The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Awards Night lasted just more than an hour Tuesday evening.
However, it has taken more than four weeks to select the athletes, volunteers and programs that were honored in the annual ceremony and an entire season for the athletes and coaches to make a statement.
"We've been working on these awards for about a month," said Rick DeVos, the club's executive director. "That's when we started to whittle down the list, and eventually the names -- the right names -- just popped out."
It wasn't a surprise that the final cut was difficult for a club that officially will earn the title of "Club of the Year" when the United States Ski Association announces it today.
DeVos let the news slip about the club's impending honors during the ceremony Tuesday night in Olympian Hall, where he handed out some of the club's most prestigious awards.
It was a night to celebrate the athletes' accomplishments on the slopes, in the classrooms and in the community during the past six months. Still, DeVos couldn't help but highlight the fact that Steamboat is home to one of the best clubs in the country. The USSA also will announce today that the club's snowboarding and cross country programs are the best offered anywhere in the country.
But the main reason for the gathering was to announce the winners of 17 year-end honors that go to skiers, coaches and volunteers who have gone beyond the call of duty.
DeVos said the Winter Sports Club, which has 875 athletes, hosted more than 90 competition days this winter including the Rocky Mountain Division's Regional Freestyle Championships, the J4 Junior Olympic Championships and the National Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships.
He said those events couldn't have happened without the work of a dedicated staff, volunteers from the community and the financial support of the city and the Steamboat Ski Area.
Among the leaders in supporting the club were Kathi Meyer and Jim Petersen who were named this year's winners of the John Fetcher Honorary Sustaining Member award.
DeVos said the pair have displayed an unselfish support for the club for years and have been instrumental in making sure the National Championships run smoothly in Steamboat.
"I can't say enough about how honored we are to even be considered for this award," Meyer said. "This room, this community and this organization are so filled with love, and we are just happy to be a part of it."
Other big winners on awards night included Emily Hannah who pocketed the Bea Kirby Trophy, Austin Ross and Marsh Gooding who took the Ned Grand Memorial Trophy and the family of Willard Anderson who won the Ritter Memorial Courage Cup.
Eddie Keiser won the Stahly Award, Adam Peters won the Wilbur Madsen Memorial, and Andreas Foulk and Olivia Yokubonis shared the Barrett Burch Memorial Trophy.
The Charles Abernathy Memorial "True Grit" Award went to Suzanne Allbright; the Mary C. Magill Memorial Ski Meister Award went to Jake Barker; and the Skeeter Award went to Jamie Gay and Charlotte Letson.
Coaching honors went to Calder O'Sullivan who was named Rookie of the Year, as well as Blair Seymour and Greg Musso who shared the title of Coach of the Year.
Madeline Schaffrick won the Snowboarding Excellence Award. Paul Rose won the Cross Country Oustanding Performance Award, Kylie Douglas, won the Hobart Freestyle Award, and Chad Oliver won the Snowboarding Outstanding Performance during the ceremony.
Most of the honors are not based solely on performance, but on other qualities such as courage in the case of the Ritter, grit in the case of the Abernathy and improvement in the case of the Barrett Burch.
Other honors highlighted top skiers who also excelled in the classroom, top female jumpers and skiers who excelled in more than one discipline.
The ceremony brought an official end to the Winter Sports Club's 2003-04 season. Off-season training programs, however, are just around the corner.
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