Monday, September 2, 2013

Steamboat Springs

I was soon to learn the amazing impact skiing has had on the state of Colorado in the last 40 years as Allan and I took a drive the 30 miles to visit this ski area.

Steamboat Springs is only one example of the transformation that has taken place on the western slope in the last 40 or 50 years.

The Yampa Valley was the summer hunting grounds of the Ute Indians for hundreds of years. The   Ute and Arapaho tribes also visited the area for its mineral or “medicine” springs considered sacred places of physical and spiritual healing.

Early French trappers gave the town its name because the sounds emanating from the natural hot springs sounded like steamboats.

During the gold rush miners flooded into the area and the old west influence can still be seen.

  Then, sometime during the early 1960s, skiing became a sport instead of a means of transportation.

The above statue is of resident and professional racer,  Billy Kidd, in his iconic western hat.

I was informed that Steamboat Springs produces more Olympic and World Cup medalists than any other town or city in the world.  I could see all around me, athletes in training.

It was a good day to take the lift to the top of the mountain for a bird's eye view of the town.
50 years ago steamboat was a western town with a ski lift.  Today it is a chic , cosmopolitan resort with plush hotels, townhouses, 

and mega-mansions.

The valley is filling up and the overflow is extending into towns as far away as Craig.

Allan is a member of the volunteer ski patrol and he proudly gave me a personal tour of the entire operation (sans snow of course).

To be able to go to work on a regular basis with a view like this--Wow!  

And any town that can do the following gets my admiration...

In 1993, the City Council of Steamboat Springs, Colorado conducted a poll of its residents to choose a new name for the bridge that crossed the Yampa River on Shield Drive. With 7,717 votes, the winning name was "James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge". The bridge was officially dedicated in September 1993, and James Brown appeared at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the event.

According to Allan this very large and very expensive house right beside the ski slope has been under construction for two years now.  The perfect McMansion?

Thanks for the tour, Allan.  I can tell you know how to enjoy life.


  1. Yikes! I hope we never get the kind of "love" here that Steamboat Springs is getting.

  2. Hattie, What the sport of skiing has done to the western slope in the last 40 years made me realize what the Utes and Arapahoes must have witnessed when the gold rush hit. Steamboat Springs is the very least of the tony developments that cater almost exclusively to the very wealthiest. At one point I wondered if, some 40 years from now, the entire Colorado Rockies might not become a 'gated community'.

  3. First of all, there is no overflow going out "as far as Craig". Not even as far as Milner or Hayden. For a town of 12,000, it's not particularly sprawled out. Second, I can go to your town, take pictures of the most hideous McMansions there, and tell everybody that your town is morphing into some kind of exclusive playground for the wealthy elite. I'm sure I'd be wrong. Most of us who live in Steamboat are pretty darn average. We have to work harder than most to live here, but it's worth it. Steamboat is a real town, and a pretty spectacular place to live, even aside from the ski resort. (In fact, location neutral workers now bring more income into the area than the ski industry.) Crime is low, the air is clean, and the people are friendly and more than a little quirky.

  4. Agreed with "Anonymous," Steamboat Springs hardly sprawls out to Craig. Craig is still a town(if you can call it a town...) of dirt roads. This post focuses solely on the ski resort and it's immediate vicinity. Visit Howelsen Hill, then report back.