Steamboat Springs It's been almost 10 years since Steamboat Springs freestyle skier Nelson Carmichael got a taste of Olympic glory in Tignes, France.
The year was 1992, and Carmichael grabbed the bronze medal after finishing behind gold-medal-winner Edgar Grospiron and silver medalist Olivier Allamand. It was the first time that mogul skiing was a full-medal sport at the Olympic Games and it was the first time a Steamboat skier brought home a medal.
"Winning an Olympic medal has changed my life," Carmichael said from his summer home in White Salmon, Wash., last week. "I always knew I would do something in skiing but it helped winning the medal."
During his career with the U.S. team, which ran from 1983-1992, Carmichael also was a two-time World Cup Grand Prix Mogul champion, won 12 individual World Cup event titles, was a six- time U.S. National Mogul champion and a Pro-Mogul champion.
Today, the Olympic medalist who amazed competitors and spectators with his fluid style in the bumps is amazed by watching his 4-year-old son Noah grow up. Carmichael still lives in Steamboat Springs part time but heads to Washington and the shores of the Columbia River every summer.
"I started coming to this area 10 or 15 years ago for ski camps," Carmichael said. "Me and my wife just fell in love with the area."
Carmichael said the location offers the best of both worlds. Mount Hood is just a short drive away and offers year-round skiing. The mighty waters of the Columbia are great for wind-surfing and water-skiing.
But Carmichael's love of Steamboat Springs hasn't faded either. Every December he returns to the area and works for the Steamboat Ski Area. He stays until April, when he returns to Oregon.
"I guess it has been 10 years," Carmichael said of winning the medal. "Time just sort of flies by."
Now, at age 35, Carmichael has turned his attention from snow to the business world. Three years ago he started his own clothing line, Ten80, which he admits keeps him pretty busy.
"Everything has to be done way ahead of time," Carmichael said.
He spends his summer meeting with wholesalers and lining up the fall lines. His clothing line incorporates his love for skiing and the outdoors.
Ten80 Designs set out to offer the snowriding public a completely new line of performance apparel. The line includes jackets, pants and accessories for skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers.
"The goal with Ten80 line is to offer premium performance clothing for anyone who enjoys the snow. The line is available at 51 locations and in Steamboat at Boardriders Club, Ski Haus and Christy Sports."
Carmichael said he will be back at the Olympic Games in 2002, not as a competitor, but as a spectator.
"I'm going to be there, but this time I'm just going to be watching," he said.
Carmichael said the sport of freestyle has changed a lot since he retired in 1992. He said the sport has become more strict and less innovative than when he was in it.
"It's funny because the stuff these guys are doing is really hard, but it all kind of looks the same," Carmichael said.
The old-time hot dogger said the sport is enjoying great exposure, but he fears that it may have lost some of its "on the edge" mentality.
"The athletes these days have so many other options. They can go into free skiing, snowboarding and big-air events," Carmichael said.
The former skier said he would like to see some changes made in the standard mogul course to bring back some of the excitement. He would even like to see a big-air maneuver added at the end of the run so that skiers could throw bigger, more spectacular tricks.
But for Carmichael, the competitive skiing days are over. Today, he is happy as a businessman and father.