Patrick Deneen flies off the bottom jump on the Voo Doo moguls course during the men’s moguls event at the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, earning him a spot in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Steamboat Springs could play a role if Denver can make a successful bid to bring the Olympics to Colorado in 2022.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Patrick Deneen flies off the bottom jump on the Voo Doo moguls course during the men’s moguls event at the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, earning him a spot in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Steamboat Springs could play a role if Denver can make a successful bid to bring the Olympics to Colorado in 2022.

As Denver considers 2022 Olympic bid, wishful thinking hits Steamboat Springs


— Hop into a time machine, set the date to February 2022 and the place to Steamboat Springs, and what would you find? Could it be an Olympic village?

As far out as it might sound, there is some buzz that Denver could put together a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper have started to mull the potential, and although no meetings have been set, informal conversations have taken place, according to a report in Wednesday’s Denver Post.

If Denver put in a bid and was successful, what role could Steamboat play in hosting a Winter Olympics?

“I would love to see it, and I would consider skiing more years if there is even a slight chance to have the games in Colorado,” Nordic combined skier Taylor Fletcher said. “But right now, I have my sights on 2014 and 2018 to bring home medals back to Steamboat and the USA.”

Nordic combined would be a natural fit, both with Steamboat’s history in the sport as well as the fact that the jumps at Howelsen Hill are the only ones in Colorado that meet the international standards.

“We’ve heard about it over the last 12 months in broad rumor,” said Rick DeVos, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s executive director. “Certainly, Colorado would make a spectacular place to host. You have to have the facilities to host an event of that caliber, and Steamboat has some specific pieces of that. It’s certainly a politically charged discussion and emotionally charged discussion.”

Nordic combined wouldn’t be the only discipline well-suited to Steamboat. Voo Doo ski run at Steamboat Ski Area is one of the best mogul courses in Colorado, making it a potential freestyle skiing venue.

“I would hope the freestyle and Nordic events would be in Steamboat,” said Erik Skinner, the Winter Sports Club’s freestyle director. “Breckenridge would try and get them. I know the crew here would love to see it here.”

In 1972, Denver was awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics, but it became the first and only city to decline an Olympic offer. The reason: Colorado taxpayers voted against using public funds to underwrite the costs of hosting the games. Had those Olympics come to fruition, Steamboat would have hosted the Nordic events.

Looking at recent Olympic games, Salt Lake City spent more than $2 billion in 2002, and the 2010 games in Vancouver, British Columbia, came in at a price tag of more than $5 billion.

One of Denver’s biggest hurdles will be finding a way to ease traffic congestion on Interstate 70 from the Front Range to the mountains. And one of Steamboat’s biggest challenges is its more remote location north of I-70.

With a base of world-class ski resorts, Colorado wouldn’t have to worry about many of the venues. Theoretically, Beaver Creek — which hosts World Cup skiing on the Birds of Prey trail — and Vail could host the Alpine events.

What’s unclear is whether other infrastructure, such as ski jumps, would be built closer to Denver.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

Steamboat will never truly be "world class," not with our present hill. There is not a natural line up there which qualifies for World Cup Men's Downhill, and thus we cannot host that event. That was the reason for the big Catamount push back in to '80's; supposedly there is a natural run there which would qualify.

Until then we would be stuck with a hiway Olympics, caravans of press shuttling back and forth on 131 between the nordic events here and the alpine events at Vail or Beaver Creek. The smart ones will take the shortcut, right by yvb's place. Hide the horses!!

Colorado had already been selected for the '76 Winter Olympics, when the even-greener populace then voted it down, when the phrase was coined "Don't Californicate Colorado."

Sounds like a desperate, half-baked scramble for the buck, IMHO. There are several venues in the U.S. which are more centralized, Squaw Valley, Deer Valley, and Lake Placid coming to mind. We need to put a better act together, at least get a commuter train going between here and the Eagle Valley. More variety wouldn't hurt either.


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

yvb -- Funny you should mention that. My new neighbor, Red Knuckles, has an excavating company, can't wait for the National Forest to reopen to homesteading, and is also itching to contribute to these forums. Look for his appearance, pending the Pilot's rules.

Use to be, you could find a place to pull over and catch a nap, on the cruise up the coast from LA northward. No more -- every inch is privately owned and controlled, except the State Parks in Oregon, all the way to National Forest in Washington. We're getting there too. Remember when it was common courtesy, to pull over and let the line of cars around you, should one build up? Days long gone, my friend.

I'll let you in on a little secret: Idaho. Every bit as sweet as Colorado was 30 years ago, or more. I'm not married to this state, own no property here. I could well fold up my tent and move this act, one more time, before the fat lady sings. I don't think they have the vertical for a Men's downhill either.

Of course, they DO have Men's downhills in Italy, bike races too; I wonder how they make that work. What a flake I am; I'd like to see that too.


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

The mountains north of Sun Valley looked as enticing as our San Juans, and barely travelled, still virtual wilderness. I didn't have the time nor the money to get as far north as I wanted, and that remains on my to-see list. They won't Californicate Idaho in my lifetime, nor a couple more. I just hope the Olympics never come to Sun Valley, lest the world clue in. I chose to live in a resort, when I moved here. How far can it spread, especially given the economy? I'll find a quiet, pretty spot SOMEWHERE... and 'til then, Steamboat still needs to put together a better package, if they want to Californicate us with the Olympics.


rhys jones 5 years, 7 months ago

I worked a winter at Wolf Creek, and lived in Pagosa Springs, where the catch phrase was "As soon as they put in another stoplight, I'm leaving." They had only one. I know people who have permanently relocated there from here too. Everything is relative, and Maui has yet to enter into my equation. Just saying, less developed is better, I'm learning, but I guess the good turns also come with a price. Ain't just my pow-pow, dang it. Money tip: Buy property now, while it's "cheap," then sell it when the Olympics inflate it again. I think I'll look around Idaho and Pagosa anyway.


Steve Lewis 5 years, 7 months ago

yvb, How is it you can post such repelling comments about our visitors, and consider yourself welcome to visit Maui?

If Maui is really part of your life, you definitely should read their local blogs, because you are those posters wishing you never came.

But do enjoy your stay.


Phoebe Hackman 5 years, 7 months ago

Uh ... that would be "haole boy", yvb. Having lived in Hawaii for 33 years, I can assure you that, while your group of friends and contacts accepts you, you are only tolerated by the general local population. Don't take that the wrong way; it just is what it is. Maluhia., brah.


spidermite 5 years, 7 months ago

yvb, You missed your calling. You should have been a politician.


Phoebe Hackman 5 years, 7 months ago

yvb: I grew up on Oahu, leeward side, 1953 to 1986, when I moved to Steamboat. Yes, I've only lived two places in my whole life ... both incredibly beautiful, but talk about going from one extreme to the other! We used to go to the Lahaina Whaling Spree every year; you could get a coupon book of airline tickets for $25/coupon, good for one way to any island! Had an uncle in Paia and my sister lived in Pukalani for awhile, so we did a lot of island hopping. My siblings still live on Oahu, but I think if I ever move back, I'll live on Molokai and be a hermit/curmudgeon-ette.


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