After finishing skiing Colorado’s 14ers in 2010, I had the incredible honor to be nominated for a Sportswomen of Colorado award. That spring I was able to attend their annual awards celebration in Denver honoring Colorado’s outstanding female athletes for their performances that year. So when I was nominated a second time this year for my achievements in ski mountaineering, I knew this was not a night to be missed.
The annual awards dinner is one of the most exceptional and inspiring “girls nights” that you can imagine. Founded in 1974 by the YWCA to promote and empower Colorado girls and women in sport, Sportswomen of Colorado is recognized as the first community-based organization in the county to honor women athletes at the state level.
During the evening, Denver female sportscasters Marcia Neville and Susie Wargin award 45 exceptional girls and women for their accomplishments in categories that range from lacrosse, running, skiing, to awards for perseverance, empowerment, and spirit. Ages span from 16 to 80, including Dorothy Mauk, now in her 80s, who was a true pioneer for women in sports writing in the 60s.
There are phenomenal young women who are just launching into their lifelong journeys, and some who have achieved greatness and are now giving back as coaches, mentors, and role models. It is impossible not to leave at the end of the night inspired by the stories of determination, hardship, and grit. As 16-year old awardee, Tess Johnson (youngest mogul skier ever to be named to the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team) said, “Its not how you fall down, its how you get up”.
Each year the winner of the prestigious Sportswoman of the Year Award is announced at the banquet, and for the second year in the row Mikaela Shiffrin took home the well-deserved title. But it had to have been a hard choice.