Move to Steamboat: Olympian Town USA
Olympians with Steamboat Ties Competing in the 2014 Sochi Games
Belle Brockhoff, AUS, snowboarding
Caroline Calve, CAN, snowboard
Billy Demong, USA, Nordic combined
Patrick Deneen, USA, moguls
Bryan Fletcher, USA, Nordic combined
Taylor Fletcher, USA, Nordic combined
Arielle Gold, USA, snowboarding
Taylor Gold, USA, snowboarding
Jarryd Hughes, AUS, snowboarding
Ester Ledecka, CZE, snowboarding
Todd Lodwick, USA, Nordic combined
Eliza Outtrim, USA, moguls
Justin Reiter, USA, snowboarding
Vic Wild, RUS, snowboarding
Percy Jackson has nothing on Steamboat Springs. While he may be the son of Poseidon, the Yampa Valley and its 100-year-old, world-renowned Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is parent to more Olympians than any other town in the country.
Hang your hat here and there’s a good chance your neighbor might have competed on the world’s biggest athletic stage. At the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, 14 athletes with ties to Steamboat and its heralded Winter Sports Club competed in the Games, including the locally raised brother/sister tandem of Taylor and Arielle Gold in snowboarding; Nordic combined’s Fletcher brothers (Bryan and Taylor); and homegrown Todd Lodwick, the first American skier to compete in six Winter Olympics.
From John Steele becoming the town’s first Olympian in 1932 in Lake Placid, New York, up to the Vancouver Olympics where local Nordic combined skiers brought home seven medals, Steamboat has ties to more than 88 Olympic athletes, with more than 151 Olympic appearances between them. You’re as likely to brush elbows with them in the grocery store as gondola line.
“The Olympic tradition here is hard to rival,” says retired Nordic combined skier Johnny Spillane, who brought home three silver medals from the 2010 Olympics. “The town has created an atmosphere that breeds Olympic-quality competitors. Some towns nurture baseball or football but Steamboat nurtures Olympians.”
The list varies depending on how you count; it could be someone who was born and raised here, trained here or moved here after an Olympic appearance. But it’s substantial nonetheless — especially for a mountain town of 10,000. “Our list is as comprehensive and inclusive as we could make it,” says Tread of Pioneers Museum Executive Director Candice Bannister, whose staff monitors the count.
The town’s Olympians cover the spectrum of winter sports, from Nordic and Alpine racing to freestyle skiing and snowboarding. They include everyone from to Steamboat Ski Area Director of Skiing Billy Kidd, who won the U.S. men’s first skiing Olympic Medal in 1964 when he took the silver in slalom, to former Winter Sports Club coach Deb Armstrong, who won the giant slalom gold in 1984.
“Steamboat has produced more Olympians than any other town in North America,” says Winter Sports Club Executive Director Jim Boyne, whose club employs nine Olympians. “Steamboat’s unique success on the world stage and in the Olympics is a byproduct of the way our community and our club embraces and develops youth — we create champions on and off the mountain and that nurturing and bond is what truly sets our town apart.”
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The community was invited to share its snow drawings in the era of COVID-19 to keep the tradition alive throughout February. Designs were created across the Yampa Valley’s snowy landscape using snowshoes.