Three hours from a major city, 331 inches of average annual snow fall, 59 annual average frost free days, and less than 11,000 people…those are the first reasons why Steamboat Springs, CO is the ideal place to live, now let me give you a few more. I’ll try to be brief, but keep in mind, there’s more where this is coming from! First and foremost, the community is in fact, a community first, and a world-class ski resort second. Ask anyone who lives here and they’ll be happy to tell you that in Steamboat Springs you have friends and neighbors who care about you and watch out for you. There’s a moose in your drive-way? Rest assured, one of your neighbors will call and let you know. Ask any second home owner or visitor about Steamboat Springs, and one of the first things they’ll say is that the people in our town are so friendly. This fact alone would make Steamboat Springs, CO the perfect place to call home and without a doubt the ideal place to raise a family – let me say it one last time before moving on, “the people are nice and the people here care about you.”
OK so everyone’s nice, but I get asked, “What do you do when you’re 3+ hours from a major city, and it’s cold and snowy so many days of the year?” Well let’s start with summer when it’s not cold and snowy and people come to this ski resort town and without a trace of champagne powder on the ground they spend a week here and decide to stay. Summertime in Steamboat Springs, CO brings the free concerts at the base of Howelsen Hill, fly-fishing in the Yampa and Elk Rivers, hiking and biking on trails for every level and surrounded by Rocky Mountain beauty, golfing at public or private courses, the weekend rodeo that thrills both locals and visitors, and of course tubing down the Yampa River for those who like to beat the heat in chilly, fresh mountain water. Summertime also means the annual July 4th parade, Art-in-the-Park, Hot Air balloon festival, Steamboat Running & Bike Series races…and after all this activity, a margarita on the Rio deck, a brick oven pizza sitting on Rex’s back patio, or an ice cream cone from Johnny B. Good’s take-out window hit the spot. Locals in Steamboat Springs take full advantage of the short, but very sweet summer season – we know winter is right around the corner.
And now for winter…how do we Steamboat locals co-exist with the thousands of skiers and snowboarders who come year-after-year for our champagne powder and western hospitality? Well for starters, you’re likely to see mostly locals in the gondola line at 7:45am because we’ve listened to the 5:00am snow report and know there’s 14 inches of powder on Storm Peak that need to be skied before heading into work a little later than normal, but totally refreshed and energized for the day! But we don’t just ski here in Ski Town USA, when you live here and it’s wintertime, you take your kids to Winter Sports Club, you take a dip in the Old Town Hot Springs pools, you snowshoe in the moonlight to the perfect spot for sitting and drinking some wine that was in your backpack all night, and you hit the early bird special at the Orr House where a sizzling steak and huge salad bar await. Local winter events that even us locals wait for every year include the Winter Carnival where the high school band “marches” down Lincoln Avenue on skis, there are races where (if you’re brave) you’re pulled by a horse while sitting on a shovel, and then you trek over to Howelsen Hill to spend an evening watching fireworks where the lighted man skis down the hill, shooting fireworks from multiple body locations…some things you just have to see to believe.
So now that we’ve hit on the two main Steamboat Springs’ seasons, I’d like to share with you the everyday amenities we have here that don’t take 45 minutes in rush hour traffic to get to – like Steamboat’s LEED-Silver certified Bud Werner Memorial Library located on the banks of the Yampa River and home to not only an expansive book and magazine collection, but also to public computers, a lively children’s section, local history room, public meeting rooms and some of the best views (with cozy seating )of the Yampa River. Where there’s a state-of-the-art public library you might think education is pretty important too, and you’d be right…from the 3 local Steamboat Springs’ public elementary schools which feed into the Steamboat Springs’ Middle and High Schools to our private schools where Lowell Whiteman draws students from an international base of applicants each year. Top that off with Colorado Mountain College, a community college who just started offering some 4 year degrees, and you can see we have quite a robust educational system here in Steamboat Springs, CO.
High speed internet affords those who are lucky enough to have location neutral jobs the opportunity to work in our Rocky Mountain paradise versus a corporate high rise home office in the suburbs. And high speed internet helps the up and coming local companies like SmartWool, Moots and Big Agnes compete globally. I digress, back to the amenities that don’t take 45 minutes (ok, be honest, an hour) to get to…here’s the short list: ice skating rink, state-of-the-art tennis center, equestrian centers, Strings’ music pavilion, Nordic ski centers, movie theaters, bowling alley and fabulous local restaurants. One last area to address because even though we like to think we’re the epitome of health and fitness here in Steamboat Springs, we do get sick and we do get injured, and to fix us up and nurse us back to health, the Yampa Valley Medical Center is staffed by some of the best doctors and specialists in the country and it’s supported by numerous private medical practices that address any possible ailment…from the bum knee that’s gonna need replacement at some point, to the sore back in need of some realignment.
So there you have it…and of course there’s more. We wouldn’t love living here so much if every wonderful thing about Steamboat could be captured in a 4 paragraph blog. You just have to come and enjoy our northwest Colorado paradise with us in all four seasons to truly appreciate what Steamboat offers. But remember, the most important thing is the wonderful people you’ll meet here. We’ll want to know where you’re from, what brought you here and then we’ll want to share our favorite Steamboat pastime as well as our favorite restaurant with you. And if you get stuck on the way up Rabbit Ears pass in January, we’ll probably be nice enough to stop and help you put chains on your tires too. Gotta run, it’s a powder morning…or it will be in about 4 months!