John Steele

Steele was born in Minneapolis in 1909 and moved to Steamboat in 1918. When he was nine years old he put on his first pair of skis, long heavy pine skis with high top leather boots that laced to his knees. After long hours of practicing on Howelsen Hill he won his first Silver Cup in 1924 at Hot Sulphur Springs. That same year he broke the world's record for amateur boys fourteen and under when he jumped 123 feet at Dillon, Colorado.

Steele attended Steamboat Springs High School where he lettered three years in football, baseball and track and was all-conference in basketball and football. After high school he turned down a scholarship for skiing at Dartmouth to attend Denver University on a football scholarship in 1927. Steele helped organize the Pioneer Ski Club at Denver University and served as its first president. In 1931 he organized a summer jumping tournament in Estes Park that more than 10,000 people attended. He also designed a 45-foot jumping scaffold with an outrun lined in soap-covered canvas, which he used to jump into a lake in August of 1931. His antics caught the attention of Ripley's "Believe It or Not," where he was featured with Glen Armstrong skiing down Estes Parks' Elkhorn Avenue with jumping skis mounted on roller skates. He was also filmed jumping over tourists' buses on Trail Ridge Road.

In 1930, Steele became the Class B jumping champion of America and in 1932 he placed 15th out of 36 jumpers in the Olympics. Steele is credited with being the first Olympic skier from Steamboat Springs. His many accomplishments include 27 silver cups and 20 medals in his 30-year jumping career. Steele was the Grand Marshal of the Steamboat Winter Carnival in 1978 and was inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 1983.

Steele passed away in 1996.

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