Our view: A place at the Olympics bid table
Editorial Board • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
• Lisa Schlichtman, editor
• Tom Ross, reporter
Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com.
It was symbolic last week that a group of Steamboat Springs community leaders gathered at the base of Howelsen Hill in Olympian Hall, under the flags that represent each one of Steamboat’s Olympians, to engage in a discussion about the possibility of Denver and the state of Colorado hosting an Olympic Winter Games in 2026 or 2030.
The Steamboat gathering was one of seven “mountain advisory community groups” convened by the Olympic Exploratory Committee, which has been tasked with determining whether an Olympic bid for Colorado is feasible. The discussion was part of the committee’s outreach to towns on the Western Slope that could be impacted by an Olympic bid. Other community meetings were held in Denver, Winter Park, the Vail Valley, Breckenridge, the Dillon area and the Clear Creek corridor.
The Steamboat Springs group wasted no time in making sure the Denver contingent understood that Ski Town USA wanted a piece of the action if the bid process advanced, and we support that mindset wholeheartedly.
The meeting was a chance for the Exploratory Committee to gauge whether or not Steamboat leaders thought bringing the Olympics to Colorado would be good for the community and the state and what challenges and opportunities would come if Denver landed a future Winter Games.
The group of about 60 did not dissect the logistics involved in hosting an Olympic venue in Steamboat, but instead focused on why our mountain town should be considered as a possible Olympic venue and what impact that could have on our community.
Over and over again, the discussion returned to Steamboat’s rich Olympic history with local leaders agreeing that it just made sense for Steamboat to be part of the Olympic bid conversation based on our history. And on the flip side, it was concluded that to be left out of the Olympic plan for Colorado would be damaging to Steamboat’s brand and identity.
So here’s the bottom line — if the Olympics were to come to Colorado — and that’s a big if — it’s vitally important that Steamboat Springs be part of it. Whether that would involve serving as a freestyle venue or as the Nordic combined, jumping hub, Steamboat, with its rich Olympic heritage and reputation for producing more Olympians than any other town in the U.S., has definitely earned a place at the table.
Our Olympics heritage and our community’s expertise in hosting world-class competitions at both Steamboat Ski Area and Howelsen Hill would be extremely valuable to any efforts to land the bid and execute on them, and playing host to a portion of the Olympics would further deepen and celebrate Steamboat’s Olympic roots.
We are glad community leaders spoke passionately about Steamboat and made sure members of the Exploratory Committee heard them loud and clear.
As Reeves Brown, a consultant with the Exploratory Committee, said at the close of last week’s meeting, Steamboat considers its Olympic heritage as “not just experience and history” but as “defining — and that to me is unique. It’s an important legacy.”
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