SSWSC named Club of the Year by US Ski and Snowboard
There is a reason Steamboat Springs is recognized as Ski Town, U.S.A.
It may have something to do with the beauty of Steamboat Resort or the 100 Olympic athletes who have called Steamboat home, but the true origin of it all starts with the community’s support and love for winter sports.
That passion has culminated into the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s selection as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard 2023 Club of the Year. The award was announced at a banquet in Park City, Utah, on Wednesday, May 17.
The club also received awards for Alpine club of the year and Freestyle club of the year. SSWSC Alpine U16 head coach Ben Brown earned individual recognition as development coach of the year and Alpine domestic coach of the year.
This is the SSWSC’s fifth time winning club of the year and its first selection since 2017. The club also earned recognition in 2007, 2004 and the award’s inaugural year in 1998. No other club has won this award more than twice.
“There are so many great clubs and everybody has their own methods,” SSWSC Executive Director Sarah Floyd said. “Every day we are trying to do everything better than we did it the day before. I think that is generally our philosophy for the kids, for each other and throughout the club.”
Receiving this award is determined by a lot more than competition results. It is about athlete support, education, strength and conditioning and so much more. Recipients represent the vision, mission and core values of U.S. Ski and Snowboard as a whole.
While the SSWSC does not focus on winning the award each year, the club’s goals are aligned with that of U.S. Ski and Snowboard in the way they help grow athletes physically, emotionally and socially.
Education for coaches, parents and athletes has become vital over the years and Chief Operating Officer Jon Nolting said the transparency, communication and dedication led to one of the most impressive winter seasons he has seen across the board.
“Our athletes were stronger coming into the season, I think, than they have ever been,” Nolting said. “Bigger than that, there was a culture of hard work that was developed through the strength and conditioning in the summer and fall that paid dividends in the winter.”
A lot of the success can be attributed to the unique opportunity Howelsen Hill presents to its athletes. In one place at the heart of town, athletes have the ability to practice or compete in any snow sports discipline.
Howelsen Hill has been the cornerstone of the community for more than 100 years, and Floyd said the winter sports club is what brings it alive.
“Howelsen welcomes everyone and gives them the opportunity to participate,” Floyd said. “That is a real key element in our community. People are proud of that and want that to continue. That is where the club fits into the community. We are just trying to provide for any kid that is interested to get involved.”
Floyd emphasized that winning club of the year is not an SSWSC award, but truly an award for all of Steamboat Springs.
Just like any organization, the club ran into its many challenges this winter, but was able to navigate the high volume of snow and remain focused on its core mission of creating champions on and off the mountain.
Winning club of the year is a great indicator of the SSWSC’s success but there is still growth to be had.
“We always have to keep getting better,” SSWSC athletic director Dave Stewart said. “The bar keeps getting raised by the achievements of our athletes and athletes at other clubs. We cannot be complacent and need to continue to be innovative and find the next thing that will enhance the experience and progression of our athletes.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.