Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club integral to city’s tradition
Steamboat Springs — The Olympic celebration — the one that took place after former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes had claimed five medals in Vancouver — had barely died down when skiers and riders were back on the competition courses and looking to the future.
The medal-winning achievements of Nordic combined skiers Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick, Billy Demong and Brett Camerota represented a high point for a club that is celebrating its 98th Winter Carnival and has produced and coached 71 Winter Olympians.
Already this season, mogul skier Patrick Deneen, training with Winter Sports Club coach Timmy Meagher, has ranked as high as No. 1 in the world. And Anna Marno, 18, scored a breakthrough for the club’s Alpine program by qualifying for the World Junior Championships from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6 in Crans Montana, Switzerland. Marno was just 16 in March 2009 when she broke onto the national scene with a Junior Olympic Championship in the downhill event.
Bryan Fletcher, who narrowly missed out on the Olympic U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team last season, didn’t pout. He rededicated himself to his summer training and roared back to finish a career-best eighth place on the World Cup in Ramsau, Austria, in December 2010. In late January, he and brother Taylor Fletcher were named alongside Lodwick, Spillane and Demong as members of the U.S. World Championship Nordic Combined team that will compete in late February in Norway.
The Winter Sports Club’s pipeline to international competition and the Olympics is stronger than ever, but in the final analysis, the club that is so integral to Steamboat’s tradition as Ski Town USA is more devoted to polishing youngsters into well-rounded adults than it is to climbing Mount Olympus.
The Winter Sports Club hires an elite coaching staff made up of numerous former Olympic and World Cup athletes and uses the Howelsen Hill facilities in downtown Steamboat to introduce youngsters to competition in Alpine, Nordic, freestyle, snowboarding, biathlon and Telemark skiing programs. This season, some 800 children and teens are taking part in the club.
“Any day from 4 to 6 p.m. at Howelsen Hill you see so many kids participating in so many outdoor adventures,” said Sarah Floyd, athletic director for the club.
Teaching those young skiers to set goals and reach them with humility, as well as to travel across the country with their peers and coaches, are the life skills the club offers whether or not a young athlete is on an Olympic path.
The tradition here goes back to 1913 when Carl Howelsen showed locals how to use skis for more than mere transportation during the long Yampa Valley winters. Howelsen built the first ski jumps in town and planted the seeds of the Winter Sports Club when he organized the first Winter Carnival in 1914.
For more information about the Winter Sports Club, visit http://www.sswsc.org.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
In late 2019, Routt County Riders and Partners in Routt County were handed the blueprints for what had previously been known as the Steamboat Stinger. With the birth of the Honey Stinger Emerald Mountain Epic,…