Steamboat Springs Sunshine Owens landed in Steamboat Springs in the mid-1990s after searching the country for a place that offered top-level ski training and a true high school experience.
“I decided to come to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and The Lowell Whiteman School,” Owens said. “The educational piece was really important. I wanted to go to a place where I was actually in school.”
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.
Owens said that at some of the ski academies back east, students are rarely in class. She not only wanted to be in the classroom, but she also wanted to be in classrooms with a variety of students. She wanted to come to a place where she could make friends, have some fun and reach her potential as a ski racer.
“Not all of the students at Lowell Whiteman were skiers,” Owens said. “That was nice. That’s the great thing about the Winter Sports Club. It’s a ski club, but it touches so many people in the community.”
It also didn’t hurt that Aldo and Sarah Radamus were at the head of a pretty successful Alpine program in Steamboat when Owens was window-shopping, or that her family lived in Jackson Hole, Wyo. It was still a six-hour drive, but the Winter Sports Club was much closer than some of the boarding schools back east. And Owens wanted to stay in the West.
Once she arrived in Steamboat, Owens quickly discovered that being part of the Winter Sports Club was about a lot more than skiing. She was encouraged by the energy and support the community showed for the club. They embraced all the athletes with the same warmth — even those who came from out of town.
Owens was able to race several years with the club and eventually found a spot on the University of New Mexico ski team. She skied at the collegiate level for a couple of years before injuries cut her skiing career short. She completed her degree at the University of Wyoming and then ended up going to dental school at the University of Colorado.
After she finished school, Owens returned to Steamboat Springs, and in 2007, she opened Sunshine Dentistry and is currently partners with dentist Dana Fujita and periodontist Maryanne Brooks Butler.
“I always knew that I wanted to go into health care,” Owens says. “I can’t say I dreamed of becoming a dentist. I’m not sure that anybody dreams of becoming a dentist. But I came from a family of dentists and everyone in my family is in dental care.”
Owens also knew that she wanted to return to Steamboat once she was done with college. Our mountain town seemed like the perfect place to open her new practice.
“This community is so special, and the Winter Sports Club is a big part of that,” Owens said. “This is home to me now.”
Owens also will continue the tradition as her 8-year-old daughter Charley already has tried several different disciplines. This year, Charley plans to give snowboarding a try, and Owens isn’t sure what to expect. Owens’ son Finn is only 5, but she expects he also will spend his winter days growing up in Steamboat Springs as part of the Winter Sports Club.
“It’s fun to take my children over to Howelsen Hill and watch them be a part of it.” Owens said. “The Winter Sports Club is far reaching. It’s touched so many families and so many people in this community.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966
Join the Yampa Valley VIP email club