SSWSC adds new Olympic sport to its program roster |

SSWSC adds new Olympic sport to its program roster

Katie Everson, right, and Zachary Snavely race in Cody's Challenge, a ski mountaineering event at Steamboat Ski Area. The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is adding ski mountaineering to its programming this winter.
Joel Reichenberger/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is introducing a new snow sports program this winter season. 

Ski mountaineering, known as skimo, is an endurance sport that requires athletes to ski up and down a mountain faster than their opponents. Similar to other endurance sports, the distances and terrains vary based on which mountain is being raced.

Ski mountaineering head coach Tim DeBoom says the idea originally came to him when he found most of his summer mountain biking athletes did little aerobic exercises in the winter.

When DeBoom stopped racing professionally, skimo was the first sport he jumped into and said it is the perfect thing to keep his athletes in shape year round. That is how he got the SSWSC to agree to the idea.

“I sold it by saying that I come out of the winter more fit than I come out of the summer and it’s because of how much skimo training that I do,” DeBoom said.

A sport that has gotten huge in Europe, skimo is much smaller in the U.S. but continues to gain popularity. The sport was recently announced as an official Olympic sport for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Italy.

DeBoom has ambitions of getting Steamboat’s skimo athletes into the 2030 Winter Olympics and says it will be great to start his athletes young to prepare them.

“The fact that it’s an Olympic sport now, there’s no reason for the club to not have a program,” DeBoom said. “We cover all the other skiing disciplines out here and I thought this was a prime opportunity to do it.”

Grace Staberg of Summit County ascends during the ski mountaineering girls sprint quarterfinal at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in January 2020 in Switzerland.
Olympic Information Services/Courtesy photo

So far, DeBoom’s mountain biking athletes have been the majority of the sign-ups, but he says all are welcome to participate. 

Because so much of the sport takes place moving up a mountainside, the equipment is much lighter and flimsier. DeBoom equates it to the difference between a cross country bike and a downhill enduro bike. 

DeBoom says it will take his athletes some time to get used to the difference in equipment but once they do, he is confident they will fall in love with the sport. 

“The kids that are signed up are the ones that really want to make gains in their fitness for next summer for mountain biking,” DeBoom said. “That’s kind of the way I sold it to them, but I think they’re going to really enjoy this because it’s so much fun.”

With dryland training starting up over the next few days, DeBoom cannot wait to share this sport with the whole town.

His team will be training at both Howelsen and the Steamboat Resort each week. His goal is for his athletes to set the example and become ambassadors of uphill training. 

DeBoom said he is thankful that the SSWSC has given him the chance to do this and his number one hope is to get more and more athletes interested as the years go by. 

For his first season, DeBoom has no performance expectations. He just wants his athletes to have fun and enjoy ski mountaineering. 

“My goal this winter is to just really introduce them to it and build some true winter fitness in this, more than trying to get totally race ready because most of them haven’t done it,” DeBoom said.

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