Beyond the Blue Ridge: Summer in Steamboat Springs

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Photo courtesy Corey Kopischke
Photo courtesy Corey Kopischke

Photo courtesy Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Photo courtesy Strawberry Park Hot Springs

You know what they say about Steamboat Springs, Colorado, renowned for its 300-plus days of sunshine and just as many inches of glorious powder snow each ski season: Come for the winter, stay for the summer.

And while it may sound cliche, truer words have never been spoken, as summers in Steamboat can really only be described as, magical, with warm sunny, wildflower filled days leading into cool, starry nights. (and don’t forget to ask a local about the Alpenglow each evening!)

For lovers of outdoor sport, Steamboat is a Shangri La, a Nirvana, a Mecca — and for those who make the pilgrimage, their lives will never be the same. World-class fly fishing out the back door? Check. Natural rejuvenating and soothing hot springs? Yup. Mind-blowing singletrack and lift-served bike park? Done. And that’s really just the beginning. There’s also incredible road biking, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, climbing, wildlife viewing, and more.

Just outside of town, nestled alongside Hot Springs Creek just past the turn off to Buffalo Mountain, lies one of the most spectacular mineral springs in the world. Imagine relaxing in 104 degree lithium-infused mineral water while Steamboat’s famous Champagne powder gently falls on the surrounding aspens. Enjoy a massage in one of their beautiful private massage huts or watsu therapy in a private pool. Strawberry Park is by far one of, if not the, nicest hotsprings in the state.

Lodging options run the gammut from five-star to chain hotel and classic motels. Depending on your desires, the occasion and your budget, you could find yourself chilaxing at the mind-blowing, first-rate One Steamboat Place on the mountain, or enjoying a stay at the famous Rabbit Ears Motel downtown. However, another lodging option is also gaining popularity: a private-residence rental service called Moving Mountains.

CRK, Creekside ChaletMoving Mountains is a locally owned and operated company that manages luxury vacation rental homes and catered ski chalets in Steamboat Springs. Founded by Robin and Heather Craigen in 1997, Moving Mountains introduced Colorado to the catered chalet concept that is widely popular in Europe. Moving Mountains currently manages 20 private luxury rental homes and 21 slope side private residences at One Steamboat Place, Edgemont and Chateau Chamonix. You’ll enjoy the feeling of being a local and even get home-cooked meals if you desire.

When it comes to mountain biking, very few towns can compete with Steamboat for some of the most iconic singletrack in the world.

Across the valley from Mount Werner (where the main ski area is located) lies the town’s mountain biking jewel: Emerald Mountain. Accessible from the heart of downtown via the Yampa Core Trail, Emerald features more than 4,000 acres of public land and miles of connected singletrack. In November 2013, voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative earmarking nearly $6 million in lodging tax funds over 10 years to enhance the area’s trail system, and the fruits of that decision are already coming to bear with the construction of the new Morning Gloria trail on Emerald Mountain in progress already. That’s to say nothing of the growing trail network and bike park infrastructure on Mt. Werner itself, now offering improved lift-served gondola access throughout the summer.

Photo courtesy Joel Reichenberger
Photo courtesy Joel Reichenberger

The dining options in Steamboat have gotten progressively better over the years, while many of the old classics still remain. Replacing the old Yacht Club right on the Yampa River, Aurum Food & Wine is the creation of restaurateur Phillips Armstrong, featuring chef Chase Wilbanks, previously of Shanahan’s Steakhouse, and former Stanley Hotel sommelier John Witmer as beverage director. The menu highlights seasonally fresh American cuisine and the wine list includes selections from Aurum’s own Colorado vineyard.

If you’re in need of a rest-day but still have bikes on the brain, take a free public tour of MOOTS Cyclery. MOOTS has been handcrafting the finest high performance titanium road, mountain and cyclocross bicycle frames and select components from its facility in Steamboat since 1981. A dedicated team of designers and builders work together using only the finest U.S.-made seamless titanium tubing to build the entire range of stock and custom-sized frames and components, as well as much of their own machinery. The MOOTS team loves to show visitors their passionate craft on guided factory tours and through innovative new products, including their latest addition: the award winning Trail Maintenance Bike – one bike, all tools, no trailer.

moots-award moots-welder

 

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