Join us in telling the story of the greatest skiers, snowboarders in Summit County history | SummitDaily.com

Join us in telling the story of the greatest skiers, snowboarders in Summit County history

Nominate your all-time favorites for 'Peak Performers: The Mount Rushmore of Summit County athletes'

This winter the Summit Daily News launches “Peak Performers,” an audience-powered content series that will honor the greatest winter sports athletes in county history, culminating in naming the Mount Rushmore of Summit County athletes.
Afton Pospisilova / Colorado Mountain News Media

FRISCO — We, the people — the athletes — of Summit County live in a truly unique and challenging place for sports. High up in the Rocky Mountains, our sporting lives and journeys come complete with high-altitude conditions and mountainous terrain. As Summit County has become settled over the last century, our snowglobe setting has been the perfect place for the sprawling, progressive growth of winter sports.

A century of sporting spirit
It was just about 100 years ago Summit County’s primary sporting pastime began transitioning from America’s game, baseball — which was popular among early mining settlers — to winter sports. In 1919, Anders Haugen, a famous Norwegian skier, jumped to a world record of 213 feet at the Dillon ski jump, located near the present-day overflow outlet at the base of the Dillon Reservoir dam. Ever since, to quote the title of the autobiography penned by Arapahoe Basin Ski Area co-founder Edna Dercum, it’s been “downhill all the way.”

There has been downhill skiing greatness here in Summit County, but I mean what I say more as a metaphor. The county’s momentum in winter sports has never stopped. Whether it be the influences of international Olympic downhill racers in the middle of the century, the bravery and boldness of high-Alpine skiers a few decades later, or the ardent ambition of our snowboarders today, Summit County has a sporting ethos all its own.

That athletic spirit is a history harbored by the people of this place. It’s an energy that revolves around a bravery to try what’s never been tried before. It is us. It is Summit County.

Chronicling greatness
In honor of this history, the Summit Daily News is launching “Peak Performers: The Mount Rushmore of Summit County athletes.” With Peak Performers, it’s our goal to work hand-in-hand this winter with the people of Summit County to honor the best athletes and most influential figures in the history of four sports at the core of our community: Alpine skiing, snowboarding, freestyle sking and Nordic skiing.

We’ll do so by having you, the people of Summit County, submit nominations across those four sports for the Peak Performers Mount Rushmore. In the spirit of our country’s national memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Peak Performers Mount Rushmore will be the four top county figures in the history of these winter sports.

Help tell the tale
But long before audience votes and the input of a judging panel decides who will be on Summit County’s sporting Mount Rushmore, we are asking the people of Summit County to submit nominations for those Mount Rushmore spots. If you have a family member, a friend, an idol whom you think deserves to be recognized as part of our county’s history, please nominate them at our Peak Performers page: summitdaily.com/peakperformers.

Nominations submitted at that link — where you can send in a photo and write up to 200 words on what makes the nominee special — will be published in the Summit Daily News sports section. This is our way of shining a light on all those who have helped shape the sporting story of Summit County over the last century.

When nominating, be sure to remember that both athletic achievement and community impact will be weighed when taking into account the total gravity of a Peak Performers nominee. We know there’s going to be debate between, say, an Olympic athlete who succeeded at the highest level and a more local figure who may have had more of an long-term influence on winter sports here in Summit County. That’s part of the debate, part of the fun, part of the story.

The timeline
Nominations are open now through Feb. 15. Then, on Feb. 23, the voting phase of Peak Performers will begin. Come March 7, voting will close.

The input of voters will be combined with input from a judging panel — none of whom are eligible for the Peak Performers Mount Rushmore — to finalize the four faces of Summit County winter sports. To wrap up Peak Performers, the Summit Daily will publish the results via feature profiles of Peak Performers winners, as well as complementary content highlighting the other top finishers in each sport.

An eye to the future
In sports, especially in Summit County, there’s always a focus on what’s next. We are also accepting nominees for a youth category across all four sports. The same nomination, voting and judging process will be used for this 17-and-under category.

With the youth category, we are asking the people of Summit County to clue us into a youngin’ who may just be in contention for the Mount Rushmore of Summit County sports 50 years from now.

Share the story
A century after Haugen set a world record at the Dillon ski jump, it’s our vision for Peak Performers to be a 21st century chronicle of our winter sports history, journey and influence. It’s our goal to tell your story.

To do that as best we can, to do it together, let’s get the word out. Feel free to share the project with family and friends, whether that’s the old-fashioned way — while chatting on your first ride up the chairlift one morning — or via Facebook, Instagram or other social media.

Here’s to Summit County. Here’s to the athletes who’ve made us who we are.

And, of course, here’s to winter.


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