Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Steamboat Springs When locals think of Steamboat Springs' heritage, the first words that probably come to their minds are Winter Sports Club. The name conjures up images of airborne youngsters throughout the skiing world, but the club's biggest influence and its most devoted fans are located right here in Steamboat Springs.
The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club won the second Steamboat Springs Heritage Award, given to a group, organization or person that best exemplifies and contributes to the heritage of Steamboat Springs, Saturday during the Winter Carnival night show at Howelsen Hill. City Council President Kathy Connell presented the award to club Executive Director Rick DeVos in front of more than 1,000 people.
DeVos was surprised and touched.
"We're really proud to have the community and the city recognize us for the long-term contribution the club has made to the community," he said Tuesday.
The award seems particularly fitting given the fact the Winter Sports Club has reached a new pinnacle of success in terms of training athletes for world-class competitions.
On Tuesday, a number of the club's athletes put in outstanding performances at the Olympics, with local Travis Mayer winning a silver medal in moguls skiing at Deer Valley. In addition, locals Clint Jones and Alan Alborn made the cut for the finals in ski jumping on the K-120 meter hill near Park City.
Since 1914, more than 50 Olympians have come from Steamboat Springs. But the Winter Sports Club does more than just train the most Olympians from any town in North America. The club, 75 coaches strong, is training 630 people this year, with programs for everyone from toddlers to adults.
Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner nominated the club, which was established in 1914 to organize the Winter Carnival, for the award.
The first Heritage Award was presented in 2000 to John Fetcher, though the city took 2001 off, deciding not to present the award.
"It's pretty special," Stettner said. "It's not the kind of thing we want to do annually."
The Steamboat Springs City Council chooses the winner of the award from nominations. The winner receives a bronze elk statue created by local artist and rancher Curtis Zabel.