Spoke Talk: Taking the “winter” out of SSWSC
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club has been around longer than any of us — 101 years, to be exact. The ski club is one of the most successful in the country, enriching the lives of thousands of youth and producing an unequalled number of winter Olympians along the way. Its headquarters sits at the base of Howelsen Hill Ski Area in the wintertime, which also happens to be the base of the Emerald Mountain Trails System in the summertime.
When the snow melts, the club doesn’t take a break.
Dozens of athletes train for their winter sports during summer months. On-snow camps are planned as close as Arapahoe Basin and as far away as Switzerland. Acrobatic camps that benefit freestyle and snowboard athletes launch at Steamboat’s Bald Eagle Lake and the trampoline facility. Summer conditioning programs, air bag training, Nordic jumping and roller skiing programs all continue winter sports training throughout the summer.
For athletes in all disciplines, SSWSC has developed a complete cycling program that meets the learning desires of any level of cyclist. Last summer, 275 youth participated in various cycling programs, and this year, SSWSC anticipates more. Children as young as 7 years old learn fundamental skills of mountain biking from volunteer coaches during the six-week, once per week training program. As their skills evolve, so do learning opportunities. SSWSC offers girl-only programs, programs for the more adventurous and advanced and a BMX camp. SSWSC also offers a summer skateboard program.
In addition to development programs, SSWSC offers three levels of competitive cycling for various age groups from 10 to 19 years old. As athletes grow in age and ability, the focus also widens from purely mountain biking to a combination of mountain bike and road racing. Adults even have an opportunity to get involved and support SSWSC’s cycling programs by becoming Steel Club members. Steel Club members compete in SSWSC’s Road Training Series, which the club puts on each summer, hosting the historic Rabbit Ears time trial.
Later in the summer, the club begins its coaching of Steamboat Springs High School’s Mountain Bike Team, a Colorado High School MTB program that competes in the Colorado High School League Races from August through October.
To kick off summer, SSWSC will hold Steamboat’s annual Bike Swap on May 30 at Howelsen Hill parking lot. Consignors can drop off bikes or cycling equipment between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Cost to sell is $5 per bike or piece of equipment, or $20 for a 10 by 10 space. Additionally, a 15 percent commission will be collected on all items sold, with a maximum commission of $100 per item. Shopping opens at 10 a.m. and will continue until to 1 p.m., with free entry. Experts from bike shops will offer ABC Bike Checks, and a strider/ skills obstacle course will be set up.
SSWSC isn’t just about winter programming; it offers year-round mentoring and leadership through its athletic programs. In fact, in 1944, SSWSC was the first winter club in the state of Colorado to initiate off-season, dryland training, which has since expanded into a large selection of summer training programs. For information on SSWSC’s summer programs, visit sswsc.org.
Wendy Tucciarone is a Routt County Riders member, volunteer and the club’s administrator.
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