Nordic coach Brian Tate presents Dori McNeill, center, and Lark Skov with the Chris McNeill Memorial Award.

Maren Berge/courtesy

Nordic coach Brian Tate presents Dori McNeill, center, and Lark Skov with the Chris McNeill Memorial Award.

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club honors best at annual awards night

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2012-13 awards night winners

The Bea Kirby Trophy: Nita Englund

Snowboard Excellence Award: Savanna Rose Atkins

Cross-County Outstanding Performance: Gretcher Burkholder

Hobart Freestyle Award: George DeGrandis

Snowboard Outstanding Performance: Myles Silverman

Telemark Reipelykkje: Brendan Durrum

Freestyle Coaches Cup: Brad Hoefer

Erika Mueller Snowboard Spirit Award: Converse Fields

Ned Grant Memorial Trophy: Vreni Lupear and Evan Weinman

Ritter Memorial Courage Cup: Abby Voorhis

Stahly Award: Skyler Kauf

Wilbur Madsen Memorial Award: Decker Dean

Barrett Burch Memorial Trophy: Erik Sandvik and Shane Lambert

Freestyle Pursuit of Excellence Award: Kai Doyle

Buddy Werner Bronze: Ellie Blair and Brooks Overstake

Charles Abernathy Memorial “True Grit” Award: Lars Hannah and Torey Brooks

Mary C. Magill Memorial Ski Meister Award: Bode Flanigan

Chris McNeill Memorial Award: Lark Skov and Dori McNeill

Ashley Stamp Memorial Award: Isabelle Boniface

The Skeeter Award: Sawyer Gander

John Fetcher Honorary Sustaining Member: Ken Gay

Freeskier Vision Award: Penn Lukens

Tyler Gooding Award: Zak Kjos

The Henry Hall Cup: Koby Vargas

Snowboard Coach of the Year: Tori Koski

Nordic Combined Coach of the Year: Garrett Fisk

Cross-Country Coach of the Year: Marco Rabanal

Alpine Coach of the Year: Erik Gilbert

Telemark Coach of the Year: Thomas Walker

Alpine Youth Coach of the Year: Lori Keefe

Freestyle Coach of the Year: Travis Crooke

— On Tuesday night, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club handed out 31 awards memorializing noteworthy alumni and recognizing those Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes who are setting the standards for today.

“It’s a great evening that allows us to look back to our roots and connect it with what’s going on today” said Rick DeVos, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club executive director. “These awards represent what has made the Winter Sports Club what it is today. These awards show us that what made the club great still continues today.”

The names listed on the bottom of the memorial trophies represent the long legacy of the Winter Sports Club. The names added Tuesday night represent athletes, coaches and community members who are following in the footsteps of leaders like Buddy Werner, John Fetcher and others.

Some of the awards like the Chris McNeill Memorial Award are new but still reflect the club’s longstanding place in the community. McNeill was a longtime member, coach and supporter of the club. He died unexpectedly in February 2011.

Last year, his daughter Dori McNeill presented the award for the first time to Haley Piske.

His award, one of the many trophies he won in his Nordic skiing career, holds just three names after Tuesday night's ceremony but is a reminder of the qualities that Chris brought to the club. This year, Dori was prepared to present the award once again when she learned that she would share the honor with Lark Skov.

“It’s very special to me,” Dori said. “I was surprised that my coaches and my mom could keep it a secret.”

Dori’s mom, Lenny McNeill, said the two skiers symbolize what Chris brought with him to the club as a skier and as a coach. Each year, Lenny sits down with the coaches at the Winter Sports Club to decide who will be honored. She said that she was happy that Dori was recognized and that Skov was an excellent choice, as well.

“Lark really stood out,” Lenny said. “She was new to the ability team this year. She’s a hard worker and has a great demeanor.”

Dori, who has presented her father’s award the past two seasons, said she had no idea that coaches had selected her.

“I went up there thinking that I was going to present,” Dori said.

But she was blindsided when coach Brian Tate announced she also was a winner.

It was just one of many moments that make the annual awards night so important to the members of the club. In all, 35 athletes and coaches were honored, and community member Ken Gay was given the John Fetcher Honorary Sustaining Member Award.

DeVos said it’s those kinds of moments that make the Winter Sports Club’s awards night so special. He said those who are honored represent what is good about the club and those who attend are reminded why the club is so special in Steamboat Springs.

“Everybody who comes to award night walks away feeling really good about the club,” DeVos said. “It’s a really special night.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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