Colorado Hall of Fame to honor Steamboat skier

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Olympic bronze medallist Nelson Carmichael will become the 25th skier from Steamboat Springs to be inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame.

Carmichael will be inducted Oct. 23 at the Westin Tabor Center in downtown Denver.

The Colorado Ski Museum announced this year's inductees at a golf tournament earlier this year. Carmichael will be inducted along with Norwegian skiing sensation Stein Eriksen, disabled skiing star Sarah Will, and longtime trainer for the U.S. Ski Team Tage Pedersen, and John Stevens who has played a key role in the success of the Telluride Ski Area.

Carmichael, who moved to Steamboat Springs in 1976, developed into one of the best American freestyle skiers in the history of the sport. He was introduced to freestyle skiing as part of the Great Western Freestyle Center's first summer training camp, which was run by legendary coach Park Smalley, at the age of 12.

He was named to the U.S. Ski Team's Freestyle team shortly after graduating from high school, and during his nine years on the World Cup Tour as a mogul skier, he won the overall title twice and collected a dozen World Cup victories. He is a two-time Olympian and the first Colorado skier to win an Olympic medal while living in the state. Carmichael won the bronze medal in the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France.

He retired from the U.S. Ski team after the 1992 season and went on to win two professional mogul titles. Smalley said his effortless style in the bumps often hurt him with the judges because he made mogul skiing look too easy.

Since retiring, he has worked as a coach at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, promoted freestyle camps for young skiers and founded his own ski and snowboarding clothing line --1080 Degrees.

"It's a great honor for Nelson," Smalley said of the announcement "He should have been in there before me."

Smalley, who was inducted in 2003, said Carmichael's selection might have been slowed because of his quiet, laid back personality. Smalley said his former pupil was never one to seek out attention or expect recognition for his accomplishments. However, the former coach said Carmichael's talent in the bumps was loud enough to be heard by the generation of freestyle skiers that followed him.

"He's done it all," Smalley said. "He was the best freestyle skier in the world, and this honor is long overdue."

The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame Gala will be held Oct. 23 at the Westin Tabor Center in downtown Denver. The annual gala is one of several major fund-raisers for the nonprofit Colorado Ski Museum, and the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame. The museum is in Vail and maintains a resource center in Golden.

Tickets to the gala are $100 for museum members and $125 for nonmembers. The public is invited to take part in the celebration that honors the individuals who have played a role in Colorado's rich skiing heritage.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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