciano said.

Fortunately for the community, Luciano did come back after honing her expertise in humanity in both college and employment in Fort Collins, working with children, literacy, families in crisis as well as victim advocacy.

She’s now the program manager at Partners in Routt County where she matches adult mentors with children in need.

“I can’t say enough of her and how skilled and neatly she fits this work,” said Partners Executive Director Michelle Petix. “Parents are giving us their kids, and that’s a pretty scary thing for them… and she manages the whole program.”

Partners in Routt County helps children who are considered at-risk or have life challenges and then partners them with a volunteer mentor or “senior partner.” Petix said Luciano has a gift for pairing mentors and kids, all while coordinating group activities and senior partner training.

“The youth, parents and mentors that Julia works with have all commented on her welcoming and caring approach,” Petix said.

Friend Peter Daly grew up with Luciano and partnered with her during a charity event for a sexual assault advocacy group when she worked in Fort Collins.

20 Under 40 Tidbits

Name: Julia Luciano
Age: 27
Profession: Program manager for Partners of Routt County’s community-based mentoring program
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies, Colorado State University

“She has an intuitive nature about people. It’s not just a job for her — she likes to get out into the community and get others involved,” Daly said.

Indeed, Luciano spends her spare time volunteering for several organizations including Advocates of Routt County where she mans a crisis hotline for domestic and sexual violence.

“Julia has an amazing spirit and wants to help others, especially youth,” said Advocates Executive Director Lisel Petis.

In an environment where children’s lives can be a mess, Luciano admits she doesn’t always leave her work mentally after going home.

“I consider what I do here with kids as part of my life every day,” Luciano said. “It can get hard, but we get a lot of happy stories too … with kids who have these amazing families and mentors that dedicate their time and passion for them.”

Luciano also enjoys volunteering with her own junior partner, a 9-year-old girl.

“We have a back-to-school barbecue coming up and a cake decorating class,” Luciano said. “And in the winter, we’ll go snowmobiling.”

When not outside hiking or skiing, Luciano also volunteers for Girls on the Run, a running program for elementary to middle school girls. 

“We meet twice a week for running while incorporating life skills like friendship, self-esteem and healthy decision making,” said Luciano.

Luciano spends her spare time baking with her junior partner, fly-fishing with her dad and visiting with her mom and brothers, all of whom still live in South Routt County. She’s also antsy for ski season.

“Now I can appreciate all the experiences I had growing up that I didn’t appreciate at the time,” she said.

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

20 Under 40: Jacob Mielke helps promote the Steamboat lifestyle

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Whether leading his company’s team in the local coed volleyball league or a structural engineering project, Jacob Mielke, 29, is all about helping and promoting the Steamboat Springs lifestyle. 

Growing up in Loveland and moving to Steamboat in 2012 after receiving his architectural engineering degree from the University of Wyoming, Mielke began his tenure in Routt County working for Steamboat Engineering And Design — SEAD. He then bought the company with his wife, Caryn, in 2018 and has since done his best to help the local community professionally and civically. 

While he manages over 100 commercial and residential projects a year — including the historic Arnold Barn move, improvements to Howelsen Ice Arena, foundation work for the Outlaw Mountain Coaster and more — he also finds time to solidify his involvement with the community. He serves as a board member for the nonprofit BookTrails, in particular helping with building improvements for its Reading on Ranches program, and sponsors events hosted by the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

He’s been recognized two years running for the local Bike Commuter Challenge, an effort to reduce carbon emissions, and this year, he also was a gold-level sponsor of the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs’ Cornhole Classic.

“He’s wonderful and brings great ideas to the table,” said BookTrails Executive Director Emily Osterman, adding he’s helped with everything from conceptualizing site plans to creating drawings for the organization’s new building. “I was kind of nervous when he took over the business, which did a lot for us before, but now, they’re even more involved.  

“If we would have had to hire someone to do all the work he’s done for us, it would have been super expensive,” she added. “Both he and his wife, Caryn, just want to help and get involved in the community.” 

20 Under 40 Tidbits:

Name: Jacob Mielke
Age: 29
Profession: Co-owner, Steamboat Engineering And Design
Education: Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering, University of Wyoming

All the while, Mielke manages to instill in his four employees a love for Steamboat.

“We try to promote all the great reasons for living here, as opposed to making it all corporate,” he said. “We encourage our employees to participate in the community and take activity breaks to stay healthy and happy. We’re trying to create a work environment that’s similar to the whole Steamboat mentality, which we love.”

In his free time, look for Mielke out on local mountain bike trails or ski slopes.

“He loves all the recreational opportunities, small-town vibe and incredible people here,” Caryn said. “We didn’t come here to become rich but because we loved the unique experience this town offers. I’m always impressed by his ability to take advantage of all of this while running a challenging and successful business.” 

Mielke couldn’t agree more.

“We are truly fortunate to be a part of this thriving and joyful community and hope we can continue to give back to it,” he said. “We’re always looking at new volunteer opportunities and ways to help make people’s lives here better. Our biggest belief is honoring people’s lifestyles here.”

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.

20 Under 40: Sarah Fox forges a place for women in construction

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Sarah Fox admits that being young and a woman in the male-dominated field of construction is not the easiest.

“I feel like it’s made me way stronger and just a better person, a better leader,” Fox said of having to prove herself. “I’ve had to lead in a different manner — I’m very team-oriented. We work together to move the goal forward rather than being the dictator and telling people what to do. I worked my leadership around being a young female in a male-dominated industry with mostly older men. Earning their respect has been hard to do, but I feel like I’ve accomplished that.” 

Fox, 36, undoubtedly knows what she’s doing. She grew up around the family-run Fox Construction, which will celebrate its 40th year in January 2020. After earning a construction management degree at Colorado State University, she returned to Steamboat Springs to work in the business. Fox became the owner and president of the company when she bought it from her parents in 2016.

She said being around the business from a young age made her appreciate the field.

“You physically can see what you did in the day. There’s a lot of rewarding feelings with that,” Fox said. “Look at that, I built this whole room, or we stood all these walls and all of a sudden you have a building overnight.”

Fox Construction primarily builds custom residential homes and takes on the occasional commercial project, building businesses such as Cook Subaru & Chevrolet and a handful of local restaurants. Her company has helped build Steamboat into a better community, all while incorporating Fox’s passion for sustainability. 

Fox has implemented small changes to make her company greener. She has also been chairman and co-founder of the “Talking Green” series, was the secretary and founding board member of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council New Green Team and was a member of the Green Building Program Technical Advisory Committee. 

20 Under 40 Tidbits

Name: Sarah Fox
Age: 36
Profession: President of Fox Construction
Education: Construction management degree, Colorado State University

“We have this beautiful place that we live in, and if we don’t protect it and take some sort of initiative, it’s not going to remain this way,” Fox said. “We do enough damage to the Earth as humans, so I think it’s our responsibility to care for the environment moving forward and for future generations.”

While the construction business is her top priority, Fox and her husband, Jeremy Behling, also own three other auto businesses, which Behling primarily runs.

The pair have two children, JJ, 7, and Mackenzie, 4. Fox said running a business and raising kids is a challenge.

“I just do whatever it takes to maximize my time on each side,” Fox said. “I work a lot to be honest, but I also try to maximize time with my kids when I’m with them. I try to put the phone and computer away so every night we can have dinner together and put them to bed and have two or three hours of just them time with me.”

Fox is also on the Steamboat Springs Chamber Board of Directors and serves on the advisory council for Holy Name Catholic Church.

“She’s a busy lady, and she’s committed to giving her time and her talent and donating where she can and making Steamboat a better place for not only us but the next generation,” Behling said.

In the rest of her rare free time, Fox plays on a hockey team called Chicks with Sticks and captains a coed Fox Construction team in the city’s B league. She didn’t play in high school and first tried the sport after her company built the ice rink. Through playing hockey, Fox has met even more community members. 

“There’s so many people who play that I maybe never would meet if it weren’t through hockey,” she said. “It’s a diverse group of people.”

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

20 Under 40: Kaitlin Hollister uses creativity to better the community

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As the founder and owner of downtown’s Stand Creative Studio, a firm offering such services as brand identity, web design, social media programs and more, Kaitlin Hollister, 32, was a natural choice for Main Street Steamboat to tap for its marketing needs. 

“She’s been a volunteer and member of Main Street since I started,” said Main Street Steamboat Executive Director Lisa Popovich. “She’s helped us develop our branding and has been recognized by the National Main Street Organization for her work. She truly represents the best of our future leaders.” 

Hollister’s goodwill hardly ends with Main Street Steamboat. Other nonprofits she has donated her time, energy and — most importantly, creativity — to include the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Bike Town USA, Routt County Riders, Friends of the Yampa, Opera Steamboat and more. 

“I try to help out people and organizations I care about,” Hollister said, adding she’s especially drawn to environmental causes. “I’m not on the ground or a scientist or anything, so it’s my way of still helping. I can make a web page that people can find and then donate.”

She’s done exactly that and more for a variety of nonprofits, and the results have gone a long way. 

20 Under 40 Tidbits

Name: Kaitlin Hollister
Age: 32
Profession: Owner, Stand Creative Studio
Education: Bachelor of Arts in photography/art history, Montana State University

Hollister moved to Steamboat Springs from Fort Collins six years ago, where she lived after graduating from Montana State University with a degree in photography and art history. She became interested in graphic design while in Fort Collins and worked for design firm Creative Bearings in Steamboat and as an in-house graphic designer for Honey Stinger and Big Agnes before starting Stand Creative in 2015. 

As for her volunteerism, she does it all while managing a team of six full- and part-time workers in her downtown offices and hopping on her mountain bike, skis or yoga mat with husband, Geoff, a local electrician, in whatever time is left over.  

“She’s focused, professional and extremely generous with her time and talent,” added Popovich. “And she always comes through in a pinch.” 

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.

20 Under 40: Marsh Gooding goes from ski racing to search and rescue and sustainable living

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As a geography major, Steamboat Springs native Marsh Gooding, 33, studied urban sustainability theory at the University of Vermont, causing him to question the typical sprawl approach to city growth.

Writing his senior thesis on the difficulties of infill development, he spent five more years in Vermont as a real estate developer before returning to Steamboat with his wife, Hannah — an All-American ski racing recognition in tow — to help prevent that from happening in his hometown.

A real estate developer with his brother Gates, Gooding has quickly gone to work creating single-family homes that mirror his mindset. A few years ago the brothers entered the city planning process with a plan to create 15 small, single-family home lots on a hillside in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

“That’s been an endless project, but we just got permitted, and they’re shovel-ready,” Gooding said, adding that they should break ground on the first one next spring.

The two are also developing four single-family residential lots near the entrance to the Spring Creek Trail.  

Gooding learned more about how his hometown operates in 2017’s Leadership Steamboat class.

“Having grown up here, with only one experience of Steamboat, it was cool to meet a variety of people who have a hand in different things here,” he said. “It let me look at town with fresh eyes and provided a broad overview of how everything works.”

20 Under 40 Tidbits

Name: Marsh Gooding
Age: 39
Profession: Real estate developer
Education: Bachelor of Science in geography, University of Vermont

His grasp of the different concepts and active involvement quickly won over other participants. 

“I was impressed with his calm demeanor and effective leadership skills,” said local attorney Jim Moylan, who recruited Gooding to serve as a board member for the Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation. “And he makes very insightful and vital contributions to the foundation’s finance committee.”

In a way, it’s going full circle for Gooding, whose great grandfather, Judge Addison Gooding, co-founded the hospital that became today’s UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. Gooding has added to his family’s legacy in town with his 1-year-old daughter Lida, one of few sixth-generation Steamboat kids.

Gooding is grateful to have the opportunity to raise his daughter in such a community.

“The lifestyle here is hard to beat — you can do everything,” he said. “Plus, it’s a real community. Your commute isn’t about traffic but how many friends you run into.”

For Gooding — who also volunteers with Routt County Search and Rescue and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — that happens more often than not. His local ties also pay off when he’s called on to help with a rescue. 

“It’s always great to have somebody born and raised here to help out,” said Search and Rescue President Jay Bowman. “Marsh knows the area inside and out, and as an ex-ski racer, he’s in great shape and capable in everything we do. It’s a great way to use all his skills and local knowledge, and he’s a huge asset for our team. I can’t think of a more capable or deserving person to get this award.”

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email ebuchanan@SteamboatPilot.com.