Steamboat Springs Most of the awards that were handed out Thursday night in Olympian Hall had nothing to do with results but everything to do with honoring the characteristics that make winners.
"The winners get recognized all the time on the slopes," said Rick DeVos, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club executive director.
The athletes who earned these awards, however, displayed more than just the ability to place first in a competition.
"They demonstrated all the qualities that we embrace as a club, " DeVos said.
The director pointed to Lauren Crawford, who won the Charles Abernathy Memorial "True Grit" Award as an example of the type of athlete that takes center stage at this ceremony.
This season she has displayed a strong work ethic and an enthusiastic and supportive approach to teammates and the sport. She has also, through hard work and perseverance, made the most of her talent.
"She is, and the rest of our winners are, the type of athlete we are proud to have represent the club," DeVos said.
While the Winter Sports Club has made a reputation across the Rocky Mountain region and across the country for winning, on Thursday night the idea was to honor the club's character as well as its results.
DeVos said all of the skiers and snowboarders who were honored on this evening displayed special characteristics such as sportsmanship, the ability to work hard and all-around toughness that brings respect to the club as a whole. DeVos said these are the characteristics the Winter Sports Club is working so hard to create the success on the slopes is just a nice added bonus.
"This was one of our busiest seasons ever," DeVos said. "This was a big year for the club. We hosted more events than ever before and things were hectic especially with all the Olympic hoopla."
But DeVos said the club's growth in 2001-2002 season was a sign things are moving in the right direction. This year, the club's numbers increased from 525 skiers to nearly 630. DeVos said that is a 20 percent increase over the previous year.
"It means we have to work harder to find additional coaches, staff and fund-raising opportunities," DeVos said. "The club will continue to face challenges in the future, but the success of our athletes makes it all worthwhile."
In 2001-2002, the Winter Sports Club continued to dominate regional and national results in Alpine, freestyle and Nordic skiing disciplines, as well as in snowboarding.
More than 20 athletes, coaches and supporters were honored Thursday night as part of the ceremony, including Brian Tate (coach of the year), David Manthei (snowboarding outstanding performance), Korie Steitz (outstanding cross country performance) and Luke Belz (Hobart freestyle award).
DeVos said the event marked the end of another successful season for the Winter Sports Club.
"It's a nice way to wrap things up for another year, " DeVos said.