Steamboat 4-12-15

Yesterday was Steamboat‘s final day of the 2014-2015 ski year, and the season ended with many happy people enjoying perfect spring weather.

I was one of that happy throng, wrapping up two days of skiing on my first-ever visit to this magnificent mountain in northwestern Colorado. Per my usual, I’ll focus on some historical aspects of my visit.

Top of Buddy's Run at Steamboat ski area

Top of Buddy’s Run at Steamboat ski area

Buddy’s Run is one of the favorite trails on the mountain, a superb blue boulevard that starts at an altitude of 10,372 feet, near the top terminal of the Storm Peak Express chairlift.

It is named for Buddy Werner, a local boy from the town of Steamboat Springs who was one of the first American skiers to break into the ranks of top international competitors.

Buddy Werner ca 1960s courtesy photo

Buddy Werner ca 1960s courtesy photo

Only a few weeks after retiring from international competition at age 28, he was killed in an avalanche in Switzerland in 1964. Click here for a fine article on his career from the Colorado Athletic Hall of Fame.

Bronze bust of Buddy Werner at top of Buddy's Run at Steamboat

Bronze bust of Buddy Werner at top of Buddy’s Run at Steamboat

Near the top of the trail is a bronze bust of Buddy. Steamboat legend has it that a skier who taps the bronze figure with his ski pole will enjoy good luck. (In the picture above, which I took yesterday, someone has added a string of good luck Mardi Gras beads.)

Although he dominates the skiing history of Steamboat Springs, there are many other luminaries.

Olympians from Steamboat Springs are recognized in two display cases on the second floor of Thunderhead Lodge

Olympians from Steamboat Springs are recognized in two display cases on the second floor of Thunderhead Lodge

These men and women are recognized with an historical exhibit that fills two large display cases on the second floor of the Thunderhead Lodge (upper terminal of the gondola).

The Olympic score currently stands at 88 athletes, many of whom trained with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — one of our nation’s premier skiing organizations.

Anyone interested in learning more about Steamboat Springs’ winter Olympians should visit the Tread of Pioneers Museum. Located in the historic downtown area, TOP has an extensive collection of the town’s skiing history, very nicely displayed and interpreted.

Katie Adams, curator of Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs

Katie Adams, curator of Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs

Katie Adams, TOP’s curator, is passionate about preserving and presenting Steamboat Springs’ skiing history.

A kindred spirit indeed!