Howelsen proves magnetic for Fisher
Ski jumper returning to coach for Winter Sports Club
Steamboat Springs — It’s not a pointed question or an authoritative demand.
It’s more like a constant reminder, Corby Fisher explained on Thursday, reflecting on exactly how Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club ski jumping and Nordic combined director Todd Wilson operates when it comes to staffing.
“A couple of years ago he started saying, ‘You should come back and help us,’” said Fisher, a U.S. Ski Team veteran in special jumping.
Wilson mentioned it one day, then again the next time he saw Fisher, and soon every time, always trying to stay the angel on the shoulder rather than the annoying friend in the ear.
Eventually it worked, and Fisher decided this spring the time was right. The Steamboat Springs native who learned ski jumping on Howelsen Hill has come home to assume a coaching position once again with the Winter Sports Club.
“I’m just so happy to be back,” he said Thursday. “I’m excited to get more kids fired up about challenging themselves to ski jump, to drop in, let go of that bar and fly and be a part of Steamboat’s heritage.”
Fisher became a part of that heritage first thanks to his own jumping skills. He made the U.S. Team in the mid 1990s but had his career ended abruptly after a pair of nasty crashes. One left him with a jarring concussion and, after a recovery, the other left him with two broken vertebrae in his neck.
That’s when Wilson’s persistence in reaching out to former athletes to take over coaching roles first snared Fisher.
He spent the 1996-97 winter season coaching Nordic combined with the Winter Sports Club, and that fueled a new chapter in his life. He did dedicate several years to another dream, that of a bull rider, and walked on to the rodeo program at University of Wyoming. But before long, he was back to coaching, and soon he was racking up major accomplishments.
He leapt up the ladder and was soon running the Nordic program in Park City, Utah. He went from there to the U.S. Ski Team as a jumping coach for Nordic combined and helped some of Steamboat’s biggest sports heroes along their way, including Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick and Billy Demong.
He went from there to coaching the special jumping squad for the U.S. Ski Team and stepped down from that in 2006.
A stint with his own sports marketing company and in marketing for the Easton Sports sporting goods company followed, leading the way, eventually, back to the place it all started.
Fisher is a father of two, 8-year old daughter Keely and 6-year old son Zane, and he said that’s changed the way he looks at the world.
He’s still passionate about ski jumping, however, and he’s in love with Steamboat.
“In the end, it’s about a desire to come home and give back,” he said. “I tried to reflect on my life, what it’s all about, and I said, ‘Man, the Winter Sports Club, that was my home. That’s where I grew up.’ It means so much to me.”
When winter comes, Fisher, 39, will actually take on the same exact position he had nearly 20 years ago, coaching the club’s U10 and U12 jumpers.
He’ll put a great deal of his focus on coach education, as well, and he brings a marketing savvy that Wilson said will be a big benefit to the club.
“He’s someone who knows the club so well, but he’s coming back with a whole different deck of cards, a different skill set,” Wilson said. “He’s been out there, has seen the best in the world, and he’ll bring that expertise back to use. He has a ton of passion — a passion for Steamboat and for the club, so that’s a lot of good ingredients coming together.”
Fisher started on the job this month, and he’s dreaming big.
He wants to help build the club’s special jumping program, and he’s already deep into helping plan the big upcoming Fourth of July ski jumping and Nordic combined event.
That gets him excited. There weren’t plastic ski jumps when he grew up in Steamboat, and while he’s brought his kids to town to see the event, this will be his first time really being involved.
His return is not just about that, though.
Wilson did the prodding, planting the seed that eventually grew, but it was Fisher’s decision.
“My whole motivation is just to give back,” he said. “I want to help get more Steamboat kids a chance to launch off that big hill and just fly.”
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