During his ski-racing career, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club had a profound effect on John Marno.
The young racer didn't go on to Olympic glory, and he didn't earn a spot on the U.S. Ski Team. But the Winter Sports Club alumnus said the three years he spent in Steamboat Springs came at a key time in his life. The club helped him reach his potential and earn a scholarship to the University of Wyoming, where he skied from 1983 to 1988.
"It was very important for me to return to the club but not because of ski racing," Marno said. "Steamboat Springs was very good for me and had a huge impact on my life."
This summer, Marno returned to Steamboat to accept a job with the club.
"It's nice to be back, and I'm excited about the opportunity to be a part of the club again," Marno said.
Marno is one of two new directors that will oversee the Winter Sports Club's huge Alpine program.
"It became clear last winter that we needed to make a change," said Rick DeVos, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's executive director. "With 500 athletes and 70 different coaches, it was apparent that the (Alpine) program was too big for one person to handle."
DeVos credits longtime director Tony Nunnikhoven for the Alpine program's recent growth. However, when Nunnikhoven stepped down last spring, it allowed the club to make the changes DeVos think are necessary for the club to grow. By adding an additional director, the club will be able to focus on the skiers' individual needs and help every skier reach his or her goals, he said.
"It's not our job to set the skier's goal," DeVos said. "Our role is to provide top-level coaching and the opportunity for all of our skiers to reach their goals, no matter what the goals are."
Marno moved to Steamboat Springs from the small town of Centennial, Wyo., population 200.
In his new role, he will oversee 270 athletes, direct 48 coaches and 10 programs ranging from Little Toots to adult masters.
"It would be wrong to refer to him as our recreational skiing director," DeVos said. "Many of the programs he will be in charge of are very competitive. "
The Alpine program is the largest at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which is expected to have 950 members this winter in four disciplines. The snowboarding, freestyle and Nordic disciplines are estimated to have 150 members each. However, there is still time for those numbers to change before the start of the season.