Steamboat Springs’ Olympic heritage comes to life in Thunderhead gondola building this winter |

Steamboat Springs’ Olympic heritage comes to life in Thunderhead gondola building this winter

John F. Russell

Meet an Olympian

What: Former Olympic athletes talk about their experiences, answer questions

When: 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22

Where: Thunderhead Gondola Building, second floor

Who: Two-time Olympian Caroline Lalive Carmichael

It’s easy to talk about Olympic Heritage in a town that has been home to more than 80 Olympic athletes. It’s another thing to bring that heritage to life.

On Jan. 22, two-time Olympian Caroline Lalive Carmichael will do her best to bring her own experiences to life during a new series, introduced by the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. and the Tread of Pioneers Museum, at which people can meet Olympic athletes face-to-face for informal chats. The chats will be held at 1 p.m. on the second floor of the Thunderhead Lodge in front of the Olympic Tribute throughout the winter.

“We spent the better part of a year putting the Olympic Tribute display together,” said Candice Bannister, executive director of the Tread of Pioneers Museum. “It’s a chance to meet Olympians face-to-face and a chance to hear them to tell their own story. A static exhibit can only go so far, and having live oral history be a part of this brings our heritage to life.”

Lalive Carmichael is first in a line of speakers that will be expanded throughout the winter. The original plan was to have Johnny Spillane, who won three Olympic silver medals at the 2010 Olympic Games, speak. But the Spillanes are expecting the family’s third child, and Spillane had to cancel Friday. Lalive Carmichael said she was happy to fill in.

She acknowledged Friday she isn’t sure what to expect at the event but added she is excited to share her stories about the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

“It’s a huge honor, just to be part of such long legacy of Olympians in Steamboat,” Lalive Carmichael said. “I always feel just lucky that I get to be one of them.”

Lalive Carmichael spent 13-years as a member of the U.S. Ski Team, was a part of four World Championship teams and made appearances at two Olympics. She grew up in Northern California but moved to Steamboat with her family in 1995 as a teenager to train with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and attend the Lowell Whiteman School (Steamboat Mountain School).

She was named to the U.S. Ski Team shortly after arriving in Steamboat and moved back to town after retiring from the team in 2009.

Jennifer Shea, director of resort & hotel sales, who is in charge of the Meet an Olympian chats, said the plan is to host the events on different Sunday’s throughout the winter. The final lineup is still in the works, but Shea said the events will give locals and visitors a chance to meet Steamboat’s Olympic athletes in an informal setting.

“It’s a chance to bring attention to richness to our Olympic Heritage and the athletes by giving an opportunity for people of all ages to be able to meet a real Olympian face-to-face,” said Nicole Miller, digital communications manager.

She added that the Tread of Pioneers Museum and Steamboat Ski Area will present the series of chats throughout the season. providing guests a front-row seat to meet Olympians, see their medals and learn what it’s like to compete at the elite level.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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