Elite Steamboat Springs athletes share their superstitions
January 1, 2019
Editor’s note: This story is from the 2019 issue of Best of the Boat magazine.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When it comes to sports, Steamboat Springs is a competitive community. So it's no surprise a few of our marquee athletes try to muster every advantage they can, even if it means a little help from Lady Luck.
Nordic combined Olympian
“The good-luck charm I did the most was wear new socks for competitions. It was a good way to start the day. I also used to carry an African elephant whisker bracelet and lion's claw in my jump bag for good luck, which were given to me by a friend.”
“I don’t subscribe to any superstitions, but I'm adamant about having caffeine before and 45 minutes after a race — ideally coffee before and a Coke after, but I’m generally happy with whatever. I also used to eat beet salad the night before a race; I tend to feel good when I have them, placebo or not.”
World Cup snowboard cross
“I was also very careful before a race to follow the same routine for preparation, making sure I did the same thing the day of the race. I took a shower when I woke up and had breakfast in my normal clothes before changing.”
Freestyle moguls Olympian, Canadian Development Team coach
“I always put everything in chronological order the night before … underwear, socks turtleneck, bottoms, etc. That way I didn't have to think about it in the morning. I also had a race-only turtleneck.”
Alpine skiing Olympian, Fleischer Sport founder
“I always wore the same socks for race day as I wore on my last training run. That way they were broken in, form-fitted and ready to go fast. When I was younger, I had a pair of long johns I always wore that were so shredded they wouldn’t be fit for a rag. I used them for three years before letting them go.”
Haymaker Fall Classic golf champion
“I never tee off on the first hole of a tourney with a new ball. It's always one that I've played with before. I also like to mark my ball with the same quarter the whole round. I'm not superstitious; I just know what works.”
Nordic combined Olympian
“I always tied my boots once and let my feet get used to the pressure before I headed up to the jump. Then I untied them and retied them when it was time to jump. I also wore a tight under-suit, and once I found one that worked, I didn't use anything else. If I was in the wrong state of mind, I'd listen to Mumford & Sons or The Lumineers to reset before I jumped.”
Leaving Chance to Chance
And, of course, a few local athletes don't believe in such poppycock.
Freestyle moguls Olympian
“I really didn’t have any superstitions, although I'd use the same equipment for as long as possible. Skis, boots, poles, gloves, goggles, clothing, pretty much everything. I'd rather be comfortable than try out something new.”
“When I was little, I'd purposely do all the things you’re ‘not supposed to,’ like spill salt and crack mirrors just to test them out. I try to approach every competition as though it was just another practice day. Otherwise, I lose my sense of fun that helps me land, which doesn't get you on the podium.”
“I just like to stick to a routine before an event. Get up a little early, eat breakfast, take a long time getting ready, and pretty much treat it as any other day until I'm riding up the lift.”