Steamboat Springs Lane Shipley knew he had it good growing up in Steamboat Springs, and he took advantage of almost every opportunity the town provided.
“I was a product of the Steamboat Springs lifestyle,” Shipley said. “When you are young, you can do anything in our town, and I did everything.”
A legacy of success: Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is about a lot more than just producing Olympic-caliber athletes that bring home medals. It’s the story of the more than 20,000 members who have put on the club’s jacket and represented our town around the world for the past 100 years.
Shipley played a number of sports as a child including soccer, wrestling, rodeo and football. Somewhere in the mix, he discovered the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and started ski racing.
“Everybody I knew was involved with the Winter Sports Club. It was a lot of fun, but I just thought I was hanging out with my friends and my classmates — it was like a social club for me,” Shipley recalled.
But at some point, that social club got competitive and Shipley quickly discovered that he had a talent for skiing fast. As an Alpine ski racer with the Winter Sports Club, he regularly posted top results throughout his career, including Junior Olympic titles in the downhill and super-G in 2004. He was invited to the U.S. Development Camp, visited the Olympic Training Center and twice represented the United States at the Whistler Cup.
“The club was great because it instilled a love for the outdoors and skiing in general,” Shipley said. “I thought it was great because I got to ski with my best friends every day.”
By the time Shipley arrived at Steamboat Springs High School, it was clear he had to make a decision. His size, his natural athletic talent and his quickness were a perfect fit for the football field, and during his junior year, he had dedicated himself to becoming the best on the gridiron. His decision resulted in the end of his skiing career.
During Shipley’s final year at Steamboat Springs High School in 2006-07, the Sailors went 10-2 and topped Fort Lupton in the opening round of the playoffs, 28-0. The following week, Steamboat lost on the road to Pueblo County bringing Shipley's high school football career to an end, but not before he had generated interest from several colleges.
In 2007, he signed with Dartmouth, and despite missing his first college year with an injury, he made a mark as a defensive tackle with the Big Green. He earned several honors during his college career including the ESPN Academic All-District.
Shipley graduated from Dartmouth in 2011, but his transition to the real world also has been charmed as he has landed stints with NBC Sports, Major League Soccer and most recently ESPN Sports.
While still at Dartmouth, Shipley worked for NBC Sports at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and also worked at the Super Bowl XLV in Dallas with Genesco Sports Enterprises. He spent six months from December 2011 to May 2012 working as an intern with the Partnership Marketing Department for Major League Soccer, and then in May 2012, he landed the job with ESPN as an account service representative in New York City. These days, he provides comprehensive account maintenance and client services for three advertising agencies and 30-plus national clients including Geico, Capital One, Corona and Nike. He manages television advertising accounts that total more than $160 million per year and facilitates communication between agencies and internal departments including sales, marketing, asset management, accounting and commercial operations. In the past year and a half, he received ESPN’s Standing Ovation, an award presented semi-annually for outstanding performance and leadership in business operations.
However, Shipley said the love of skiing and the outdoors he developed at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club still is strong. He still returns to the ski slopes during vacations, and someday wants to return to the Rocky Mountains to live and work.
He said the friendships, relationships and memories he collected while he was at the Steamboat Springs Winter Club still are close to his heart. He also can’t imagine what Steamboat Springs would be like without the Winter Sports Club.
“It was a huge part of growing up in Steamboat Springs,” Shipley said. “It’s been around for 100 years and is part of the fiber of that community. I learned a lot of life lessons while I was there that I still use every day. The lessons I learned there will stay with me forever.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966
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