Winter Sports Club jumping and Nordic combined program named Club of the Year
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club learned last week that the organization has won the 2018-19 Jumping/Nordic combined Club of the Year award from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association. It was the third time in three years that the program has earned the honor.
“Well, I think we just keep hitting markers that USA Nordic, our national sports committee, thinks are important,” program director Todd Wilson said. “Things like your club is growing, how many coaches we have that are Level 100 certified or higher. They look at competition results all the way through your program. We have just been on kind of a roll the past three years, so we are hitting a lot of those markers that they are identifying as key factors to successful clubs.”
Changes to the training programs this year that caught the attention of U.S. Ski & Snowboard officials included the program’s growth to record levels under the leadership of Wilson. Steamboat now has 150 athletes, including 100 that are 10 years of age or younger, making it the largest jumping and Nordic combined program in North America.
Wilson said the program accomplished this by offering free coaching to young athletes who otherwise never would have the opportunity to experience the sport.
“We have offered some free ski jumping sessions during those Free Ski Sundays with the idea of getting more kids off ski jumps,” Wilson said. “They decide that they liked it, and they wanted some more information, so that has been a big boost for us.”
Wilson said there has also been a huge effort put into the younger programs and trying to make the Wednesday Night Jump Series more fun and exciting for the young competitors.
“We put a lot of energy into our younger programs and changing things up,” Wilson said. “We have really grown our Wednesday night jump completion to be more fun and exciting. We have fire pits now, where we didn’t used to have those, and we offer chocolate and cider for people to drink. We have tried to make it a little more of a festive atmosphere.”
He also noted the program’s focus on training coaches.
“I believe that the coaching staff is a big reason why we got this award,” Wilson said. “It’s a tribute to their commitment to excellence and always wanting to do better.”
The team also enjoyed great success in competition sending 14 athletes to the junior championships and bringing home 17 of the 38 medals available. Ten out of the 12 athletes in the U16, U18 and U20 programs were named to national teams for their efforts on the slopes.
“We are honored to receive these accolades and to have our staff and athletes recognized for their hard work and dedication to the sport,” said Sarah Floyd, the executive director of the winter sports club.
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