With a lifetime of local stories, we asked Johnny Spillane, a Steamboat local and 3 time Olympic silver metalist, to share a few tidbits about Steamboat in the summertime and the best ways to relax and recreate in his own home town. Steamboat Springs Visitors’ Guide: What do you love most about Steamboat? Johnny Spillane: I love the fact that you can be in town one minute and out of town the next. It’s easy to be outdoors and do anything you want around here. Everything is super close and convenient. VG: What’s makes a perfect summer day for you? J.S.: Going fishing in the day and grilling outside at night. Hopefully my own catch. VG: When did you start skiing? J.S.: I started like every Steamboat kid – when you learn to walk. I started jumping at 8- or 9 years-old and switched to Nordic Combined a couple years later. VG: Describe the feeling of coming off Steamboat’s ski jumps in the summer. J.S.: It’s as close as you can get to jumping on the snow. If you were going to blindfold a jumper, they couldn’t tell the difference. There’s less air pressure in the summer, but we pretty much get identical speeds and jump lengths. VG: What’s a favorite memory of summer vacation growing up in Steamboat? J.S.: Fourth of July is always a ton of fun, a lot like Winter Carnival. For such a small town we put on a really good show. VG: Got a favorite fly fishing stretch of the Yampa to recommend? J.S.: It’s all good. Right downtown is awesome fishing, plus there’s a ton of public water that’s accessible to everyone. That’s what I love about this town. You can go out and fish the best water even if you only have a couple hours. The Elk River north of town is great too. VG: As you embark into fatherhood, what aspects of the Yampa Valley do you most look forward to sharing with your own child in the years to come? J.S.: There’s a ton of things to do here. Hopefully we’ll introduce the new little guy or girl to all of it. I grew up fishing all my life and running around outside all summer. Hopefully our new child will enjoy the same things. VG: When and where do you like to hunt? J.S.: I hunt archery and water-fowl. Usually we go backpacking into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, set up a camp, and head in for a week or as far as we can go. Horses would definitely help a lot – I’ve had my fair share of long, heavy packs back into town. I hunt ducks on the Yampa River. Unfortunately my dogs aren’t much help with that. They’re bulldogs. VG: Got any off-season conditioning advice for prospective Nordic skiers who want to cross-train in preparation for next winter? J.S.: Cross country skiing is one of the best physical activities you can do. You work every muscle and there are tons of good places to go. It’s a great family sport and a good way to teach kids to ski because it’s very easy to get out and do. I like to go biking and hiking in the summer, it’s a great way to get outdoors. Both the mountain biking and road riding are awesome around here. VG: Got any big dreams for the future of Nordic skiing in Steamboat? J.S.: We’d like to continue to build the sport in town. They’ve done a great job with the summer jumping on the small hill. Someday we’d like to see plastic on the big hill. In Norway and Germany, there’s a ski jump in every town and that makes it tough for us to be competitive. But the programs we have are great, and we’ve got plenty of young athletes ready to take our place. VG: Any advice to aspiring Olympians – summer or winter? J.S.: Keep working really hard because you never know what’s possible. Hard work will pay off someday. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support they’ve given us from the time we were little kids. To be a part of that is incredible.
Back to Previous
WWJSD? - What Would Johnny Spillane Do?
September 7, 2010 by SSCRA Blogger