October 17, 2017

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Steamboat, Colorado

SnowHistory:

Steamboat’s history begins with the Yampatika Utes who made the area home because it was ideal for summer hunting.  In the early 1800s, when settlers and trappers began coming to the valley, the area was called the area The Big Bend, because the Yampa River turns west at that point. The name Steamboat Springs is thought to have originated during the 1860s when trappers heard the roaring from a natural mineral spring, and thought it was the chugging sound of a steamboat’s steam engine.  Ranching soon became the primary industry of the valley, followed by a mining boom in the late 1800s.  After it all went bust, ranching again became a way of life.  

Travelers in the early 1900s visited Steamboat Springs during the summer for the natural hot springs and to hunt and fish. Ironically, skiing was the only method of transportation during harsh Rocky Mountain winters.  As a result, the popularity of skiing as a winter pastime was instrumental in the development of the town.  In 1913, Carl Howelsen, moved to Steamboat from Norway and introduced ski jumping.  He built the first jump on Howelsen Hill, which is now part of the Howelsen Ski Area.  He also founded the annual Winter Carnival, a celebration still held each winter featuring light shows on both Mount Werner and Howelsen Hill. Steamboat Ski Resort opened in 1963 and was founded by locals Jim Temple and John Fetcher. 

Today, Steamboat Springs boasts year-round activities including skiing, snowcat and back country skiing, snow shoeing, three championship golf courses, an indoor-outdoor tennis center, biking, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, fly fishing, two ski areas, four State Parks, hot springs, lakes, rivers, and trail systems offering a variety of outdoor activities.  And, the cowboy culture is alive and well!

Attractions:

As the name implies, Steamboat Springs is home to several hot springs.  The Old Town Hot Springs is conveniently located downtown and offers a full pool and slide for the kids.  For  a more rustic feel, check out Strawberry Park Hot Springs, located in the mountains about seven miles out of town.  There, you can choose from a variety of different temperature pools located in a natural setting.  Steamboat Springs hosts an array of musical and theatrical performances, as well as a variety of events and festivals the whole family will enjoy. Throughout the summer, Steamboat offers a Free Summer Concert Series which includes performances hosted by Strings Music Festival and local artists playing at various bars and venues throughout town. The annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Annual Art in the Park festival are Steamboat staples, while the Steamboat All Arts Festival is a four-day event that highlights the amazing arts and culture in the Yampa Valley while featuring nationally-renowned artists.  Winter Carnival, the oldest festival in town, celebrates winter and is steeped in history and tradition.  Enjoy classical opera in the heart of the Yampa Valley at the Emerald City Opera, listen to the soothing sounds of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Orchestra, or, enjoy one of the Great American Laughing Stock Company Picnic Theatre Festival shows featuring local actors. Be sure to check out the Steamboat Art Museum, Steamboat Springs Arts Depot – Eleanor Bliss Center for the Arts or the Tread of Pioneers Museum.

Dining:

Steamboat Springs boasts more than 100 restaurants and bars, offering a variety tempting meals ranging from locally raised beef, BBQ, sushi, Italian, Mexican, American and more.  Keeping with its western culture, you’ll also find elk, buffalo or Rocky Mountain oysters served. A few of the AMH favorites starting out downtown: Italian, for a fun, younger crowd experience Mambo Italiano is a blast at 521 Lincoln Ave. on the free shuttle line. For the Wine Spectator Award venue it’s Giovanni’s, 127 11th Street, also on the shuttle line. For American cuisine and a good variety go Mahogony Ridge Brewery and Grill at 5th and Lincoln, free shuttle stop in front and the equally good Boathouse at 609 Yampa Avenue, on the river. Also on the river is the Asian fusion Cottonwood Grill with fish, asian accented creations and a good steak dish. There’re at 701 Yampa Ave. Need Chinese? Panda Garden. They also have a sushi bar in the restaurant but Chinese is the specialty. Located halfway to town at the bottom of the mountain in Central Park Plaza, they also deliver 5-9 pm in season. Bistro cv at 345 Lincoln Ave. is upscale bistro with a cosmopolitan flair and offers a varied menu. The Epicurean Cafe is the only French restaurant in town. We have not experienced it but hear good things…behind the Cantina, at 845 Oak Street. Mexican? There are a bunch of good ones in Steamboat. We always seem to drift back to the Rio Grande at 628 Lincoln, it’s a TexMex menu and just seems to always deliver. In the mountain village you have some good choices should you decide to stay ‘up there’. OK, there is one that is a must visit, for a beer of a meal. The Tugboat. They cannot build them like this any more, no matter how much money they have. Since 1972, many photos of great skiers, celebrities from all sports and just plain famous people line the walls. History of The ‘Boat is deeper here than anywhere else. Billed as Steamboat’s largest sports bar with over 50 HD TVs, there is a great arcade for kids of all ages with an affordable family menu. There are 21 beers on tap and live music most weekend nights. A gathering place for the real characters of Steamboat, long live the Tugboat! Saketumi, next to the Slopeside is the on mountain sushi choice. Cafe Diva, also in the Mountain Plaza, is a cozy upscale bistro with a varied menu created with organic produce, wild seafood and naturally raised meats. 3 certified sommeliers on staff. There you have it. Slopeside Grill, besides being a sunny apres ski spot offers a varied menu at reasonable prices. Sevens Bistro in the Sheraton is a solid restaurant thanks to GM John K. There are many very good restaurants in Steamboat, both on the mountain and in town. These are some of the ones we’ve tried and like. Explore on your own through local word of mouth and a concierge.

Shopping:

With more the 250 shops and boutiques you’re bound something to take home with you.  Art galleries, western wear, outdoor retailers and gift shops offer treats for every taste.  Two primary pedestrian friendly shopping areas include Steamboat’s Mountain Village located at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area, and downtown Steamboat Springs.  They are located three miles apart, but are serviced by a free city bus.  Several other shopping options in between the “town and mountain” are also located on the bus route.