Winter Carnival nets $25K

Winter Sports Club uses money to help athletes achieve dreams

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The sale of 4,000 buttons helped the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club net nearly $25,000 during the 91st annual Winter Carnival last week, Executive Director Rick DeVos said.

More than 800 athletes are registered with the Winter Sports Club this year, and more than 16,000 children have taken advantage of the Winter Sports Club's services since 1914. Of the thousands, 56 athletes have represented both the United States and Steamboat Springs in the Olympics nearly 100 times.

The Winter Sports Club is a nonprofit organization with a $1.4 million budget, half of which comes from participating families. The other half, nearly $700,00, must be raised by the club.

The Winter Carnival serves as one of the Winter Sports Club's largest fund-raisers. A separate fund-raiser held in conjunction with the carnival this year, a raffle for a Jeep Rubicon sport utility vehicle, generated about $30,000.

"We love it," DeVos said of putting on the Winter Carnival. "But it could not happen without all the support from everyone in the community. There's no way it would happen like it does."

And this year, the fireworks display put together by Tim Borden, who has grandchildren in the Winter Sports Club, was arguably the greatest in the history of Steamboat Springs, DeVos said. The First National Bank, Native Excavating and the Mountain Sport Center foot the bill for the night show, which drew between 2,500 and 3,500 spectators, DeVos said.

"We're about kid development and kid mentoring," DeVos said. "Do we provide the best product? That has to be our goal. Are we shooting for kids to make national teams or the Olympics? If that's their personal goal, we feel a responsibility to give them a shot at it."

As a nonprofit, the Winter Sports Club seeks to break even each year and strives to keep the programs affordable. With events such as the Winter Carnival, and the continued support from Steamboat and the surrounding area, hundreds of youths will learn to ski or even stand atop a World Cup podium again this season, De Vos said.

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