Steamboat Springs A fresh layer of snow covered the ground at Howelsen Hill early Tuesday morning a sure sign that a change is just around the corner in the Yampa Valley.
But with winter on the horizon, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Executive Director Rick DeVos has already become accustomed to change.
On Tuesday, he was busy trying to line up a visa for new Alpine snowboarding coach Thedo Remmelinik the final piece of the puzzle for a greatly transformed snowboarding staff.
"We kind of figured out it was going to be a big change back in June," DeVos said of the coaching turnover. "We knew we were going to have some changes in the freestyle program before that, but the snowboarding change caught us a little off guard."
DeVos said the club has taken its time to make sure it found the right people to replace former snowboard director Todd Reeves, former Alpine coach Mike Mallon, former freestyle coach Spencer Tamblyn and former assistant Derek Switzsky, all of whom departed early last summer to pursue other opportunities.
"It's just one of those things," DeVos said. "They all decided it was time to do something different. They all played an important role in making this one of the strongest programs in the country, and we wanted to make sure that we selected the right people to take their place."
DeVos didn't have to look very far to find a solid candidate to fill the director role.
Michael Herget was already the coach of the junior snowboarding program, and DeVos said he was a natural to step into the program director's role.
"He is a very organized guy and was very excited about taking the position," DeVos said. "I think he will bring some new ideas to the club and break some new ground in a sport which is constantly evolving."
Herget was hired in August and has been working along with DeVos to build a top-notch coaching staff since then.
"It's been a real challenge," Herget said. "Those guys are the ones who built this program they're pretty tough to replace."
Herget said the past four years have prepared him for the role as director.
He said coming up through the program has helped him evaluate the things that are working and those that are not.
He said the program will change this summer, but that doesn't mean the high standards that have been established in the past will change.
Herget said he would use a system that documents a rider's progression from week to week and throughout the season.
He will also help riders develop resumes, which he hopes will help them land sponsorships.
Herget said the key to the program's success, however, would still be the entire coaching staff.
Herget said he would continue to play a very active coaching role.
Kevin "Cactus" Nemec and Greg Musso will take on prominent roles on the freestyle side. Both of those coaches came to Steamboat from Aspen.
Patrick Hargrove is also expected to return to the program as an assistant ability coach, and newcomer Erin Simmons will give the team insight into the sport of boardercross and ability coach.
"Our athletes have come to expect a certain caliber of coach," Herget said. "This is a great staff and more than meets those expectations."
The only part of the program that is still uncertain is the alpine side. Herget has lined up Remmelinik from the Netherlands. However, members of the club are still trying to line up a visa so the coach can work in Steamboat legally.
They expect that to take two or three weeks.