Winter Carnival: Jim Boyne: Sochi, Winter Carnival and 100 years of the SSWSC |

Winter Carnival: Jim Boyne: Sochi, Winter Carnival and 100 years of the SSWSC

Jim Boyne/For the Steamboat Today

Jim Boyne is the executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

As celebrations for the 101st Winter Carnival begin to take shape and a group of our young athletes prepare to head to the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club celebrates a century of training the youths of the Yampa Valley in snow sports.

One hundred years after its birth, the Winter Sports Club prides itself in the evolutionary path it has taken from its start in 1914 as an organizing committee for the first Winter Carnival to what it is today: a nonprofit organization that has become one of the leading training clubs for winter sports in North America, having produced more winter Olympians than any other club with 79 Olympians and 135 Olympic appearances.

We are proud to have continuously produced the Winter Carnival for more than a century, and we couldn't do it without a dedicated staff and hundreds of volunteers.

In addition, many thanks to our sponsors, including the city of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Ski Area and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association staff, who all partner with us to create this unique event. Lastly, we give our deep appreciation to this community and to all of our sponsors for supporting our athletes' achievements, both on and off the snow.

The club has a rich history and substantial legacy to celebrate this year with its 100th birthday. Friendly competition in the town's first Winter Carnival 101 years ago led club athletes to start dreaming big; they were Steamboat's first Olympic hopefuls.

With the installment of training programs in Nordic, Alpine and freestyle skiing as well as full-time coaches, the pursuit for success paid off when, at Lake Placid in 1932, Johnny Steele became the first club athlete to compete in an Olympic Games. Although he did not win in his event, his achievement was a turning point; the SSWSC was no longer a small-town organization with high hopes. It was an official club dedicated to achieving Olympic dreams.

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Big dreams come true when athletes learn to dream big, train harder, give their best and win and lose honorably. This year, SSWSC is proud to be celebrating its heritage with the Winter Carnival while also watching local athletes compete in Sochi, bringing with them the name of the club and the benefit of 100 years of expertise and knowledge that have helped to make them some of the country's best athletes. Please help us in honoring all of our athletes in the Winter Carnival and also those who will be competing for their dreams in Sochi.

Even our athletes who do not bring home medals are worthy of recognition — from the little ones just learning their first turns who will show their skills in the street events to those young at heart who will take to their shovels for the show.

Welcome to the 101st Winter Carnival, our celebration of winter and mountain living, our athletes at Sochi and the club's 100th anniversary. When our athletes proudly display their skills at the 101st Winter Carnival, cheer for them as though they are competing at Sochi. No dream is too small and no celebration too large for the athletes of Steamboat Springs!

Jim Boyne

Executive director of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club