You’ve probably heard of Steamboat Springs as a world-class ski resort, famous for its feather-light “champagne powder” and aspen tree skiing, but that only begins to scratch the surface of what the city has to offer. Countless outdoor adventures await visitors to this mountain town 180 miles northwest of Denver. As you drive down Rabbit Ears Pass into Steamboat, you’ll first be struck by an incredible mountain valley vista — emerald green in the summer and pure white in the winter. The true beauty of this city, however, is undoubtedly its friendly community. Perhaps that’s why a number of ’gate alumni call the tiny enclave “home.” Josh Kagan ’89, Lisa Olson Votaw ’89, Kenny Reisman ’90, Eric Leach ’91, and Cristina Magill Vicinelli ’92 all moved to Steamboat at various times in the 1990s for one ski season, but ended up staying and raising families. Each gives a tip here on what to do in “the ’Boat”:
Lisa suggests: With more than 1,000 square miles of public land surrounding Steamboat, there is always a new trail to explore. But what I love best is that some of the best hikes — Fish Creek Falls Mine Trail, Emerald Mountain, Spring Creek, and the Ski Area — are minutes from our front doors, so you can get a quick hike in before work, during lunch, or before picking the kids up from activities. I also love that both my 15- and 8-year-old girls can ski after school; the fact that they ski double black diamonds with ease makes for some fun weekends.
Cristina’s tip: Howelsen Hill, also known as Emerald Mountain, is a jewel cherished by all locals. Anyone who yearns for an outdoor workout is familiar with its trails. Whether you are on a trail run, mountain bike ride, hike, or skiing, there are always huge smiles and familiar faces. Howelsen Hill is the oldest operating ski area in Colorado and has sent more skiers to the Olympics than any other ski resort in the country. Rich in history, it is the true spirit of our town.
Josh adds: Ride your mountain bike from downtown up Emerald Mountain. Whether you want a quick 45-minute loop or an epic 4-hour ride, you can find it there entirely on a single track. For an unforgettable 25-mile loop, take Wild Rose to the top, down Ridge Trail, back up Beall Trail, and back down Quarry Mountain to the NPR trail. Then coast back to downtown for a cold beer along the river in the backyard at Sunpies.
Kenny’s advice: You can walk out of your office and within a minute be fishing an incredible stretch of river in downtown. The Yampa is world-class for catching rainbow and brown trout, with big pike hiding out as well. When searching for a trout, if you have any doubt, put a small Grey RS-2 nymph on — never fails!
Eric’s recommendation: Head to the Chief Theater. Right in the center of town, at 813 Lincoln Avenue, the old theater has been converted to an art gallery and performing arts venue. The offerings at this nonprofit are as diverse as magic shows, stand-up comedy, Warren Miller movies, and a monthly variety show. Get your tickets, and enjoy!
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