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Steamboat Spring 2012

Steamboat’s real estate report card


R & S






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Strings turns O







& D




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John f. ruSSell


The real Best of the Boat? Simply being able to live here.


Special section: Best of the Boat

14 Quick Hits

23 5,000 People Can’t Be Wrong

A mini-heli entrepreneur, learning from horses, Strings turns 25, the season of the winter ride and more.

30 Cooking With: Chocolate Soup Pastry Kitchen Chef Lisa Ciraldo shares her almond spritz cookie recipe.

68 Real Estate: Market, Heal Thyself

Tom Ross summarizes the best of Steamboat’s real estate from 2011.

88 Staying Fit: Old Town Hot Springs

In February, six women found that the winner of Best Fitness Center/Gym offers far more than a place to soak your bones after hitting the slopes.

104 Artist Profile: Lance Whitner

Becoming one with the landscapes she paints.

128 Tom Ross Remembers

Snow today, hot tamale: A look at the transition of seasons.

130 Road Trip: From Mount Werner to Machu Picchu By Trish O’Connell

136 Final Frames 138 Parting Shot

This year’s contest yielded a record number of entries, proving that our populace is plenty opinionated about this place we call home.

27 By the Numbers Our survey’s funniest responses, number breakdowns and other useless trivia.

29 Dining & Drinking (results on page 54) 57 Homes & Real Estate (results on page 70) 73 Shopping (results on page 84) 87 Services (results on page 100) 103 Community (results on page 127) On the cover: A sampling of Steamboat’s best: Best of the Boat winners, clockwise from left, Best Ski Patroller Sharon Spiegel (page 110), Best Mountain Biker Kelly Boniface (page 117), Best Architect Joe Patrick Robbins (page 62), Best Musician Randy Kelley, Best Fishing Shop Steamboat Flyfisher’s Rob Burden (page 90), Best Chef Kate Rench, Best Yoga Instructor Jill Barker (page 92) and Best DJ Brian Alpart. Shot at Best Steak winner Ore House at Pine Grove. (Photo by John F. Russell) Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living


Your community car dealership Steamboat Motors is committed to a community partnership.

In 2010-2011, Steamboat Motors supported: Routt County United Way • Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series • Partners in Routt County • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation • Toys for Tots • Race for the Cure • Routt County 4-H • Hayden trade school • Home Builders Association • Nordic Ski Council • Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association • Steamboat Springs High School’s After-Prom • Steamboat Springs Economic Development Council • Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club • Steamboat Springs High School athletics • Ride 4 Yellow • Routt County Humane Society • Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley • Rally for the Cure • Ski Town USA Golf Classic • Steamboat Springs Boys & Girls Club • Young Professionals Network • and more!

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John f. ruSSell

From the editor

Suzanne Schlicht Chief operating officer Scott Stanford general manager brent boyer editor in chief Eugene buchanan Magazine editor Nicole miller Assistant editor mike Polucci Advertising director Laura Tamucci Creative services manager

Celebrating Steamboat Shrinkage: of the snowpack, that is ...

New name, familiar feel It feels great to be in familiar terrain. Cutting behind a bush and pointing my snowboard down a tree-lined gully, I scrub speed in a massive powder mushroom and flow with the mountain, knowing a bank turn lies right around the bend. It’s the first time I’ve been in the area all year, and I’m comfortable with its every nuance. Everyone has their favorite stash on the mountain, and this is one of mine. But with the season’s wacko start, I haven’t dared venture there until now. With Mother Nature finally cooperating in February, it feels like I’m visiting a long-lost friend. That’s what we want you to feel like each time you pick up a copy of Steamboat Living — that you’re familiar with what you’ll find and are as comfortable turning its pages as you are diving into your secret stash. Of course, unless your brain cells have permanently been fixated on our snowpack, you’ll likely notice something different about the friend you’re now holding in your hands. We’re sporting a new look and name, akin to your buddy getting a haircut and a makeover. Why the switcheroo to the magazine formerly known as At Home in Steamboat Springs? Steamboat Living just seems to fit the bill a little better as to what we’re all about. We feel the new title better reflects what we’re trying to accomplish and what you

We want you Have a comment to share? Let us know at want to read about: what it’s like living in Steamboat. For every issue, we strive to encapsulate just what makes living here so special. Hence, the name, which didn’t require a brain surgeon. At Home just seems a tad too Martha Stewart-esque for Steamboat, and in our barfly focus groups, no one was too perturbed to see it go. The new moniker seems to fit, like that perfect pair of worn-in Tele boots or ski pants that stay up without suspenders. And like those suspenders, holding it up on the inside is content produced by the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s award-winning staff and freelancers on the front lines. They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. That holds true here, as well. While the outside has changed, it still has the same great content on the inside that it always has had, which this issue includes our Best of the Boat contest, profiles, a real estate column and a family’s journey from Mount Werner to Machu Picchu. Whether you’re diving into a magazine, a route through the trees or a long-lost Inca trail, it’s great to be comfortable with your terrain. — Eugene Buchanan, editor

Steve balgenorth Circulation manager Photographers Scott franz, Joel reichenberger, John f. russell and Matt Stensland Writers Scott franz, luke graham, nicole inglis, Joel reichenberger, Tom ross, Matt Stensland and Jack Weinstein Advertising design and production Stephanie Corder, Seve DeMarco, rachel girard and Todd Wilson Advertising sales erich Strotbeck and Christy Woodland

Steamboat living is published three times a year, in March, July and november by the Steamboat pilot & Today. Steamboat living magazines are free. for advertising information, call Mike polucci at 970-871-4215. To get a copy mailed to your home, call Steve Balgenorth at 970-871-4232. email letters to the editor to or call 970-870-1376 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Skunk Debunk

Changing Gear

Thanks for the clarification. We did check with several sources, including the Community Agriculture Alliance, so it seems like the misunderstanding is as widespread as the plant. — eds

Thanks for running the Best of the Boat contest again. Maybe we’ll win something next year (I am assuming we didn’t this year). I also want to remind your readers that gear goes around a lot in this town; something someone bought at a Best of

John f. ruSSell

Your article on La Niña (Winter 2012) was fun, but check your local resources for information on skunk cabbage. The plant pictured is Western skunk cabbage, which does not grow here. I understand the mistake. Growing up here, I was always told by my parents that the plant was skunk cabbage, and I’ve spent years trying to correct this information in my herbalist classes. The plant we have here is false hellebore, or cornhusk lily (Veratrum tenuipetalum), which isn’t related. Yes, it’s a snow indicator because it grows tall enough each year for the seed heads to sit above the snow and provide forage for animals. Native peoples did use this plant, but as a poison for arrows or as an insecticide. It was only used medicinally in minute amounts by skilled practitioners; it’s considered toxic and can cause nausea, vomiting and slowing of the heart. I hope any future articles that discuss our local plant communities will be checked with local experts. — Mary O’Brien, herbalist and permaculture educator

the Boat retailer might well end up on our shelves later. So pass it forward. If you have old, idle gear laying around, bring it on over so someone else can use it. Recycling gear, that’s truly the Best of the Boat. — Matt Burditt, Boomerang Sports Exchange


More than 240 people are killed and 4,000 are seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes each year in Colorado.


Don’t put yourself and others at risk. Plan ahead and designate a sober driver before you go out.

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JohAnnA hAll

Quick hits

Snow rider: nate Bird, of honey Stinger (how’d you guess?), hits the snowy singletrack on emerald Mountain.

The Season of the Snow Bike Local trails see spokes as well as skis in low-snow winter Poor ol’ Ski Town USA. Not only does the moniker have Bike Town on its heels, but now its followers are even on its trails. While a subpar early ski season had skiers spinning their wheels, mountain bikers used it to spin theirs, especially on the trails of Emerald Mountain. “They’re awesome this year,” says local convert Kyle Pietras, a Steamboat Powdercats guide. “They’re super smooth, with every bump completely covered. It’s the best winter-riding season I’ve ever seen.” Don’t be swayed by those wackos racing slalom gates down the face of Howelsen during Winter Carnival. People snowride for fun and exercise, and it’s actually safer than its summertime counterpart. It’s technical, without the consequences; rocks, logs

and other bumps are covered, and you don’t go as fast, making falls less painful. “Everything is cushioned,” Pietras says. Helping, of course, are technology advances, primarily in tires. While some riders retrofit rims with oversized tires to boost traction, others adorn treads with studs. Still others rent or purchase oversized bikes specifically for the task. But you don’t really need either, especially on the trails of Emerald, where the singletrack is seemingly made for snow riding. “Normal mountain bikes work great, especially if you let a little air out of the tires,” Orange Peel owner Brock Webster says. Regardless of what you ride, the movement is gaining steam, and not just in Steamboat. Moots’ Eric Hindes recently competed in Minnesota’s Arrowhead 135

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snow-bike race, and Winter Park launched a snow-bike race circuit this year. Orange Peel’s Essam Welch regularly rides Uranium Mine, Fox Run, lower Spring Creek and West Summit. He’s even ridden from Dumont Lake along the Continental Divide Trail to Buffalo Pass and down. “To me, it’s way more fun than skiing,” Welch says. “There’s tons of great winter riding here.” The craze is gaining enough of a cult that you’re likely to see bikers right alongside skiers, snowshoers and hikers the rest of this winter and more to come. “It turned out to be the season of the snow bike,” says Moots’ Jon Cariveau, also an avid winter rider. “And now that people have gotten a taste of it, they’ll probably keep doing it year after year.” — Eugene Buchanan

Tips for winter riding There’s still plenty of time to break out your bike this winter before mud season shuts down the trails. Here are some tips: ■ Use your front brake and steer with your rear brake. ■ You’ll get cold feet from postholing, so wear thick socks. ■ Swap out your clipless pedals for flats so you can ride in boots. If you stick with clipless, wear a size bigger shoes to accommodate thicker socks. ■ Bring two pairs of gloves: a thin pair for the ride up and a thicker pair for the descent. ■ Bring a neck gaiter and thin hat to wear under your helmet for the descent. ■ Keep your tire in the track; otherwise prepare to shoulder roll.

A Real Family Mexican Restaurant Cantina and Cocktails

445 Anglers Drive . Suite 1A Sundance at Fish Creek Plaza 970.871.6999 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Corey KopiSChKe

Quick hits

happy Birthday to Me: In 2012, Strings Music festival celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Strings Turns 25 From its humble beginnings on the deck of an athletic club to its current award-winning Strings Music Pavilion, Strings Music Festival continues to dance to the beat of its own drum, a cadence that this year sees the nonprofit celebrate its 25th anniversary. “We’ve reached this mark through hard work, great music, an unbelievably supportive community and a great team of seven women, three of whom have been here all 25 years,” says Strings Marketing Director Cristin Frey. In 1988, Strings was inaugurated on the deck of the Steamboat Athletic Club with a lineup of eight concerts and a $10,000 budget. “We hoped for 50 and got 150 attendees that first night,” says Frey, adding that the audience helped move the grand piano and music stands. It operated that way for four seasons before the fire marshal said it had to limit the number of attendees or move. So in 1992, it relocated to the Torian Plum Plaza lawn, with the city purchasing a

550-seat performing arts tent for Strings to use. The investment paid off shortly thereafter when CBS Sunday Morning filmed a segment about the festival and Maestro Leonard Slatkin. But parking became an issue, the tent was expensive to maintain and recordings were compromised by guests reveling outside. So in 2004, the organization moved to a new 6-acre site at Mount Werner and Pine Grove roads. In 2007, construction began on the 9,000-square-foot Strings Music Pavilion, which opened in June 2008 to record attendance. Now, with its 25th birthday in the bank, it’s planning to celebrate the milestone with a lineup of special programming, spearheaded by the return for the fourth year of music directors Andrés Cárdenes and Monique Mead. “We have a lot of special programs in store to help us celebrate this special year,” Frey says. “And we owe it all to the support of the Steamboat community.” — Eugene Buchanan

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Strings Music Festival season highlights June 23: Opening night orchestra Featuring world-renowned cellist Gary Hoffman and the official lighting of the Strings park (lights donated through Light up the Night, a fundraiser supporting local youth education programs). The park will stay lit throughout the summer season. July 1: Free community day In 2004, MASS Ensemble helped celebrate the tent's opening, drawing nearly 1,500 people. This year the event returns, featuring yoga under the Earth harp, free interactive shows, as well as drum orb, African dance and belly dance performances. July 7: Perry-Mansfield collaborative dance performance Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp members dance to “Roots II” by David Baker, performed by Strings musicians.

July 28: Multimedia collaborative performance Fox network producer/videographer Mike Burks creates a photochoreography presentation of landscape, wildlife, ranch and horse images from local ranchers and photographers. The presentation accompanies Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” performed by Strings musicians. Aug. 1: Side-by-side performance: local students and professionals A small chamber orchestra of Strings musicians and local students performs Mozart’s 40th Symphony. Aug. 17: Asleep at the Wheel The return of nine-time Grammy Award winners Asleep at the Wheel to close out the festival season in conjunction with the Steamboat All Arts Festival.

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Steamboat Family & Aesthetic Dentistry Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Celeb Sighting Steamboat might not have the celeb status of Aspen (and that’s the way we like it), but occasionally we do see stars. Case in point: last summer none other than Justin Timberlake visited town for the wedding of a friend of girlfriend Jessica Biel. The reception took place at the top of the gondola — where everyone, including Timberlake, cut a rug — and later progressed to The Tugboat Grill & Pub. “The bar was packed, and Justin and Jessica were very much together,” a server told celeb watchdog site “They were being very low key. ... Jessica told me they both loved Steamboat Springs and (said) how nice it was to be treated as a normal person.”

Bummer of a Bet Think Brian Urlacher was bummed after the Denver Broncos beat the Chicago Bears in overtime this winter? His locker room lament was nothing compared to what Steamboat local and Bears fan Benny Tollar had to suffer. Losing one of the most consequential bets of his life, the ice rink’s hockey program director had to wear a Broncos jersey the entire week afterward and dye his hair Broncos orange.

eugene BuChAnAn

Shannon lukenS

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New Patients Special $99 Routine Cleaning, Exam, 2 Bitewings (Expires May 1st, 2012)

Call Today 879-3565 18 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

Tebowing in the Boat With the Broncos bowing out in the playoffs, Tebow-mania finally has subsided. But it still can be found in Steamboat in the unlikeliest of places. The recipients of our unofficial TeBoat Awards? Bennett Gamber, for his dropped-knee Tebow pose after Nordic jumping (runner-up: Bode Flanigan); and Alison Sabat’s fourth-grade gym class at Strawberry Park Elementary School for its games of Tebow Tag this winter (get tagged and you have to strike the pose).

John f. ruSSell


Vocal Chord Kudos Known throughout the sports broadcasting industry as the “Golden Throat,” Steamboat’s own Verne Lundquist recently received the National Football Foundation’s Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award. He serves as the lead play-by-play announcer for CBS’s coverage of college football and basketball as well as the Masters, PGA Championship and other PGA Tour events.


pruDenTiAl STeAMBoAT reAlTy

Performers tell one another to break a leg for good luck. Telemark skiing instructor Barry Smith didn’t need any such well-wishes in January when he broke his tib/fib slipping on some ice on his way to work. But docs said he should be up and at ’em again by late March — just in time for teaching kayaking again — and he’ll go into the river-running season with two extra months’ worth of ukulele practice under his belt.

Barry SMITh

At Least You Don’t Need Them Kayaking

402 Lincoln Ave • 970-879-8377 CUSTOM INTERIOR DESIGN

State Celebration Christmas time is party season in Routt County, and this year our award for town’s best party goes to Prudential Steamboat Realty, whose annual revolving states theme had revelers going office to office for different grub and suds from costumed hosts. Some of our favorites: horse racing and bourbon served by jockeys from Kentucky; gangsters serving pizzas from New York; leis, mai tais and grass skirts in the Hawaiian headquarters; Lone Star beers and barbecue from Texas; Colorado Coors; Hershey’s and chocolate martinis from Pennsylvania; Alaskan amber and salmon from the 49th state; Mardi Gras mayhem from Louisiana; and wine and cheese from California. Then came the wacko State of Mind nurses serving Jell-O shots and candy under disco balls, their neighbors from the State of Denial, and a Utah broker with multiple female assistants. Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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While W.C. Fields maintained that “horse sense is what a horse has which keeps it from betting on people,” local wrangler Christina Haxton is betting on horse sense helping people. Haxton is the founder of Sustainable Leaders and the Experience HorseSense program, which imparts people skills through horses. Utilizing “lessons from the herd,” Haxton uses equine power to teach people about building relationships — corporate or otherwise — filled with trust and respect. “Hands-on experiences with horses teach humans to bring humor and fun into their relationships,” says Haxton, who operates her HorseSense classes at indoor arenas throughout Steamboat Springs and beyond. “Horses are intuitive, honest and engaging animals, and people can learn a lot from them.” For corporate retreats, she says

she often has the horses represent a customer and has her clients try to “catch” them. “The whole process of catching a customer is very reflective,” she says. “It’s all about the relationship. You can’t be too aggressive, or they’ll leave you. Real-life situations get mirrored in the arena.” So far, it’s working. Companies use her services for corporate retreats, conflict resolution and team building, with her client list including Vectra Bank, Lockheed Martin, the Denver Broncos, Coors and the Colorado Judicial Department. “It was a very memorable program,” says Jill Peale, vice president of client VCA Animal Hospitals. “We’re still using some of what we learned today. I’d recommend it to any company looking for team-building activities and leadership training.” Haxton, who balances her HorseSense program with more

John f. ruSSell

Horses Helping Humans

Mr. ed’s Got nothing on These equines: Christina haxton with her human-helping horses Deuce, left, and kola.

conventional speaking, consulting and executive coaching duties, says equine education was a natural progression. A former senior manager and staff trainer in the health and human services industry, she became a licensed marriage and family therapist in 1996 before starting her own consulting and training company in 1997. Then she brought her passions together by bringing

horses into the fray. “I’ve learned more from horses about trust, respect and listening than I have from all of my other experience and education put together,” she says, adding that proceeds help fund therapeutic riding and animal rescue programs in the Yampa Valley. “They’re a great metaphor for challenges people face in day-to-day life.” — Eugene Buchanan

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Airborne Antics

Quick hits

While a helicopter chased the peloton at last year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a miniature version created just as big of a buzz locally. Launched from the top of the Old Town Pub building and carrying a Panasonic GH2 Online digital video camera, For footage of the the diminutive version chopper in action, captured footage of the visit www.vimeo. finish that might be used com/29891124 to promote this year’s tour. At the controls on the rooftop was Cedar Beauregard, owner of Steamboat Aerials, enjoying a burgeoning business providing clients with bird’s-eye images thanks to his remote-controlled helicopter. “It’s just a side business until I get enough work,” he says, adding that his main clients are real estate and development projects. “It’s a labor of love, but it’s pretty fun.” Residents and visitors saw that high-flying fun again at this year’s Winter Carnival, when Beauregard used his bird to capture the street events. Spooked horses aside, business is starting to take off, just like his chopper. Last year, Beauregard shot for Vail Resorts — including the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, footage of which was featured in commercials during the NFL playoffs — and the Ritz-Carlton, a photo of which made it onto an Interstate 70 billboard. Locally, he’s shot for One Steamboat Place, Red Bell Ranch and others, including aerial footage of the flooded valley floor last summer. “Most of the work is hovering around vacant buildings,” he says, adding that video footage sells better than stills. “But it has a lot of different applications.” Capable of taking images from as high as 400 feet, the maximum allowable by the Federal Aviation Administration, Beauregard has used his mini-heli to provide developers with images of lots, complete with plat maps superimposed over the photographs, and Realtors with images showing off remote mountain estates. He’s also using it for events like outdoor weddings, the Dew Tour and Pro Cycling Challenge. It even can be used to help search and rescue locate missing people, he says. The high-flying footage owes itself to a

MaTT STenSlanD

Remote-controlled helicopter offers bird’s-eye video

Ground Control to Major Tom: Cedar Beauregard at the controls of his bird.

sixth-generation model helicopter that operates on six rotors and a battery offering 10 minutes of flight time (he usually shows up to a project with four batteries, meaning his craft can be airborne for 40 minutes). “I went from one rotor to eight to now six,” he says. “It has less surface area than eight, so there’s less jostling and requires less maintenance.” Still, it’s not all smooth sailing. Beauregard has been at it for six years, logging hundreds of hours of flight time. He recounts one time when he was testing his new octo-copter at Howelsen and it crashed into the outrun of the 90-meter jump, resulting in the total loss of the bird and two cameras. From there, it was back to the drawing board. “People trying to get into this business usually don’t continue after the first crash,” says Beauregard, who earned his stripes practicing

“People trying to get into this business usually don’t continue after the first crash.”

on a computerized flight-control simulator. “I’ve built a few helicopters for other people around the country, but they usually come back broken within two weeks.” Beauregard’s background and passion help him get through his hobby’s turbulence. His dad, he says, instilled a passion in him for building model airplanes and to stick with it even after they came crashing down. As for potential copter crashes today, he says they’re rare, but he carries a $2 million liability policy just in case his airborne antics go awry. And it’s all worth it for the doors it has opened for him as a videographer. “It’s more of a video production business than a remote helicopter business,” he says, adding that a recent job saw his helicopter flying up to the front door of a $10 million house for sale and then meshing that with interior footage. “But it’s gotten my foot in the door of the production business. The ultimate product is the footage — the helicopter is just a floating tripod.” — Eugene Buchanan Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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ThE rESuLTS ArE IN ...





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BONANzA ive thousand people can’t be wrong. If you weren’t sure where to eat, imbibe, shop or do whatever else you do in Steamboat before, now you know. This year’s Best of the Boat contest yielded a record 4,949 entries, equating to about half of the local population. And it turns out this populace is as opinionated as ever when it comes to all things Steamboat. Be it the best french fries, pizza or real estate broker, contestants voted on 148 categories, selecting a top three in each one. And right there is what makes this contest so special. It’s not us putting our stamp of approval on someone, but you, our readers. You took the time to make your voice heard on what you like best in this town of ours. That makes the results carry the weight of our county’s snowpack, which is substantial even in an off-year like this. We can talk among ourselves all we want about who makes the best burger. But what really matters is how the town feels. And that’s the picture we’re trying to paint with this issue. “It’s about as unbiased a look as you can get at the town’s businesses and services,” says magazine advertising director Mike Polucci, whose team spent hours tabulating the results. “It’s a pretty unique way to find out how locals and even visitors feel about certain aspects of our town. Plus, we added a few more personal categories this year, which made it pretty fun to put together.” Polucci adds that safeguards helped ensure the survey was as credible as possible, preventing, as best as possible, duplicate votes. “Each vote came from a different IP address,” Polucci says. “People got pretty creative with their campaigning, but it’s as legitimate a survey as anyone could ever put together.” In all, the survey encompassed 156 cat26 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

John f. ruSSell


Contest yields record number of entries

Thank you, february: Best Skier David lamb (page 119) explodes into a turn below Burgess Creek.

egories from Best Pizza to Best Ski Patroller, divided into five segments: Dining & Drinking, Shopping, Services, Homes & Real Estate and Community, which ranks everything from ski instructors to DJs. The 4,949 votes were more than 16 times the number of respondents the survey garnered in its first go-round in 2002. A prize incentive of two $500 local shopping sprees helped entice voters to the polls, but so did people’s desires to air their opinions on this place we call home. Businesses on the receiving end of the votes also had fun with it, trying their best to vie for top honors. Rex’s American Grill & Bar continued its innovate campaigning, adding to last year’s YouTube endorsements from everyone from Obama to Oprah, and KBCR ran a series of radio ads championing

it as “another meaningless popularity contest designed to sell ads” but admitting that it wanted to win “so we can continue to employ the likes of Brian Harvey.” It even had a cameo from Homer Simpson saying, “d’oh!” “We decided to have a little fun with it,” says KBCR General Manager Brian Harvey. “We didn’t take it too seriously.” Most businesses were diplomatic about it, letting the cards fall where they may. “There are a lot of great restaurants here, and they all do a great job,” says Freshies’ Kristy Fox, admitting that she didn’t do any special campaigning. “You do what you do, do it well, and let the people decide.” And therein lies the survey’s true purpose: to let the people identify what they like best. The hard part, it seems, is narrowing it all down.

Survey receives Nearly 5,000 responses


oly moly. If Hollywood has winning formulas for its sequels, we’ve stumbled upon one with our Best of the Boat survey. In all, 4,949 readers responded this year, up 56 percent from 2012 and a whopping 1,500 percent from the inaugural contest’s 305 responses in 2002. Opinionated readers had exactly one month to answer the 156-question survey, and they did so in droves, producing Steamboat’s most representative readers’ choice survey ever. Following are a few behind-thescenes facts and figures as well as some answers that didn’t make the final cut:

Survey Stats 4,949 voters in 2012 survey 305 voters in original 2002 survey 272,751 total votes submitted 30,525

Largest Margin of Victory 68 percent Best Hot Dog: Hungry Dog

65 percent Best Liquor Store: Central Park Liquor


55 percent Best Grocery Store:

Top 5 Questions by Votes 3,755 Best Sit-Down Breakfast 3,652 Best Sit-Down Lunch 3,555 Best Pizza 3,552 Best On-Mountain Après 3,492 Best Grab-and-Go Lunch

50 percent Best Pet Supply

City Market

Store: Paws ’N Claws ’N Things

47 percent Best Place for a Men’s Haircut: 10th Street Barbershop

45 percent Best Place for a

Sandwich: Backcountry Provisions

Funniest responses Best Wings: “I’m a fan of colors, so parrots.” Best Ribs: “Mike Polucci’s — carved from steel.” Best Seafood: “Anywhere closer to the ocean than Colorado.” Best Burrito: “Illegal Mexican burrito cart run by my grammama.” Best Fine Dining: “I don’t make enough money to enjoy fine dining. Sounds classy, though.” Best Elected Official: “Are you kidding? They are all ‘best’ until they are actually elected.” Best Carpenter: “Jesus Christ.”

Best Local Runner: “That guy who ran from the cops by jumping in the river.” Best Local Snowboarder: “Paris Hilton.”

2011’s Funniest responses Best Place for a Men’s Haircut: “Don’t know, I’m bald.” Best Place to Get a Massage: “My back and shoulders.” Best Snow Removal Service: “My husband.” Best Place to Dance: “On a pole.” Best Place to Walk a Dog: “Your neighbor’s yard, late at night.”

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John f. ruSSell


rom Burger Night to bruschetta, Steamboat Springs has it all when it comes to dining. Lick wing sauce off your fingertips while après skiing and then settle in for pork amandine or elk tenderloin afterward. There’s good reason for the diversity. Steamboat is a town where you burn through carbs like your bike tires gobble up singletrack. It’s only natural to replenish them come mealtime. Thankfully, a host of restaurateurs here are great at what they do — refueling us so we can get back out there and pursue our favorite pastimes. Whether our budget favors a sandwich or sushi, there’s a restaurant to fit the bill. And some of these eateries are better than others, according to our voters who ranked everything from ambiance to appetizers. Drawing more responses than nearly all of our other categories combined, the Dining & Drinking division remains Best of the Boat’s most hotly contested category — almost as hot as the meals its proprietors serve.

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cookiNG With

Tasty Pastries: Chocolate Soup Pastry kitchen’s lisa Ciraldo rolls out creations at her Mount Werner bakery.

Best Bakery: Chocolate Soup Pastry Kitchen Pastry chef Lisa Ciraldo shares the secrets of her bakery’s sweets


on’t ever tell Lisa Ciraldo a cookie is just a cookie. The Chocolate Soup Pastry Kitchen owner knows that to be deemed a success, a cookie needs to release a taste of something more complex than sugar or spice when it’s eaten. It needs to release a memory. Many of Ciraldo’s cookies are designed to take her taste buds back to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx of New York, where as a child she’d gorge on cannolis, Italian biscuits and black-and-white cookies with her father. “The flavor of the cookies in these bakeries was always a big thing for us,” she says in her kitchen at the base of Mount Werner as she carefully pours apricot jam into a batch of almond spritz cookies. “There was always a good consistency in

these bakeries and a family feeling. The feelings and the smells are stuck in my heart, and I think of my father when I make them.” With a degree in biology from Colorado State University and a pastry degree from Johnson & Wales University, Ciraldo says her cookies are the product of carefully crafted chemistry, not unmeasured dashes of common materials. Each of her baked goods originates from formulas scribbled in the big recipe books she carries that contain step-by-step instructions for how to make delicacies that date back to her childhood. She jokes that she’s always been in the “sweets business,” starting with her first job at a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop at age 13. Today, she says she’s happy to have

Story by Scott Franz ❘ Photos by John F. Russell 30 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

turned her passion into a successful Yampa Valley business. “I love that people think of Chocolate Soup as ‘the bakery,’” she says. “We take a lot of pride in what we make.” Chocolate Soup, which Ciraldo opened five years ago to fill a void she said was created by the absence of a true bakery in town, currently caters desserts and breads to nine local vendors. In September, the bakery started to sell its milk chocolate almond and dark chocolate pistachio macaroons and Bella Luna graham crackers to Rocky Mountain region Whole Foods stores. It since has expanded its wholesale operation. “I decided to make this town my home base because I saw an opening for a niche, and we decided to fill it,” she says. “I hope we’re succeeding.”


recipe Corner: Lisa Ciraldo’s Almond Spritz Cookies What you’ll need

Get baking

8 ounces almond paste 10 ounces sugar 12 ounces butter 3 eggs 19 ounces all-purpose flour Raspberry and apricot jam Chocolate for dipping (substitute for jam filling if desired)

1. Soften the almond paste and butter to room temperature. 2. Place butter and paste in a mixing bowl and add sugar. 3. Mix until light and fluffy (scrape bowl twice during mixing process). 4. Add eggs one at a time. 5. Scrape bowl.

6. Add flower until incorporated. 7. Pipe dough through star tip at the end of a cookie press or bag into a flower shape. 8. Poke holes in center of dough with finger or tip of wooden spoon. 9. Add jam in center. 10. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. ■

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Waiter extraordinaire Daryl Newcomb knows a thing or two about serving fine cuisine. He’s been at it at Cafe Diva for 12 years and was at Riggio’s Ristorante before that. “A big part of my success is the fact that I’ve been doing it for so long that people know me,” says Newcomb, 50, who moved here from Peoria, Ill., in 1985. “I’m recognizable.” Maybe so. But he’s also darn good at what he does, which is making people feel comfortable and at home. “The thing that’s served us best is that we treat everyone with courtesy and respect,” he adds. “And that’s come back to us tenfold.” It helps, of course, when you’re serving food whipped up by the likes of Kate Rench, winner of Best Chef the past two years. “It helps to have an awesome product,” Newcomb says. “But everything also clicks here really well. Everyone has the same idea about the finished product.” When he’s not serving, you’ll find Newcomb sampling the product on the slopes, both in the backcountry and onpiste (perhaps even stoking up the barbecue at his secret OB hangout called Area 51). This year, he’s shooting for notching 100 days in a row, and last year, he skied every single day. “It’s easy for me because I live and work on the mountain,” he says. “But I love what I do ... the challenge of the timing and being able to meet new people and make new friends.”

John f. ruSSell

Best Server: Daryl Newcomb, Cafe Diva

newcomb Welcome: Best Server Daryl newcomb at your service.

SAndwich SpeciALiSTS

fOr ALL Of YOur AdvenTureS Best Quality Best Service Best Taste

(970) 879-3617 • 635 Lincoln Ave • Old Town Square menu online at

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L’Apogée English: apogee (ap-uh-jee); the highest point. 1. The pinnacle of dinning

Call for reservations or book online Downtown Steamboat Springs | 911 Lincoln Avenue 970-879-1919 | Open Every Day 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. We accept Amex, Visa and MC Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best Bartender: Tod ‘JJ’ Johnson, Laundry

John f. ruSSell

John f. ruSSell

John f. ruSSell

Shaken or stirred? Tod “JJ” Johnson can make it any way you like, earning him top accolades as the town’s best bartender for the second consecutive year. But you might have to hire him on the side. The fixture at Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner no longer tends bar in his new role as general manager of the Laundry. Johnson, who spent 22 years at Mazzola’s, with the exception of the six months he left to open Big House Burgers and Bottlecap Bar, took the reins Jan. 1 at the Laundry, owner Rex Brice’s fifth restaurant in Steamboat. “It’s because of people like JJ that we’ve been able to accomplish what we have,” Brice says. “We have a lot of great people on this team, and he’s at the top of that list.” Steamboat barflies shouldn’t worry about not seeing Johnson when they visit the Laundry. As general manager, he’s constantly walking the floor. And his fans will be happy to know he had a lot to do with creating the bar, which specializes in tequilas, whiskeys, house-infused vodkas and specialty cocktails — including his own Fiery Margarita, a concoction of habanero/scotch bonnet-infused silver tequila, cilantro/lemon grass simple syrup, fresh lime juice and a splash of fresh orange juice. Johnson isn’t ruling out a return to behind the bar at some point. After all, he’s pretty good at it. “I made guests feel like they were in my home,” anything but Washed up: Tod “JJ” Johnson at the controls of the laundry. he says.

Toll order: Jennie Tollison between cocktails at Sweetwater Grill.

reign or Shine: richard Shine taking a breather at Sunpie’s Bistro.

2. Jennie Tollison, Sweetwater Grill and Slopeside Grill 3. richard ‘Gooch’ Shine, Sunpie’s Bistro Sweetwater Grill owner Kim Haggarty says Jennie Tollison, who also works behind the bar at Slopeside Grill, says she “just sparkles,” whether she’s pouring a draft of Stella Artois or mixing a mai tai. Haggarty says Tollison, who has worked at Sweetwater for a year, is inviting, open, energetic and engaging, traits that go a long way when tending bar. “I really enjoy my job,” says Tollison, who has spent most of the past decade in Steamboat. “I love talking with people and bartending. I’m sure that comes across.” Maybe that’s why we find wherever she works so hard to leave.

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Sunpie’s Bistro owner Mike Miller lauds Richard “Gooch” Shine’s personality, which he says makes him a perfect fit behind the bar at Sunpie’s. Miller says Shine, a familiar face at the bar for five years, is the type of guy who genuinely cares about his customers, even if he asks, “You need something?” rather than, “May I help you?” Shine admits that getting along with patrons is part of the job. “I have a good rapport with people,” says Shine, who moved to Steamboat in 2000. “I’m friendly. A lot of the people who come in are my peers. I treat them with respect, and I think they value that.” We’ll drink to that.


Located at the top of the gondola, Hazie’s, named after longtime local Hazie Werner, is the spot to be in town for vittles with a vista. With tables adjacent to 20-foot windows overlooking the Yampa Valley 2,000 feet below, it was named one of the top 10 on-mountain dining experiences by USA Today for its cuisine as well as its panorama. “There’s not a bad seat in the house,” says manager A.J. Danias. “Even the bar has great views.” Guests can choose from an extensive wine list and various three-course dinner options prepared by executive chef Dawn WilsonRichardson, including daily chef specials (try the sun-dried tomato fettuccine, poached French chicken breast or locally raised bison New York strip) and a calorie-replenishing dessert tray. For lunch, skiers can schuss in for a gourmet soup and salad bar. In addition to enjoying the best views in town, diners also will find plenty to look at on the restaurant’s walls. A recently updated interior includes old-fashioned photos of Hazie and family enjoying Steamboat throughout the years. “She used to serve food out of her house to family, friends and visitors in Routt County,” says Danias. “We wanted to bring that same feeling to the restaurant.”

STeAMBoAT SKi AnD reSorT Corp.

Best View: hazie’s

Dining room with a view.

Hazie’s is open for dinner Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays as well as holiday nights from Dec. 16 to March 31 (reservations recommended). Gondola boarding times are available at 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. You also can hit Hazie’s bar at 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays

for casual drinks and an a la carte menu as well as a brunch every Christmas and Easter and Sundays during the summer (chocolate dipping fountain, anyone?). Locals’ secret: For the absolute best view, head to the loft on the second level.

A Steamboat dining tradition for over 40 years. This historic barn was converted into a restaurant in 1971. Our steaks are hand cut Certified Angus Beef® and the Prime Rib is slow roasted daily. Serving jet-fresh seafood, chicken, ribs and lighter fare. Our famous cinnamon rolls and endless salad bar included with every dinner.

Reservations Recommended • 970-879-1190 On the bus line at the corner of Pine Grove Road & Hwy 40 1465 Pine Grove Rd. • Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best Après Ski on the Mountain: Slopeside Grill Also second place Best Bartender; third place Best Outdoor Dining and Best Place to Watch the Game MATT STenSlAnD

Slopeside Grill General Manager Chad Gagliano knows the position his bar is in. When skiers end a long day on the mountain, there probably isn’t a better place to grab a cold drink than Slopeside. “Our live music, ice bar and location set us up perfect for après,” he says. Ah, the ice bar. It’s become a Steamboat staple. As each February closes out, employees build an ice bar right outside, letting patrons saunter up in their ski boots and order libations from a frozen counter. “But overall, it’s our staff that deserves the kudos,” says Gagliano, whose bar also won Best Après Ski on the Mountain last year. “It’s a fun environment and a fun staff.”



amped-up après: Pat Waters performs at Slopeside Grill.

The T Bar gearing up for another après sesh.

Cutting a rug at the Tug.

2. T Bar

3. The Tugboat Grill & Pub

It takes less than a couple of seconds for T Bar owner and operator Tres Holloway to unleash what makes his bar, now in its third season, unique. “It’s 100 percent for the locals and by the locals,” he says. “It’s a true skier’s bar.” The little trailer that could has kept on growing. Before this year, Holloway added an extra bathroom, more seating and a window for outside service. The cult-like following it’s garnered can be seen in its patrons who have their own glasses behind the counter. But Holloway has added another unique touch. His menu may be the most original of any après spot, consisting of creations like flatbread sandwiches, pork and other food Holloway likes to eat. And it, too, caters to locals. “It’s what I like to eat. It’s skier food,” he says. “It’s high in protein and carbs. We don’t fry anything, and most of our food is local.”

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Walking into The Tugboat Grill & Pub in 2012 allows people to see what Steamboat was like decades earlier. The walls are filled with pictures that tell the story of one of Steamboat’s most iconic bars. And even with ownership changing hands in September, the bar still holds a special place in Steamboat. Even if it doesn’t have the on-slope presence of other bars, it’s not far away and still offers cold beer and cocktails after skiing. “We have a pretty good happy hour special,” says new owner Jim Beatty. “We have very reasonable prices.” It also has a new, fresh menu created by kitchen manager Sean Hengstler. “All the food looks better and tastes better,” Beatty says.


Caitlin Scanlon rarely drinks coffee anywhere else. Scanlon, who co-owns Steaming Bean Coffee Co. with Clark Davidson, orders coffee beans from a brewmaster at the Steaming Bean in Telluride with more than 40 years of experience. That’s part of what makes Steaming Bean’s coffee so special. Scanlon’s love affair with coffee started when she worked at a New Hampshire inn more than 10 years ago, and it has carried over to today. “Our coffee is a little bit different than it is at other places,” she says. “The fact that we get it so fresh helps. With most coffees, you look at when it’s actually roasted and it’s maybe a month ago. Ours is roasted a few days before. It makes a big difference.” But the coffee — and fresh pastries, bagels and Jake’s Famous Cinnamon Rolls — is just part of Steaming Bean’s charm. The coffee shop’s space features comfortable couches and chairs in virtually every nook, making coffee connoisseurs feel warm and welcome. Scanlon says it’s not uncommon for a half dozen groups to meet there on any given day, one corner filled with political banter, another with religious study and another with someone working on a laptop. Scanlon started working at Steaming Bean


Best Coffee Shop: Steaming Bean Coffee Co.

Thanks a latte: Caitlin Scanlon preparing scones at Steaming Bean Coffee Co.

five years ago as a manager. A year and a half ago, she bought into the company. She has seen it change and seen children grow up in her time there. In the end, she is doing what she loves.

“In a way, I purchased myself a job,” she says. “But it’s a great, fun job. It’s fun to see all the different locals. I probably know hundreds of different people by their drink, if not their name.”

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MaTT STenSlanD

Best Breakfast, grab and go: Colorado Bagel Co. A lot of things set the Colorado Bagel Co. apart from its competitors. But the main thing, says owner Jeff Puffett, is the overall quality of the ingredients it uses. Puffett sources the best bacon and sausage he can find for his breakfast concoctions and piles it all on those oh-so-delicious bagels. “You go to most bagel places and they come frozen,” says Puffett, who has owned the breakfast and lunch spot for nine years. “Our bagels are made fresh. It’s a big difference.” Making the bagels is a 24hour process. Add in top-shelf ingredients and you get a bagel easily voted Best of the Boat. “It’s a good, fresh product and we get it out fast,” Puffett says. “We don’t skimp on quality.”

John f. ruSSell


Jeff Puffett has parlayed his Colorado Bagel Co. into best grab-and-go breakfast in the Boat.

offering quality and service, lil' house Country Biscuits & Coffee is gaining a big following.

lunch, Schmunch: David Pepin and Peter Boniface’s Backcountry Provisions is also high on Steamboat's breakfast list.

2. Lil’ house Country Biscuits & Coffee

3. Backcountry Provisions

When grab-and-go breakfast comes to mind, there’s a little place on the west end of Steamboat that does it right. Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee fits quick take-out breakfast to a T, serving coffee, various pastries and delectable burritos. “We have a lot of people who come in day after day,” says barista Elizabeth Eilers. “It’s our consistency.” That consistency has made Lil’ House a popular spot for locals. It offers quick, delicious food but also a quaint atmosphere. “It’s just a cozy place,” Eilers says, adding that it also serves lunch with different soups of the day. But its bread and butter, so to speak, remains its breakfast. “We offer something different from most other breakfast spots,” she says.

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David Pepin, who co-owns Backcountry Provisions with Peter Boniface, isn’t sure how much his memory bank holds. But if he doesn’t know you by name already, he probably knows you by what you order. “We make sure our staff is in tune with that,” Pepin says. “Customers appreciate that when they come through the front door. And if we don’t know someone’s name, we ask.” Known for its sandwiches, Backcountry Provisions also does pretty well with the day’s most important meal. Its No. 1 seller is the hot bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato sandwich, served on a chipotle bagel. And, of course, it’s usually served to you by name. “Having someone take care of you is a great way to start your day,” Pepin says.


There’s plenty to entice the healthy eater into Anne Halloran’s Bamboo Market at 11th and Yampa streets. In addition to organic foods, the market sells locally grown and produced eggs, soaps, herbal remedies, elk and bison meat. A deli inside also makes smoothies, coffee and baked goods, as well as organic meals. The offerings are part of a large and growing industry Halloran thinks is recession proof and, more important, accessible. “The healthy food industry is so much more mainstream than it used to be,” Halloran says. “It’s dramatic how many more people we’ve had coming in over the years.” Halloran says since the store opened in 1991, Yampa Valley residents have scoured its shelves and produce department to equip their diets, and others have come because they’re concerned about the side effects of certain prescription medications. “They look here for a safe alternative,” she says, adding that gluten-free foods also are a hot commodity. Still, Halloran remembers why she opened the store in the first place. “Four years after I moved here from San Diego, I felt like there were other people like me who wanted healthier food options,” she says. “I created a niche for myself. It’s a great feeling to be able to help people live healthier lives.”

SCoTT frAnz

Best Vegetarian Friendly: Bamboo Market

Bamboo Market owner anne halloran says the health food industry continues to grow. her downtown store offers a variety of organic foods, products and produce.

Catering for all your occasions! Events, Parties, Meetings, Weddings, Receptions, Rehearsals, Brunches & more Located in Wildhorse Marketplace

Open 11-7 Monday - Saturday, 1-6 Sunday | 970.879.8423 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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DreW STAChniK, CreATiveWerD.CoM


Sushi, Saketumi Style: at Steamboat’s Best Sushi spot, the focus is on fresh.

Best Sushi: Saketumi Also second place Best Asian; third place Best Seafood At Saketumi, owner Kier Delaney says a chef’s only limitation is his or her imagination. “I let them have free reign, but only if they make something I would eat,” says Delaney, who runs the restaurant in Ski Time Square with his brother Eric. The avid snorkelers from Richmond, Ind., are big fans of the ocean, and their restaurant offers plenty of tasty aquatic creations. From the popular Bula Roll, which contains panko-fried shrimp topped with crab mix, avocado, tuna, sweet soy and spicy aioli, to the filet over lobster mashed potatoes, Saketumi has a menu catered from the ocean. Delaney, who opened the restaurant in 2004, says the fish he serves is as fresh as can be. And if it isn’t, it gets sent back to where it came from. “Over time, our vendors just know not to send us inferior quality,” he says. Saketumi fish is jet fresh, meaning it’s flown from its source, usually Hawaii, to the West Coast where it then makes one final flight to Hayden. Three days a week, sealed FedEx packages of fish cooled by ice arrive at the restaurant, but the fish is never frozen. “The nicest thing you can hear in our restaurant is people saying they haven’t had sushi as good as Saketumi’s,” Delaney says.

2. Noodles & More Saigon Cafe

While it’s hard to pull yourself away from its rice noodle bowls and Vietnamese pho soup, saunter up to the sushi bar at Noodles & More Saigon Cafe and your ordering operandi might change for good. It’s just hard to go back to anything else. Sliced, rolled and served before your eyes (and ideally washed down with a Tsingtao beer), the full bar offers sushi with pizzazz, including unagi (freshwater eel), maguro (seared albacore), masago (smelt roe), amaebi (sweet shrimp) and cheek (baked yellowtail). Other favorites include the caterpillar roll (eel, cucumber, crab and avocado) and venerable crouching tiger roll (tuna tataki and shrimp tempura). “We prepare it all fresh daily,” owner Eric Nguyen says. “Plus, we add our own innovative touch.”

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3. Spostas Sushi

Spostas is anything but traditional sushi. “We’re not trying to convince anyone we’re Japanese,” says owner Christian Talli, who admits to being “YouTube-trained” when it comes to rolling. You certainly wouldn’t know it from his offerings, which include traditional sushi fare — including a spicy tuna roll and its variation Christian’s roll, which adds firecracker sauce and green apple — and such nonconventional offerings as the Spam-tastic, fajita roll, fish taco roll and kids’ favorite tempura-fried PB&J. It also carries such locally themed concoctions as the local ground beef Yampa Valley roll and breakfastoriented rolls, including the Morningside and alpenglow. But perhaps best of all is its pricing, rolled out specifically for locals. During lunch, you can get two massive rolls for $9, with other specials available during happy hour. “I love sushi, but it was always too expensive here,” Talli says. “We wanted to bring the cost down so everyone can enjoy it. And the local support has been phenomenal.”


John f. ruSSell

Best Pizza: Brooklynn’s Pizzeria

Spin Doctor: Brooklynn’s Pizzeria’s Tommy Domingo slinging another disc.

Walk into Brooklynn’s Pizzeria at 57 10th St. downtown and any mountain rat will feel right at home. Adorning the walls are photos of locals skiing, kayaking, mountain biking and otherwise overworking their adrenal glands. But its constituents crave what’s behind the counter as much as they do defying gravity. It’s there that owner Brad “Bobber” White slings what he calls “the most affordable, freshest, fastest pizza in the valley.” White started the company in 1996 after a four-year stint making pizzas at Cugino’s Pizzeria and earlier pie-tossing stints in Indiana. “I’ve been doing it since I was 17,” says White, who employs 11 people in peak season. “No one here offered food after 9 p.m., so I thought I’d start my own.” As well as serving the late-night crowd, Brooklynn’s also appeals to the valuehungry. Slices of cheese and pepperoni run just $2.50, and the more calorie-deprived — those who pursue the sports depicted on the restaurant’s walls — go for the Max, which has a bit of everything. You’ll also find Brooklynn’s in the stomachs of local kids, who are vying for their spot on the wall. “We like supporting the kids around here,” says White, adding that Brooklynn’s donates free and discounted pizza to local soccer programs, after-prom events, school functions and even teen-read programs at the library. “They get hungry, too.”

Soda Creek’s logo — a Telemark skier swooshing through a turn with pizza in hand — says all you need to know about the company’s status in Ski Town USA. While it’s easy to relate to its message, founder Steve Hitchcock knows as much about making pies as he does about marketing them. Hitchcock dropped out of college to go through the Domino’s manager training course (before returning to major in philosophy and anthropology), and worked at a number of pizza joints in the Twin Cities, including the famous Green Mill, before founding Soda Creek in Steamboat in 1999. Through it all, he’s learned to make pizza with a bit of pizzazz. “We try to make pizza that’s unique to Steamboat Springs,” says Hitchcock, who also owns clothing store Zirkel Trading Co. “People don’t want the exact same thing that they can find back home.” That explains the popularity of its bestselling Snow in Texas pizza, made from chopped garlic, olive oil, ricotta, mozzarella, mesquite-grilled chicken, artichoke hearts and fresh Roma tomatoes; its Thai Peanut Veggie, made with Thai peanut sauce, red onions, green peppers and roasted, unsalted cashews; and its Szechuan Duck.

John f. ruSSell

2. Soda Creek Pizza

Baker’s Dozen: The Soda Creek Pizza crew and the fruits of its pizza ovens.

Soda Creek also specializes in wild game offerings, including its Wild Hawaiian, made from wild boar, and another that comes topped with locally sourced elk sausage. Even the dough has a local twist, made with honey sourced from Bear River Aviary.

Apart from distinctive discs, Soda Creek also emphasizes bang for the buck. “We’re pretty generous with our portions,” says Hitchcock, whose parlor employs 19 people in peak season. “We make sure people don’t walk away hungry.” Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Rife Photography

Thank you, Steamboat, for voting for us! 970.870.1544

635 Lincoln Ave. Located downstairs at the corner of 7th and Lincoln Avenue

Open Monday to Friday 11a.m. to 10p.m. Saturday & Sunday 5p.m. to 10p.m.

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Best Asian: Noodles & More Saigon Cafe Also second place Best Sushi Addicted to Asian food? According to our voters, it doesn’t get any better in the Boat than Noodles & More Saigon Cafe in Old Town Square. The reason is authenticity. The Vietnamese cafe and sushi bar combines fresh ingredients with straight-from-Saigon spices to create traditional Vietnamese fare. Favorites include shrimp spring rolls, crispy egg rolls and spicy beef, pork and chicken noodle bowls. You also can try curry, pad thai, pho soup, Asian salads and more. To spice it up even more, add a squirt of Sriracha hot chili sauce. “We’re dedicated to serving great meals at a good price in a relaxed setting,” says Eric Nguyen, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Vicki. “We prepare our food fresh daily with what we consider the highest-quality ingredients we can find. And then we add our own innovative touch.” aching for asian? head to noodles & More Saigon Cafe.

Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best Outdoor Dining: Sweetwater Grill

Sweet views come with Sweetwater Grill’s riverside dining.

Sunpie’S BiSTro


Sweetwater Grill owner Kim Haggarty says her restaurant’s outdoor dining emphasis along the Yampa River was all part of the plan. And she adds it was intended not only to be a great place to dine, but also a great place for families. In addition to the second-story tables that overlook the Yampa and the fire pit and outdoor bar on the first level, a wide-open lawn features a stage for summer concerts as well as a bouncy house, playground and playhouse for children. It all came together for Haggarty last summer. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this was my vision,’” she says. “It’s exactly what I wanted.” For views and outdoor ambiance, it’s also what customers wanted. Diners can watch everything from tubers, kayakers and anglers in the summer to jumpers flying off Howelsen Hill’s Nordic jumps in winter. “It just brings a good vibe to the Yampa River,” Haggarty says. “That’s what we were going for.”

SWeeTWATer grill

Also Best Cocktails; second place Best View, Best Bartender, Best Music Venue and Best Happy Hour off the Mountain; third place Best Host/Hostess

hush puppies, hurricanes and a heck of a backyard.

2. Sunpie’s Bistro

Like Sweetwater, Sunpie’s is located along the Yampa River. Without the river, owner Mike Miller says, Sunpie’s wouldn’t be quite the draw it has become after opening in 2005. “No way would we be as popular,” Miller says. “Summertime is our time for sure.” Miller says he and his wife, Colleen, weren’t targeting a riverfront spot for their New Orleans-themed bistro but took the opportunity when it came up. He says they just wanted to sell some sandwiches, and all of a sudden people started buying drinks. And they haven’t left, thanks to its views as much as its brews.

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Porch, lawn and ice bar — what more could you want?

3. Slopeside Grill

Slopeside Grill general manager Chad Gagliano says the view of the Flat Tops, southern sun exposure and improvements to the base of the ski area, including the public promenade and daylighting of Burgess Creek, are what make the restaurant such a desirable place to dine outside. Gagliano says that ever since the restaurant opened in 1996, it’s always seated patrons outside, whether they’re at the ice bar or on the grassy lawn. But as beautiful as the views are, he says, that’s not the only highlight of eating at Slopeside. “I think the staff is the huge reason for our success here,” he says.

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We thank you for your continued support! We value each and every one of you.

Providing services in Grand, Jackson, Moffat and Routt Counties. George Ibarra, Owner Bilingual Registered Respiratory Therapist 970.871.0999



Your medical home for the entire family.

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Offering Fresh Meat & Seafood • Deli • Catering • Fresh Pastas & Ravioli Open 9am-7pm, Mon-Sat, 11am-6pm, Sunday

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Best Place to Watch the Game: The Tap house Sports Grill Also Best Wings; second place Best Place to Dance; third place Best Hot Dog John f. ruSSell

Want to watch the game? Head to repeat winner The Tap House Sports Grill in the heart of downtown between Seventh and Eighth streets. Recently purchased by longtime co-owner Melissa Baker, the sports bar has stepped up its sports-viewing offerings with 25 wireless, tabletop, eight-channel speakers (four more than its tap beer offerings), letting you listen to — and watch — the game of your choice. “We believe sports were meant to be seen and heard,” says Baker. “Now you can do both.” The Tap House offers more than 50 HDTVs and full satellite capability, including the NTN network and a free sports trivia and poker interactive game. “Our philosophy is to get any sports available by cable, DirecTV or satellite,” Baker says. And, oh yeah, did we mention the new, two-pitcher-capacity beer towers?


John f. ruSSell

Beers and Cheers: you'll find it all at The Tap house Sports Grill.

you ever notice that “tavern” has “TV” in it?

The only thing that outnumbers its TVs is its pizza selection.

2. Carl’s Tavern

3. Slopeside Grill

Collin Kelley, owner of Carl’s Tavern, knows what people want when it comes to watching sports: good food, great atmosphere and high-end TVs everywhere you look. He’s accomplished the first via skills he picked up at Johnson & Whales University’s culinary arts school in Denver, the second with a motif celebrating local Nordic jumping pioneer Carl Howelsen and the latter thanks to eight large-screen TVs strategically placed throughout his tavern in downtown Steamboat Springs. “You can see them from any table as well as the bar,” says server Beth Hadrys, adding that volumes can be adjusted individually or permeate the entire restaurant on the same channel for the one big game. Bonus: Large windows throughout keep the atmosphere airy.

Pizza, fresh pours and nine regular and one jumbo 64-inch HDTV — all with every DirecTV sports package under the sun. That’s what you get at Slopeside Grill, where you can click out of your bindings and be watching your favorite game seconds later. Choose from more than 20 pizzas and nine draft beers, and catch a late game with a late-night happy hour offering $7 pizzas and $3 drafts. And don’t worry about being outnumbered as a fan. “Everybody here likes somebody different,” says manager Mike Coy. Bonus: After watching your team ice the win, you can head to the ice bar outside.

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John f. ruSSell

Best Children’s Menu: Johnny B. Good’s Diner Also second place Best Family Restaurant

John f. ruSSell

If your kid has a hunger for artistry fame as well as food, head to Johnny B. Good’s Diner, where crayon-colored place mats get hung up on the wall for all patrons to see. This family friendliness is exactly what owner Mike Diemer envisioned when he started the downtown diner in 1994 after moving to Steamboat from New York. “Kids are our bread and butter,” he says. “We built the diner on taking care of kids and giving them the respect they deserve. Kids can be kids here.” Well-fed ones at that. Johnny’s children’s menu includes hot dogs, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and its best-selling Haley Burger. For breakfast, selections include the mini cheese omelet, mini day starter (eggs, meat, browns and toast) and Mickey pancakes. And it’s all in an atmosphere that feels like home. “The families who come here are all our friends,” adds Diemer, whose own sons — Jack, 3, and Charlie, 5 months — contribute regularly to the art wall. “So it’s not really like Johnny B. Good’s Diner: Where kids can be kids (and so can the adults). work at all.”

2. rex’s American Grill & Bar

Founded in 2006 in the Holiday Inn, Rex’s American Grill & Bar is the restaurant to hit with the rugrats. Its kids menu is loaded with specialities for the youngins while doubling as a game-filled coloring sheet. “We’re very accommodating to kids,” says manager Nick Sharp. Between your child’s doodles, you’ll find chicken lips, kids pizza, homemade macaroni and cheese with trees (that’d be broccoli), kids’ burgers and butter-laced slippery noodles. It also features the two buck noodle and two buck banana for tykes 3 and younger. “That way, no one has to go plateless,” Sharp adds. Finish their plates and kids can have Worms and Dirt, a dessert consisting of gummy worms, chocolate pudding and cookie crumbles. And don’t worry about kids burning off the calories. During the summer, a kid-friendly backyard offers Hula Hoops, a bean bag toss, Frisbee golf hole and more.

3. Freshies

Freshies doesn’t create kids’ meals but rather mini versions of its adult meals. “It’s real food made from great ingredients,” says Christy Fox, who owns the restaurant with husband, Scott. “We try to keep everything pretty healthy.” It also keeps it fun. Kids can color their menus with a jar of crayons and get a free cookie when they leave. “Some people might complain about the noise, but it’s a fun place to bring the whole family,” Fox adds. “It’s an informal atmosphere, and we go out of our way to accommodate them.” She adds that part of this also involves the aftermath. “We also clean up after them,” she says.

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Three Syllables Say it all: al-pen-glow.

Best Bar: Mahogany ridge Brewery and Grill Also Best Happy Hour off the Mountain; second place Best Cocktails A ski town needs its beer, and Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill has been supplying such suds for 18 years. “The craft brewing industry wasn’t just a fad,” Mahogany owner Charlie Noble says. “It’s something people look for.” The Alpenglow beer is a year-round locals’ favorite. During the summer, Noble brews his cherry ale using 242 pounds of cherries. Located at Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue, the bar rated No. 1 by Best of the Boat voters is known for more than its beer. It has one of the best happy hours in town, featuring halfpriced drinks and a menu packed with $1 tapas. Aside from the happy hour tapas, Mahogany has a diverse menu that includes classic pub burgers, ahi tuna and buffalo steaks. The bar also is designed to encourage socializing with large tables that make it easy for sports teams to celebrate their victories. “We’re proud of what we’re doing,” Noble says.

2. Carl’s Tavern

Six months after opening, Carl’s Tavern already has made a name for itself. “We always said from Day One that locals will dictate what they want from us,” says Noella Kelley, who owns the bar and restaurant with her husband, Collin. Named after Carl Howelsen, the man who brought skiing to Steamboat, the establishment at Yampa and Seventh streets in the Howelsen Place building carries more than 70 types of whiskey and introduced beers from Denver’s Great Divide Brewing and Boulder’s Avery Brewing Co. to town. Seats around the large, circular bar allow people to easily socialize or watch the day’s games on HDTVs. The bar was a hotspot during the NFL football season on Sundays when it offered $2 drafts and 50-cent wings all day. “Our wings are a big draw because they’re not frozen and are always fresh,” Kelley says. Carl’s hosts live music, typically with bluegrass on Wednesdays, jazz on Fridays and a featured band Saturdays. It also hosts a killer happy hour daily from 4 to 6 p.m. with $2 oysters, 50 cent wings, $1 PBRs and $2 draft beers. No wonder it’s off to such a fast, high-flying start.

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3. Sunpie’s Bistro

Sunpie’s Bistro is where even the locals go to feel like locals. New Orleans transplants Colleen and Mike Miller didn’t open the bar in 2005 with the intention of pleasing everyone. “At least you know when you hit the door if it’s going to be your type of place,” Mike says. The Millers modeled the bar that fronts the Yampa River after their favorite New Orleans neighborhood bars. “The kind of place where you didn’t think you were being charged double while all the guys around you were drinking for free,” he adds. Every inch of open space is covered with seven years’ worth of photos and memorabilia, including the encased cow pie trophies earned by the local rugby team during the annual Cow Pie Classic tournament. The bar’s signature cocktail is the hurricane, sometimes referred to as a “slurricane” by locals. “Everybody likes the hurricane because they’re super strong,” Mike says. The Millers proudly have kept their drink prices the same since 2008. Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. when drinks are $1 cheaper. Drinks on Sunday are two-for-one from 8 p.m. until close. The food menu is loaded with authentic New Orleans eats such as the Cochon de Lait pork sandwich smothered in gravy and french fries. Just don’t be surprised if a friend steals a fry or two.


Best Caterer: The Drunken Onion Get & Go Kitchen Also third place Best Lunch, grab and go MaTT STenSlanD

Whether his customers are picking up blackened chicken with lemon chive aioli and grilled asparagus to heat up at home or hiring his catering services, Ben Stroock says The Drunken Onion Get & Go Kitchen doesn’t have a specialty. “We specialize in creating the perfect menu for each individual event,” he says. Apparently, it’s a formula that works, because the caterer picked up top honors for the second consecutive year. Stroock, who moved to Steamboat in 1993, cut his teeth in several Steamboat restaurants after graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. After his restaurant, The Main Dish, closed, Stroock says he wanted to do something other than continue working the late nights required of a restaurant chef and spend more time with his family. He had been working on an idea for several years when he opened The Drunken Onion in June 2008, but Stroock says that idea quickly evolved. “My original concept was take-away catering, not full-service catering,” he says. “But people asked that I do it, so I kept with it.” Stroock’s services range from formal full-service catering to casual pickup and go. In addition to serving a variety of frozen and chilled items that change by season, he also offers daily soup and sandwich specials and a small sit-down area for lunch. Whatever service his customers choose, Stroock says they’ll get his true specialty, which is “professionalism and the highest What’ll it Be? Ben Stroock holding court at the counter. quality of food.”

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Best Italian: Mambo Italiano Also third place Best Server

SCoTT franz

The specials at Mambo Italiano make owner Andrew George’s mouth water. “Every night, our chef is blowing people away with her specials,” George says. “They’ve just been awesome.” Hannah Hopkins moved from Putnam County, N.Y., to take the head chef job at Mambo in August. Her noted creations include lamb Bolognese, homemade gnocchi and crabstuffed sole. Hopkins says she owned a global fare restaurant in New York and her food has a European influence that draws from her Sicilian family background. “But now I’m an Italian cook,” she says. George, who five years ago took the reins of the popular Italian restaurant downtown, says in addition to daily specials, the restaurant thrives on its staff. “Everyone who works here is really good family, and we all work hard together,” he says. “We share a common goal. Their problems are my problems, and my problems are theirs.” Of course, with a belly full of Italian food, be it meatball Salvatore, Pollo con Formaggio or succulent pizza, any problems you might have ’o Sole Mio: When it comes to Italian, Mambo Italiano is making all the right moves. melt away just like the food in your mouth.

famous ld r o w e h t Home of roll Serving sc cinnamon rumptious meals for over 20 ye ars Open 7am - 3pm Monday Saturday 7am- 1pm Sunday

Serving dinner 4pm - 9pm in the winter and summer

Located on Lincoln Avenue between 6th & 7th º Steamboat Springs, CO º 970-879-2483 50 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

Open 7 Nights • Torian Plum Plaza • Reservations Invited 970.871. 0508 •

Thanks for voting!

5th Street Market & Deli 435 Lincoln ave. • 871.1318 • 5Thstreetmarketanddeli.Com Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best hot Dog: The hungry Dog


Also second place Best Fast Food

Doggone Good: The hungry Dog owner Brad Somers offering up another frank.

Exceptional Italian Fare

Brad Somers knows hot dogs. This year’s wiener winner The Hungry Dog is voted hands-down the favorite dog in town. “Steamboat’s a great hot dog town,” says seven-year local Somers, who opened The Hungry Dog in October 2010. “Our hot dogs are 100 percent beef, we’re in a great location, and we’re open late.” The secret, he says, is in the meat, with his dogs made from 100 percent Vienna beef. Add to this the fact he grew up in the hot dog hotbed of Chicago, and you get a welcome addition to Steamboat’s eatery scene. The Hungry Dog’s best seller is the Chicago-style dog ($3.75), which comes on a poppy seed bun with mustard, green relish, onion, tomato, sport peppers, a pickle and celery salt. The signature Hungry Dog ($6.75) — two foot-longs with chili, cheese, sour cream and onions — is also a top-seller, as is the sauerkraut- and mustard-covered New York. In all, Somers slings 15 dog styles from around the world, including elk, veggie, corn and turkey — enough to satisfy every dog connoisseur under the sun. “I try to keep it affordable,” says Somers, who in addition to running his stand at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue opened a venue on the mountain this year. “The key is that they’re all beef, so they taste great and are good for refueling those lost carbs.” Perhaps no one knows this better than Carson Harper, winner of last year’s hot dog eating contest. Harper wolfed down six Vienna beef dogs in five minutes to take home top dog honors.

* Great Wines * Relaxed Atmosphere

(970) 879-9010 • 1106 Lincoln Ave • Downtown, Steamboat Springs Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Complete Best of the Boat Dining & Drinking results Best Après Ski on the Mountain

1. Slopeside Grill 2. T Bar 3. The Tugboat Grill & Pub

Best Asian

1. Noodles & More Saigon Cafe 2. Saketumi 3. Sambi

Best Bakery

1. Chocolate Soup Pastry Kitchen 2. Milk Run Donut Cafe 3. Winona’s

Best Bar

1. Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill 2. Carl’s Tavern 3. Sunpie’s Bistro

Best Bartender

Best Children’s Menu

1. Johnny B. Good’s Diner 2. Rex’s American Grill & Bar 3. Freshies

Best Cocktails

Best Hot Dog

Best Coffee Shop

Best Italian

1. Steaming Bean Coffee Co. 2. MountainBrew 3. Starbucks

Best Place to Dance

1. The Tugboat Grill & Pub 2. The Tap House Sports Grill 3. Old Town Pub

Best Delicatessen

Best Bloody Mary

1. Rex’s American Grill & Bar 2. Johnny B. Good’s Diner 3. Ore House at Pine Grove

Best Breakfast, grab and go 1. Colorado Bagel Co. 2. Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee 3. Backcountry Provisions

Best Breakfast, sit down 1. Creekside Cafe & Grill 2. Freshies 3. Winona’s

Best Burrito

1. Azteca Taqueria 2. Fiesta Jalisco 3. Qdoba

Best Catering Service

1. The Drunken Onion Get & Go Kitchen 2. Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co. 3. Marno’s Custom Catering

Best Chef

1. Kate Rench, Cafe Diva 2. Brian Vaughn, bistro c.v. 3. Vicki Connacher, Rex’s American Grill & Bar

1. Paul Underwood and Beth Provo-Hanlen, Cafe Diva 2. Katy Vaughn, bistro c.v. 3. Shauna Hay, Sweetwater Grill

1. Sweetwater Grill 2. Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill 3. bistro c.v. 3. Harwigs/L’Apogee

1. Tod “JJ” Johnson, Laundry 2. Jennie Tollison, Sweetwater Grill and Slopeside Grill 3. Richard “Gooch” Shine, Sunpie’s Bistro 1. Creekside Cafe & Grill 2. Ragnar’s 3. Freshies

Best Host/Hostess

1. Backcountry Provisions 2. Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co. 3. 5th Street Market and Deli

Best Family Restaurant

Best Fast Food

1. Qdoba 2. The Hungry Dog 3. Subway

Best Fine Dining

1. Cafe Diva 2. bistro c.v. 3. Harwigs/L’Apogee

Best French Fries

1. Double Z Bar & BBQ 2. Rex’s American Grill & Bar 3. Big House Burgers and Bottle Cap Bar

Best Hamburger

1. Big House Burgers and Bottle Cap Bar 2. Double Z Bar & BBQ 3. Rex’s American Grill & Bar

Best Happy Hour off the Mountain

1. Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill 2. Sweetwater Grill 3. Carl’s Tavern

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1. The Hungry Dog 2. Big House Burgers and Bottle Cap Bar 3. The Tap House Sports Grill

1. Mambo Italiano 2. Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner 3. Riggio’s Ristorante

Best Lunch, grab and go 1. Backcountry Provisions 2. Azteca Taqueria 3. The Drunken Onion Get & Go Kitchen

Best Lunch, sit down 1. Freshies 2. Creekside Cafe & Grill 3. Winona’s

Best Margarita

1. Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant 2. Cantina Mexican Restaurant 3. Fiesta Jalisco

Best Mexican

1. Fiesta Jalisco 2. Cantina Mexican Restaurant 3. Tequila’s

Best Music Venue

1. The Tugboat Grill & Pub 2. Sweetwater Grill 3. Old Town Pub

Best Outdoor Dining 1. Sweetwater Grill 2. Sunpie’s Bistro 3. Slopeside Grill

Best Pizza

1. Brooklynn’s Pizzeria 2. Soda Creek Pizza 3. Blue Sage Pizza

Best Ribs

1. Double Z Bar & BBQ 2. Steamboat Smokehouse 3. Ore House at Pine Grove

Best Salads

1. Freshies 2. Creekside Cafe & Grill 3. Ore House at Pine Grove

Best Sandwich

1. Backcountry Provisions 2. Freshies 3. Creekside Cafe & Grill

Best Seafood

1. Steamboat Meat & Seafood Co. 2. Cafe Diva 3. Saketumi

Best Server

1. Daryl Newcomb, Cafe Diva 2. Kenny Pitts, Rex’s American Grill & Bar 3. Karen Jimmerson, Mambo Italiano

Best Service

1. Cafe Diva 2. bistro c.v. 3. Rex’s American Grill & Bar

Best Steak

1. Ore House at Pine Grove 2. Cafe Diva 3. 8th Street Steakhouse

Best Sushi

1. Saketumi 2. Noodles & More Saigon Cafe 3. Spostas Sushi

Most Vegetarian Friendly 1. Bamboo Market 2. Freshies 3. Healthy Solutions

Best View

1. Hazie’s 2. Sweetwater Grill 3. Cottonwood Grill

Best Place to Watch the Game 1. The Tap House Sports Grill 2. Carl’s Tavern 3. Slopeside Grill

Best Wine List

1. Cafe Diva 2. Harwigs/L’Apogee 3. bistro c.v.

Best Wings

1. The Tap House Sports Grill 2. Steamboat Smokehouse 3. Double Z Bar & BBQ

ComE ExPlorE WIth Us! Yampatika’s summer camp provides children with hands-on opportunities to explore their natural surroundings in a fun, safe and professional atmosphere. All camps take place at Yampatika’s Environmental Learning Center and on nearby public lands. • Wilderness Pioneers I Ages 12-14 (w/ a one night backpacking trip) Dates: June 26-29, July 10-13 • Wilderness Pioneers II Ages 12-14 (w/a two night backpacking trip) Dates: July 24 -27, August 7-10 • Junior Naturalist Camp Ages 9-11 (w/ a one night camping trip) Dates: June 18-22, July 2-6, July 16-20, July 30-Aug 3 • Nature Explores Camp Ages 7&8 Dates: June 25-29, July 9-13, July 23-27, August 6-10 • Yampatykes Ages 5&6 Dates: June 18-22, July 2-6, July 16-20, July 30-Aug 3

Yampatika also offers weekly adult education programs! Visit our website or call 970-871-9151 for program descriptions & dates Yampatika is a permitee of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and an EOE

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MaTT STenSlanD


part from recreation, our town revolves around real estate. After all, everyone who lives here, as well as those who visit, has to have a roof overhead when they’re not out adventuring. This has spawned one of the valley’s biggest industries, running the gamut from real estate and mortgage brokers to builders, architects, plumbers, tilers, title companies, property managers and more. Like a trout slurping a dry fly on the Yampa, certain businesses and professionals rise to the top of this niche, according to our voters. You’ll find some of the Best of the Boat highlighted in the following pages.

Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best real Estate Broker: Darrin Fryer

G’day, Mate: for Darrin fryer, it’s all about making clients happy.

DArrin fryer

Broker Darrin Fryer’s wife works in public relations, but he didn’t need any help from her to receive this year’s top real estate agent honors; his actions were all the promotion he needed. “I’m flabbergasted,” he says. “I did absolutely zero amount of promoting on my end for it. I think word just got out.” Fryer, 42, an Australian who moved to Steamboat in 2002 after a brief TV production career in Connecticut, credits his standing in Steamboat with being straightforward rather than pressing to make a sale. “I try to be really honest with people,” he says. “I’ve probably talked more people out of buying something than I’ve talked them into it.” Whatever it is, it’s working. Joining Prudential Steamboat Realty in 2007 after building and renovating homes here for five years, Fryer was the company’s top producer in 2010, and that’s with only 3 1/2 years of experience. After switching to a team format in 2011, his team — consisting of two assistants and a buying broker — topped the list. “My experience fixing up properties gives me a professional edge,” he says. “I gained a lot of experience buying, selling, building and designing, which lets me put myself in my clients’ shoes. I treat contract negotiation and marketing like it was my own deal, not just a transaction for someone. It’s very personal for me.” He’s as busy on the home front as he is selling homes, raising twin 8-year-old boys, Jaxson and Jaydon, with his wife, Shari, also from Australia. Between parenting and showing property, you also can find him snowboarding or racing mountain bikes — which, he says, has proven a good barometer for sales. “It’s weird, but if I’m doing well racing, I’m usually not doing too well with real estate,” he says. “And when I’m not doing well racing, I’m usually doing pretty good at work.”

Transforming Plain Places into Beautiful Spaces Contemporary to Old World • Individual Pieces to Entire Houses • Artistically Personalize Your Home 970-846-9821

Lee Gamble

Copper Ridge Studio Open by Appointment

58 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012


Best Mortgage Broker: Josh Kagan, Cornerstone Mortgage Co. The mortgage business hasn’t exactly been booming as of late, but that hasn’t stopped Josh Kagan, of Steamboat’s Cornerstone Mortgage Co. branch, from continuing to service clients in the Yampa Valley — and actually grow in the process. “Purchases are actually up for us,” he says. “Last year was significantly better than 2010. There have been a lot of distressed and short sales lately.” Cornerstone, which funds and underwrites its own loans, can handle them all. With its Colorado headquarters in Fort Collins and main headquarters in Houston, its Steamboat office, led by Kagan, has been leading the charge locally since April 2010, benefiting from Kagan’s 10 years with Yampa Valley Mortgage beforehand. “It’s challenging but exciting times,” says Kagan, who has two kids, Colin, 7, and Kyle, 10. “Our management team has the ability to make exceptions to lend on what otherwise can be challenging loans.” how low Can you Go? Mortgage master Josh kagan, of Steamboat’s Cornerstone Mortgage Co.

Residential, Remodels, Additions, Commercial...We Do It All Building green since 1980. • 970-879-7529 • PO Box 772971, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Irene Nelson, owner of Irene Nelson Interiors, practices what she preaches. Her home is filled with Norwegian antiques and art that might not work for others but do for her. Simply put, she knows how to make a house a home. “My house has nothing to do with what I would do for someone else,” says Nelson, 76, who moved to Steamboat in 1970. “It’s what I’d do for me.” The key, she says, is finding something that identifies someone’s persona. She looks at everything from what clients own that’s meaningful to them to their typical dinner routines. “I look for clues that indicate their interests and style,” she says. “I try to make them not feel pressured by current fads but encourage what’s important to them.” One example is a client who spent her whole life working as a lifeguard. “The sea was very important to her, so we used blues and drift-colored finishes,” she says. Another is an office design for a yoga and Buddhism aficionado. “It has an Asian influence, with papiermâchéd countertops adorned with calligraphy,” she says. “It’s unique, sustainable and captures the interests of the client.” Nelson also makes a point of knowing what’s out there, traveling to trade shows and studying the latest design magazines. “I believe in having a bazillion resources to draw upon,” she says. “I’m a Gemini. I try not to force things on people but rather encourage them to be individualistic.” And even with five grandchildren, a business, home and garden of her own to tend, she’s not slowing down. Practicing what she preaches, you’ll likely find her loading furniture into her yellow moving van behind her office on Oak Street.

John f. ruSSell

Best Interior Designer: Irene Nelson Interiors

Goodnight, Irene: Irene nelson, icon of interior design.

The Fine ArT OF CAbineT Design

special bath and gift items

Colorado natural Wines

Unique bed Linens|Sundance Plaza | 445 Anglers Drive, Steamboat Springs| 970.879.7916

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Makeover artist: ryan radway, of zie Builders, is zie best in zie Boat. gerBer BerenD DeSign BuilD

John f. ruSSell

No, it’s not a play on some German accent. The name “Zie” comes from owner Ryan Radway’s middle name, Kenzie. But that’s not to say that the town’s Best General Contractor doesn’t practice German-like craftsmanship. “If you’re fair to your clients, they’ll pass your name along, and you’ll do well,” says Radway, 38, who founded his company in 2008 after moving to town in 2001 with a construction management degree from Colorado State University. “I’m all about making our clients happy.” With as many as 12 employees during its heyday, Zie has done everything from 10,000-square-foot custom homes on the mountain to simple bathroom renovations. Of course, if he had his druthers, he’d spend his time building houses from the ground up. “It’s great to see a place transform into something both you and the client are proud of,” says Radway, who’s equally proud of his daughters Kaelyn, 6, and Kenzie, 8, who he raises with wife, Kim. “I love giving places a total makeover.”

John f. ruSSell

Best General Contractor: zie Builders

family affair: Sarah and Tom fox, of fox Construction, stand in front of the Steamboat Springs Community Center, which the company built.

GBDB (say that 10 times fast) specializes in design-build projects large and small throughout the yampa Valley.

2. Fox Construction

3. Gerber Berend Design Build

For Fox Construction, it’s all in the family. Founded by Tom and Karen Fox in 1980, and with daughter Sarah, 29, now serving as vice president, the company specializes in custom homes, additions and commercial properties, with any important decisions sometimes settled over the dinner table. Employing 20 to 50 employees at any given time, the company relies on repeat business as much as it does the resort market. “We’re one of the most diverse construction companies in town,” says Sarah, a LEED accredited professional. “We also develop strong relationships with our clients and get a lot of repeat customers.” The company has completed commercial buildings for Cook Chevrolet and Subaru, Centennial Hall, Cugino’s Pizzeria and Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, with residential projects ranging from properties in The Sanctuary to homes in Toponas. Throughout it all, Tom has kept his daughters — including Amy, 27, and Jessica, 22 — involved as much as possible. “We all learned how to swing a hammer pretty early,” Sarah says.

Combining forces is paying off for Gerber Berend Design Build, a company helping clients from blueprints to building. “We do the design and the build,” says builder Hans Berend, who partnered with architect Jeff Gerber in 2009. “It’s a much smoother process. The collaboration between the client, builder and designer starts at the very beginning, and we price it from the get-go so it doesn’t part with a client’s budget.” A father of two — son, Ben, 16, and daughter, Sabina, 14 — Berend ran a fishing shop before embarking in the construction business in 1998. Father to Maudie, 14, and twins Eli and Ivy, 11, Gerber ran a design-build company in Boulder for 10 years before moving to Steamboat. The two now employ seven workers and do everything from new builds to additions and remodels, with projects ranging from Tree Haus to The Sanctuary and Elkins Meadow. “We do a lot in Old Town, but you can find our projects in every neighborhood in Steamboat,” Berend says. “It’s been a great partnership.” Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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John f. ruSSell

Good Design Transcends Style: Joe Patrick robbins creating another happy customer.

John f. ruSSell

Joe Patrick Robbins is celebrating his 40th anniversary as a Steamboat architect, and he sticks to a motto that has served him well for four decades. “Good design transcends all styles,” says Robbins, whose two-man firm includes architect Brian Moravcik. “We take pride in listening to our clients rather than our own vision.” While it still has to be a good design that functions well, taking advantage of such things as sun, site and views, a house also has to be reflective of its owner, he adds. After passing through a more Western phase, he says he’s now involved in more contemporary designs. He recently completed a large house on the top of Dakota Ridge, another in the Elk River Valley and another in Big Valley Ranch. While’s he’s dabbled in out-of-state projects, he’s focused “almost exclusively on Steamboat and Routt County mountain homes.” “We’re intimately familiar with the unique attributes of our microclimate,” he says, adding that he limits his work load to six or so projects a year to give them the attention they deserve. He’s also happy with the clientele base he serves locally. “The clients here are great,” he says. “They’re very low key and down-home and aren’t building homes to show off. Their houses are built for good living.”

John f. ruSSell

Best Architect: Joe Patrick robbins

for Bill rangitsch, of Steamboat architectural associates, design is all about listening to clients.

helping the Community: Jan kaminski and ed Becker love projects that better life in the yampa Valley.

The Sanctuary, Walton Creek, Catamount Ranch, Elkins Meadows, Elk River — Bill Rangitsch, of Steamboat Architectural Associates, has designed houses at all these marquee homesites and more in a 28-year career in the Yampa Valley. “I work with and listen to clients to make their project unique to them,” he says. Founding the company in 1984 with partner Robert McHugh, Rangitsch’s firm now includes seven people, with projects running from high-end and mid-priced residential to infill commercial, including his office in Chief Plaza downtown. He also designed the Strings Music Pavilion, which he says “was a lot of fun and offered a lot of leeway in what we could do.” As for working in Steamboat, he says it’s about as good as it gets. “We get very interesting sites and clients here,” he says. “In places like Aspen, everyone wants to out-do each other. Here, everything’s a lot more understated.”

Founded in 1985, with its principals practicing locally since 1978, Mountain Architecture Design Group, including partners Ed Becker and Jan Kaminski and intern architect Chancie Keenan, specializes in custom single-family residences. It also designs rehabilitation projects as clients forsake ground-up construction in favor of improving existing properties. “There’s definitely more of that going on these days,” Kaminski says. “People are finding deals on bankowned properties and fixing them up how they like them.” The company also specializes in historic preservation — refurbishing the Lyon Drug Store and Wild Horse Gallery buildings and structures at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp — as well as municipal and grant-funded projects. It’s currently working on a Housing and Urban Development-sponsored, eightapartment project for Horizons Specialized Services. “The projects we like the most are the socially conscious ones,” Kaminski says. “I love doing something positive for the community.”

2. Bill rangitsch, Steamboat Architectural Associates 3. Jan Kaminski, Mountain Architecture Design Group

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Best Plumber: Ken roche, Total Service PhD John f. ruSSell

Whether it’s a leaky pipe or plumbing an entire house, Total Service PHD, spearheaded by Ken Roche, tops the town’s plumber list for the second year in a row. Roche moved to Steamboat from Amber, N.Y., in 1992, founding Roche Plumbing and Heating in 1994. Eighteen years of local experience has helped him secure a client base ranging from residential to resort. “We offer highly diversified services, including plumbing, heating, sewer and drain,” says Roche. “That’s what has helped us be successful all these years.” He also says he wouldn’t change his work location for the world. “Steamboat is a great place to work,” says Roche, also an avid fisherman, dirt biker and woodworker. “The people are super friendly.”

John f. ruSSell

Jeff’S pluMBing

Jack of all Trades: ken roche, of Total Service PhD, offers a wealth of home-improvement services.

Calling a Spade a Spade: “I answer the phone and show up,” says Phil Taber, of Taber Plumbing & heating.

35 years and Counting: Jeff herfurtner, of Jeff’s Plumbing, ready to lend a helping hand.


3. Jeff herfurtner, Jeff’s Plumbing

Phil Taber, Taber Plumbing & heating

Phil Taber, of Taber Plumbing & Heating, has seen some ebbs and flows, and not just from the water he pipes. At one point, he had as many as 26 employees working on such projects as Howelsen Place and Alpen Glow. Now, he’s down to four, which includes his wife, Lori, and is perhaps even happier. “We still make about the same amount of money but with the headaches cut in half,” says Taber, who moved here in 1992 after traveling the country as a union plumber. Founding his company in 1997, Taber does it all but specializes in high-end residential and commercial work — he recently did the bathrooms at the new stage in Gondola Square as well as Walgreens. And he sticks to his guns about offering great service at a fair price. That, and actually appearing when he’s supposed to. “It’s extremely competitive out there,” says Taber, also an avid dirt biker who has ridden the Baja Enduro course. “But I answer the phone and show up.”

Clients might not spell Jeff Herfurtner’s name right, but they certainly get the right service from his plumbing and heating company. Herfurtner, 59, a proud grandpa to Issac, 3, and newborn Eloise, has been in business in Steamboat since 1977, focusing primarily on residential work. Capably weathering the recent construction downtick, he runs the business with his wife, Tammy, specializing in everything from plumbing to hydronic heating. “I try to be very conscientious,” he says. “I’ve known others who have tried to sell people things they don’t need or replace things they don’t need, and I’m not like that.”

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John f. ruSSell

Best Carpenter: Adam richey, richey Construction

Measure Twice, Cut once: adam richey making another clean cut for a client.

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Hanging his own shingle, so to speak, for just five years, Adam Richey, 31, already has made a name for himself in the local carpentry crowd. Word-of-mouth spreads quickly when you do good work. “I pretty much do it all,” says Richey, who moved here from Indiana in 2002 and worked for Colorado Joint Ventures for five years before launching out on his own. “If I could pick and choose, I’d do finish and custom work, but right now, I’m doing a lot of remodels and smaller projects.” When not improving people’s homes, Richey, who lives here with wife, Heather, can be found snowboarding and dirt biking throughout Routt County without any plans to swing his hammer anywhere else. “Steamboat is a beautiful place to live, work and start a family,” says Richey, whose handiwork from his earlier days can be found at Angler’s Retreat. “Plus, the client base is more laid back than you find in other places.”


Best real Estate Agency: Prudential Steamboat realty PruDenTIal STeaMBoaT realTy

In real estate, they say it’s location, location, location. If that’s the case, Prudential Steamboat Realty has to be happy with its location atop the list as town’s Best Real Estate Agency. “Our goal is to provide the highest level of customer satisfaction we can for local real estate buyers and sellers,” says co-owner Cam Boyd. “And internally, we strive to provide a fun, healthy and productive atmosphere for our agents.” Founded in 1988 and co-owned by broker/owners Boyd and Pam Vanatta for the past 12 years, the company has grown to include 61 broker associates and 10 administrative staff, with corporate offices housed in a 10,000-square-foot building at 610 Marketplace Plaza. Representing such developments as Sidney Peak, The Olympian, Howelsen Place, Stonewood, The Sanctuary and Catamount Ranch & Club, it’s also Steamboat’s largest real estate company, eclipsing $250 million in sales in 2011. But it’s as active in the community as it is in real estate transactions. Every year, it sponsors the Sunshine Kids program that brings children with cancer to Steamboat for a week of fun, and gives frequently to other charities such as United Way and CASA, which provides advocates for abused and neglected children. “We participate in a lot of functions and support many charitable organizations,” Boyd says, adding that the Tour de Steamboat ride is the primary fundraiser for the Sunshine Kids’ annual ski trip to Steamboat. “Steamboat is just a great place to both work and live. It has small-town living with great schools, the outdoors at admirable agency: Pam Vanatta and Cam Boyd, of Prudential Steamboat realty, your fingertips and the friendliest people on the planet.” pride themselves on giving back to the community.

Michelle Diehl

Broker Associate, GRI

Your REALTOR Your Steamboat Your Home

970.846.1086 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Steamboat’s real Estate report Card: A comparison to other resort markets


uite often, you can get so wrapped up in your own day-to-day dealings that trends on a broader scale get overlooked. Real estate activity has continued to improve in Steamboat Springs, but how does Steamboat compare to other top-tier resorts? Here’s an interesting look at that question, with surprising results. Data compiled by the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service for 2011 showed 725 transactions (up 25 percent from 2010) and 1,980 listings (down 9 percent) yielding a 37 percent annual absorption rate. This means it takes 33 months for a typical property to sell. Total dollar volume was $345 million (up 7 percent) and the average sales price was $475,449 (down 15 percent).

The resorts We selected 10 resort areas, which include Aspen, Jackson Hole, Park City, Steamboat, Summit County (Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone), Sun Valley, Telluride, Vail, Whistler and Winter Park because of similarities in market size, resort services, facilities, age and data availability. We also gathered seven years of past performance to compare against 2011.

Data computation The resorts were ranked based on how 2011 fared against seven-year averages in the five categories listed. Furthermore, as some categories are more meaningful than others (absorption rate is more telling of market health than Doug Labor is the dollar volume, for exbroker/owner of Buyer’s ample), more weight Resource Real Estate. is given to those categories. As an example, the resort taking first place (10 points) for absorption rate (five multiplier) will receive a total of 50 points, but a resort taking first place for dollar volume (one multiplier) would only receive 10 points. For the purpose of this analysis, the resort with the highest total score shall be deemed to have the best grade for the 2011 Rocky Mountain ski resort real estate market.

“Steamboat’s grade on its real estate report card is slightly behind the class curve but still in harmony.” Market share by price range

Annual transactions

(Steamboat Springs only)


ne of the most striking findings was that the average price in Vail dropped from $1,166,331 in 2010 to $505,430 in 2011. That’s a drop of 57 percent. Aspen also saw a decrease (but not nearly as dramatic) from $3,020,609 to $2,888,605 (down 4 percent). Steamboat’s average price dropped by 15 percent ($558,063 to $475,574). The percentage of purchases under $200,000 in Steamboat also made up much more of the market in 2011 than 2010. One would assume a similar trend in most other markets, but Vail’s is quite extreme. From 2009 to 2011, Steamboat and Winter Park have seen the least average price fluctuations, and the dollarper-square-foot values for single-family residential homes in Steamboat dropped only 9 percent in that same time period.

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This study shows a year-over-year increase in transactions at all 10 ski resort communities from the low point of 2009. As opposed to all other areas, transactions in Steamboat and Whistler still increased in 2007, whereas all other areas peaked earlier. Whistler was hosting the Winter Olympics in 2010, which also could be the reason they earned first place here and possibly the reason Park City took third from playing Olympic host in 2002. The reason Steamboat’s transaction numbers extended into 2007 was most likely because of the momentum it received from the revitalization of the base area, which also could position itself to leapfrog over other markets once base area construction resumes.

Average purchase price

With the exception of Telluride, Whistler and Park City, average purchase prices peaked in 2008. All resort prices dropped in 2009, and the five that took the hardest hits saw some recovery in 2010. All fell again in 2011, with Vail taking the greatest decline. Aspen continues to be moving further away from the pack in property values.

Ski resort real estate rankings for 2011

Pictured above: HunterDouglas Silhouette Window Shadings

And the winner is ... Whistler outscored the competition with a total point value of 124 (out of a possible 150). In 2011 Whistler enjoyed 537 transactions (second best) among 758 listings (fourth), representing a 71 percent absorption rate (second). The increase in sales may have been from the decrease in average price, which dropped 12 percent from its seven-year average (Steamboat’s average price dropped 4 percent). Completing the top four spots and earning honor roll status were Summit County (117 points), Park City (114) and Winter Park (101). Steamboat (61) took seventh place out of the 10, with Sun Valley and Aspen tying (60) and Vail (35) earning the worst performance. What impaired the Steamboat market most is its high number of listings. With 1,980 properties for sale at the end of 2011, and with a seven-year average of 1,461, it realized a 36 percent inventory increase compared with the past seven-year average. This inventory increase also negatively influenced the 2011 absorption rate to 37 percent (eighth of 10), the demand versus supply marker. Steamboat’s highest finish was in its 2011 average price, where it went down 4 percent. However, that small decrease may have stalled the absorption rate. Steamboat’s grade on its real estate report card is slightly behind the class curve but still in harmony. Externally, certain factors can help positively influence the market, such as a restart of base area revitalization, ski area expansion, new development projects and increasing summer tourism — most of which likely won’t happen until the market begins to improve. Internally, however, transactions are on an upward trend, but more inventory needs to be trimmed to make the honor roll. This can be accomplished by sellers pulling properties off the market (unlikely) or by more buyers entering the market. For the latter to occur, sellers will have to drop prices or buyers will have to suspect the market is at, near or past its bottom. Doug Labor (GRI, RRP, ABR, ABRM, CEBA, e-PRO) has more than 29 years of real estate experience, including executive level positions at some of the country’s largest ski/golf resort communities. Learn more at ■

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reAL eStAte

and They lived happily ever after: last year’s $3.47 million sale of the 10,492-square-foot Covered Bridge house in Catamount ranch was a landmark sale in the yampa Valley.

Market, heal Thyself real estate sales gaining steam in the Year of the Dragon


o the local real estate market made it out of the Year of the Rabbit and into the Year of the Dragon. And while sales didn’t exactly reproduce like hares last year, they’re gaining some of the dragon’s steam as we head into 2012. Still, there are a few chinks in the armor. It would be unreasonable to chronicle the past 15 months in the Steamboat Springs real estate market without noting that for the second straight year, it saw more than 300 foreclosure filings. But it’s also worth noting that in 2010 and 2011, hundreds of hard-working Routt County households have been able to purchase a home for prices they once thought they’d never see again. Land Title Guarantee Co. reported in January that during 2011, 172 people purchased homes — including single-family, condos and townhomes — for less than $200,000. Another 114 purchased homes priced at $200,000 to $300,000. Combined, those 286 homes accounted for 48 percent of all housing units sold here in 2011. And it’s not just good news for working

families; those raw statistics signal the fact that distressed properties here are being absorbed at a lively clip. So although it will be at least another year before we see a return to normal annual appreciation of 3 percent or more, Colorado Group Realty’s Chris Paoli says, there is ample reason to believe this market will continue to heal itself in entry-level price points. Veteran Steamboat Realtor Steve Downs, of Steamboat Village Brokers, says he had the busiest January he’d had in four years, showing property and working with longtime Steamboat residents on new listings. Those local Steamboat property owners and their willingness to test the market again, though they don’t necessarily need to sell, seem to be signaling rising confidence in the market, Downs adds. Downs has represented a seller or a buyer in more than 600 transactions during his 33-year real estate career here. There are fewer buyers than there once were, and he is quick to acknowledge that buyers are Story by Tom Ross ❘ Photo by Rod Hanna

68 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

looking for bargains. But he’s encouraged by the number of inquiries he’s received in the first quarter of the year. “It’s the precursor to contract writing and buying and selling this spring,” Downs says. “I’ve seen a notable uptick in activity in a time of the year that very little typically happens — it’s after the holidays, it’s winter, and it’s tax time, but there’s pent-up everything in the market.” It’s also important to call out statistics that confirm Steamboat still is attractive to highnet-worth individuals who tend not to make purchases purely on emotional motives. In 2011, Land Title’s Stan Urban points out, there were 78 sales of homes priced at $1 million or greater. The price point between $1 million and $1.5 million was the busiest at 40 sales as house hunters insisted on value purchases. But there also were 29 sales from $1.5 million to $2.5 million. Perhaps the biggest story of 2011 was the restructuring of the debt and resulting new pricing structure at two of Steamboat’s biggest multifamily projects that rose during

hOMES the unprecedented boom from 2005 to 2007: One Steamboat Place and Trailhead Lodge. Original development principals at both properties insisted from the beginning that the filing of foreclosure proceedings on the unpaid balance of construction loans ($100 million in the case of One Steamboat Place) was part of the process of getting that debt restructured so that the high-end vacation condominiums at both projects could be priced competitively in a greatly changed market. It turned out just as they predicted. There have been notable closings of whole-ownership units at both projects since summer, but the pace of sales suggests there is much work still to be done in attracting new prospects. However, for the broader market, what stood out at year’s end was the fact Trailhead Lodge and One Steamboat Place appear to have viable homeowners associations and have found strong demand for short-term rentals that have attracted a new demographic of vacationers to Steamboat,

and both are well-managed. The same can be said about Edgemont. Project developer Atira Group could make the case that its success story was the biggest of 2011. Atira was able to announce in April that the $2.4 million sale of a threebedroom condo allowed it to retire the $45 million construction debt on its building adjacent to the ski slopes. And Edgemont saw a landmark sale Dec. 30, when a sprawling penthouse condo sold for $2.82 million. Atira, recognizing the demand for large, managed vacation homes, has taken the first step to getting back into the development process early this year by beginning pre-sales on four new townhome units representing the next phase of its pre-approved development. Construction could begin in late summer or early fall if there is sufficient interest in the units, which will be just more than 3,000 square feet and priced at about $2.4 million. Cut into a south-facing hillside, the townhomes each would have their own elevators.

Perhaps the biggest story of 2011 was the restructuring of the debt and resulting new pricing structure at two of Steamboat’s biggest multifamily projects

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Walkable downtown There also was renewed interest in condominiums between Lincoln Avenue and Yampa Street downtown. In 2011, The Victoria, which had been quiet in 2009 and 2010, woke up with three sales. Howelsen Place, which has contributed to a more vibrant commercial district with the addition of Carl’s Tavern and Quiksilver, also sold a two-bedroom condo in January for $693,500. If there was a landmark sale in the past 15 months, it was the sale (finally) of the Covered Bridge House in Catamount Ranch & Club. The 10,492-square-foot home with 10 bathrooms sold for $3.47 million cash. Listing Realtor Pam Vanatta, who had represented the seller off and on for eight of the 11-plus years it was on the market, called it a classic case of following the market down on a very desirable property that might have sold for millions more had it been priced more realistically in the beginning. The original asking price in 2000 was $9.9 million. Paoli, who represented the buyers, said they were members of a family with long-standing ties to Steamboat. Though it was a challenging year in real estate, there’s ample evidence Steamboat’s landscape and lifestyle continue to make it a desirable place to own property — even if it might not be the fairy tale landscape the year’s dragons inhabit. ■

We are excited to be the Best of the Boat! Thank you, Steamboat! Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Complete Best of the Boat homes & real Estate results Best Architect

1. Joe Patrick Robbins 2. Bill Rangitsch, Steamboat Architectural Associates 3. Jan Kaminski, Mountain Architecture Design Group

Best Bathroom Remodel Service 1. Bartolini Kitchen & Bath 2. Rustic Woodworks 3. Barb Stimson Cabinet Designs

Best Carpenter

1. Adam Richey, Richey Construction 2. Paul Hobson 3. Chris Rhodes, Soda Mountain Carpentry 3. Jim Comeau

Best Electrician

1. Greg Couchoud, Central Electric 2. Fred Grippa, Midwest Electric Systems 3. Geoff Coon, Coon Custom Electric

Best Fireplace and Wood Stove Service

1. Hot Stuff Hearth & Home 2. Mountain Home Stove & Fireplace 3. Steamboat Stoveworks

Best General Contractor

1. Zie Builders 2. Fox Construction 3. Gerber Berend Design Build

Best Interior Designer

Best Mortgage Broker

1. Josh Kagan, Cornerstone Mortgage 2. Kathryn Pedersen, Yampa Valley Bank 3. Holly Rogers, Yampa Valley Bank

1. Irene Nelson, Irene Nelson Interiors 2. Suzy Lord, Interior Concepts 3. Valerie Stafford and Bruce Caplowe, Rumor Design

Best Painting Service, indoor

Best Kitchen Remodel Service

Best Painting Service, outdoor

1. Barb Stimson Cabinet Designs 2. Bartolini Kitchen & Bath 3. Kitchen Perfection

Best Landscaping Service

1. Spiegel & Son Custom Painting and Finishing 2. Sloop Painting 3. Johnston Painting 1. Spiegel & Son Custom Painting and Finishing 2. Sloop Painting 3. Lawton Painting Co.

Best Plumber

1. Gecko Landscape & Design 2. The Lawn Lady 3. Kinnikinnick Lawn & Garden

1. Ken Roche, Total Service PHD 2. Phil Taber, Taber Plumbing & Heating 3. Jeff Herfurtner, Jeff’s Plumbing

Best Mason

Best Property Management Company

1. Jeff Kortas, Alpine Masonry 2. Fred Castaldo, Fred Castaldo Masonry 3. Rick Adams, Adams Masonry

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1. Steamboat Resorts 2. Mountain Resorts 3. Central Park Management

Best Real Estate Agency

1. Prudential Steamboat Realty 2. Colorado Group Realty 3. Steamboat Village Brokers

Best Real Estate Broker

1. Darrin Fryer, Prudential Steamboat Realty 2. Pam Vanatta, Prudential Steamboat Realty 3. Doug Labor, Buyer’s Resource Real Estate

Best Roofing Company

1. Tin Man Roofing & Home Improvement 2. Revelation Roofing of the Rockies 3. Wilson Roofing Division

Best Spa Technician

1. Precision Pools & Spas 2. Aqua Vita Spas 3. Pacific Spas & Pools

Best Tiler

1. Todd Pollert 2. Erik Feeley 3. Clark McCormick

Best Title Company

1. Land Title Guarantee Co. 2. Heritage Title Company 3. Stewart Title

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ANNIE’S home consignments “It’s never the same store twice!”

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Steamboat Style: Zirkel Trading offers apparel that makes you feel at home in the Yampa Valley.


et’s face it. Steamboat Springs doesn’t have any factory outlets or Cherry Creek malls or the glitz and glamour boutiques of Aspen or Vail. And that right there is likely why all of us live here. But there’s still plenty of shopping that’s as world class as our snowfall. From clothing stores and art galleries to children’s stores, secondhand emporiums, ski shops and more, stores exist from main street to the mountain for whatever need and urge you have. Sure, there’ll always be the need to venture elsewhere for that super sale or hard-to-find item, but the bulk of your list can be satisfied right here in Steamboat, accessible by foot, bike, car, skateboard and, as we discovered this fall, even horse.

Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best Gift Shop: All That Jazz SCoTT franz

With an expanded line of gifts to complement its longexisting rows of discs and vinyl, All That Jazz is rocking around the clock as strong as ever. When a box of merchandise arrives at the downtown store, owner Kim Haggarty and manager Joe Kboudi say it’s a bit like Christmas. “We love to open up the boxes and see exactly what we get to sell to our customers,” Haggarty says. From candoms (insulated beverage covers), cards and wine koozies to bacon bandages and designer clothing, Kboudi says All That Jazz is much more than a music store. “But we still have a strong customer base for music, especially because of the resurgence of vinyl,” he says. The pair describes the music and gift store as a onestop shop for all ages, from tweens to adults. Although local products still are a staple of its gift department, its owners also look far away from the Yampa Valley to please Steamboat shoppers. In January, Haggarty and Kboudi traveled to Dallas to examine and eventually select five new women’s clothing lines they’ll sell in the store. They’re also looking for more creative gifts to sell. “We’re always looking for more unique, fun, off-color gifts,” Kboudi says. “That’s the fun stuff.” Haggarty, who purchased the store from Kboudi in October, describes their business relationship as a “perfect marriage.” While there have been changes in merchandise, Kboudi says the essence and “good vibe” of the store remains. “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” he says. Jazzed up: all That Jazz owner kim haggarty with manager Joe kboudi.

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74 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

City Market in Your Neighborhood and Proudly Serving the Steamboat Community since 1987

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ShOPPING John f. ruSSell

Best Jewelry Store: hofmeister Personal Jewelers Running a jewelry store in Steamboat is a bit different from the way it is in more urban locales. “The joke in the store is that we specialize in bulletproof,” says Shirl Cox, who operates the store with her husband, Tom. “Women here wear jewelry to go skiing, rock climbing and mountain biking. They’re looking for things that will stand up to our Steamboat lifestyle.” Working out of a 2,500-square-foot retail space at 729 Lincoln Ave., the Coxes began operating the store in 2005 for owner Gary Hofmeister, who founded the business in Indiana in 1973 and opened the Steamboat location in 2000. Since then, they’ve found a formula that works in a mountain town. “Because we’re located in a ski town, we also sell more unusual things like black diamonds,” she adds. “We also do a lot of lower-profile settings — being able to take your gloves off easily is important here.” While the store stays busy through the summer with weddings, its peak ring season is around Christmas, which Cox says is the most popular time for engagements. They also make custom elk ivory jewelry in the fall for hunters and have an active jewelry recycling program. “You know, that jewelry you inherit from your grandmother that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing,” she says. “We turn it into something that you would wear.” As for any advice she’d impart to customers in a ski town, she keeps it simple: “We’re always telling people to be careful taking their gloves off on a chairlift.” Diamonds are a Girl’s Best friend: Shirl and Tom Cox hand in hand at hofmeister Personal Jewelers.

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like father, like Son: kris and Tod allen holding the reins at allen’s Clothing.


Steamboat Springs’ favorite men’s clothing store is no stranger to the business. Allen’s Clothing opened in 1949 to cater exclusively to men. Although the store has evolved throughout the years to selling sportswear, ski and snowboard apparel and women’s clothing, men’s clothing still is its specialty. They sell everything from suits to swimwear. “We like to think of ourselves as being mainstream Steamboat,” owner Tod Allen says. “We don’t try to be the high end or real low end. We like to sell to the average Steamboat person; that’s kind of our target.” Allen and his wife, Robin, own the store that his grandfather George started and his father, Bill, eventually took over. Their son Kris joined them full time this year as the fourth-generation family member to help run the store. The family focus works as this is the second year in a row Allen’s has received the award, edging out Zirkel Trading and Ski Haus.

John f. ruSSell

Best Men’s Clothing Store: Allen’s Clothing

Whatever Suits you: Steve and Denise hitchcock describe zirkel Trading wares as “upscale casual.”

2. zirkel Trading

After working in related industries for more than 20 years, owner Steve Hitchcock decided to open Zirkel Trading on Black Friday 2008. It’s paid off handsomely as the store earned second place in the men’s clothing category, thanks largely to a selection that most any man in town would covet. Hitchcock calls his selection “upscale casual” but says Zirkel offers an assortment to appeal to different men. “It seemed to be a niche that wasn’t being addressed in town,” he says. “There are a variety of choices for women, but there isn’t the same diversity of choices available for men.” Hitchcock says the assortment of clothing Zirkel Trading offers has changed throughout the years, having been refined by customers, but it still offers a little something for everyone.

78 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

When it comes to outfitting men, Ski haus offers “Steamboat-guy clothes.”

3. Ski haus

Ski Haus owner Rod Schrage bought the winter ski and summer bike shop with his father in 1969. Since then, he’s added different clothing throughout the years to meet the needs of Steamboat men with active lifestyles. He adds that being named one of town’s best is confirmation that Ski Haus is doing things right. “It means quite a bit to me because that’s one of my projects — trying to buy clothes that are Steamboat-guy clothes,” he says. “There’s a lot of stuff out there that the average Steamboat guy won’t wear. We try to buy clothes that they will wear.”

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Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best Pet Supply Store: Paws ’N Claws ’N Things

SCoTT franz

Dave and Jodi Terranova know dogs and cats can be picky eaters. With about 15 types of dog and cat foods lining the shelves of their Paws ’N Claws ’N Things store in Sundance Plaza, they usually can offer the right bag of food for any animal’s diet. If not, there’s always the fully stocked “dog deli.” “We try to solve a lot of issues here,” Dave Terranova says, noting the store is stocked with everything from food to toys that prevent puppies from chewing on beloved sandals. The store even carries a special wax to prevent snow from clumping under paws and sweaters to keep dogs warm in the winter. Terranova says the store’s atmosphere, with its friendly employees and music, is as important as its product line. He adds it may be fitting that he moved from the pharmaceutical industry to pet food. “I went from selling people medicine to selling healthy dog foods,” he says. The Terranovas, who moved back to the Yampa Valley permanently in 2005, research and stay up with the latest developments in the pet food industry, which is reflected in their store. “There’s junk food, basic food, premium and ultra-premium,” Dave Terranova says. “We try to fit everyone’s budgets. We know what the economy Pampering Pets: Dave Terranova offers food and toys for pets of all walks at Paws ’n is doing, and we try to offer what our local comClaws ’n Things. munity needs.”


Best Bike Shop

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Best Secondhand Store: Deja Vu Boutique John f. ruSSell

Deja Vu Boutique owner Katie Gaylord says Steamboat is known for its great thrift stores. So, naturally, she opened one in December 2008. But not long after Gaylord opened the women’s clothing consignment store, she realized just how popular these secondhand retailers are among residents and visitors. Her customers all wanted to know where to go next. “Because we have such a large group of people coming in every day, we couldn’t explain over and over again where they were,” she says. “And because we sell different things and don’t consider them competition, we designed a map.” The map provides the locations of all 12 secondhand stores in Steamboat. “We feel like we’re all in it together,” Gaylord says. Deja Vu sees first-time customers by appointment. Gaylord says she chooses clothing that she thinks will sell and, when it does, splits the profit with her customers. Items that don’t sell are discounted 25 percent after 30 days, 50 percent after 60 days and 75 percent after 75 days. Proceeds from Gaylord’s 75-percent-off rack are given to Steamboat teen Tyler Johnson, who lost both feet after contracting meningitis in 2008. She estimates this averages out to about $200 a month. Deja Vu also sells jewelry and has a small men’s section. Gaylord says Deja Vu’s success comes from its cleanliness and because it sells the types of clothes that people will wear, not just high-end items. But Gaylord also attributes her success to her 1,800 customers. “I’m very grateful to everyone in Steamboat for bringing What Comes around, Goes around: katie Gaylord ringing up another secondus such great things,” she says. hand sale at Deja Vu Boutique.

Bamboo Market Health Foods Featuring Steamboat’s Favorite Organic Deli Private Label Supplements Certified Herbologist Organic Produce Organic Coffee Fresh Baked Goods Locally Produced Items





Clinical Nutritionist

visit us at: Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm Waterside Village 11th and Yampa • 879-9992

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Best Children’s Clothing Store: Kookaburra Kidz John f. ruSSell

Just more than a year after its founding, Kookaburra Kidz, a children’s store upstairs at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue, is flying as high as its namesake Australian kingfisher. That owes itself largely to the retail prowess of owners Debbie and Lane Anderson, who also own and operate the nearby 7th Street Boutique and Awesome Shirtworks. “I definitely wear a lot of hats,” says Debbie, who divides her time equally between the three stores. “But Steamboat’s a great town for a kids store.” Well aware that Steamboat’s other two kids stores had gone out of business, the Andersons opened Kookaburra in December 2010 after closing their second Awesome Shirtworks store on the mountain. “We knew we wanted to do something else, saw a need and tried to fill it,” she says. After opening the 1,700-square-foot store primarily for locals, she says the response has been great. The store carries a “gazillion different things,” including toys, books, puzzles, games and especially clothing for kids, primarily infants and toddlers. “We try to carry a good mix for everybody,” she says, highlighting clothing that includes everything from onesies and jackets to blankets, jeans and leggings. The Andersons moved to Steamboat from Littleton in 2000 after resigning from corporate jobs because they wanted to live in a smaller town to raise their two sons, Taylor, 18, and Tanner, 21. With their boys now grown, Kookaburra keeps them tied in to the local kid community. “Everyone is very into their kids here,” she says. “We wanted to have a place where locals can come find what they need while also having Championing the kid Cause: lane and Debbie anderson touting their toys at a good time.” kookaburra kidz.

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Best Bike Shop: Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare

Bike Baron: harry Martin and some of his two-wheeled steeds. SKi hAuS

John f. ruSSell

Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare opened in 1995 when co-owner and President Harry Martin moved to Steamboat from Jackson, Wyo., and saw an opening for a ski and bike store focused on service. Now at 442 Lincoln Ave., it’s cemented that philosophy in stone, winning Best Bike Shop for the second year in a row. “Our bike mechanics are some of the best in the business,” shop manager Derek Hudson says, adding that some of its employees have as many as 40 years of experience. “The business is always changing, and these guys know how to fix anything.” With 20 employees during peak riding season, the store’s bike business is divided evenly between rentals, retail and repairs, catering to residents as much as visitors. And they’re seeing more and more of the latter with the Steamboat Springs Bike Town USA Initiative and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge coming to town last year. “We cater to all aspects of riding, from people wanting cruisers for local mustache rides to avid mountain bikers and road riders,” he says. “Steamboat’s just a fantastic bike town.” The store also sponsors the local Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series, the Steamboat Stage Race and Bike to Work Week and is active in local trail-building projects and Routt County Riders. “Our staff is very passionate about riding,” he says. “They just love biking.”

MaTT STenSlanD

Also third place Best Sporting Goods Store

nothing But Bikes: orange Peel’s J.r. Thompson working on a tune.

Pedal Power: With its addition complete, Ski haus has more room for bikes.

2. Orange Peel

3. Ski haus

Founded in 1999, Orange Peel, at 1136 Yampa Ave. in “the cone,” is Steamboat’s only bikes-only bike shop. “That’s what differentiates us,” says owner Brock Webster, a former U.S. Elite rider. “We’re the only shop in town that focuses solely on bikes. That’s our singular focus.” Webster adds that his entire peak-season staff of 11 consists of avid riders whose combined experience totals hundreds of years (employee J.R. Thompson even runs a bike tour company as a side business). The shop offers rentals, service and retail — carrying such lines as Moots, Pivot, Ellsworth, Ridley and Orbea, brands Webster says are perfect for the “enthusiast” rider in Steamboat. “We’re not a cookie-cutter store,” he says. “We choose our lines carefully. We also stock a greater number of parts than any shop I’ve ever seen. Service is the engine that keeps things rolling around here.”

Ski Haus manager Murray Selleck credits his store’s bike accolades to one thing: a staff that’s plain passionate about riding. “We’re all enthusiasts,” he says, adding that some of the store’s bike technicians have been there more than four decades, since long before the advent of shocks and disc brakes. With its bike wares moving across the street come winter, come spring the newly expanded basement turns into a beehive of bike activity, offering rentals, repairs and retail. Selleck adds that new garage doors open up to the outside to create a great atmosphere and that they strive to offer something for everyone from beginners to seasoned pros. “Our retail line is extensive, with prices and performance for everyone from rides for kids just getting their balance to those looking for multi-thousand-dollar rigs,” he says. Locals’ tip: Visit in the summer when the Specialized and Rocky Mountain demo vans swing by; just realize that afterward, you’ll probably want to upgrade. Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Complete Best of the Boat Shopping results Best Art Gallery

Best Gift Shop

Best Men’s Clothing Store

Best Bike Shop

Best Grocery Store

Best Pet Supply Store

1. Steamboat Art Museum 2. Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat 3. Images of Nature 1. Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare 2. Orange Peel 3. Ski Haus

Best Place to Buy a Car

1. Steamboat Motors 2. Cook Chevrolet and Subaru 3. Denver/Front Range

Best Children’s Clothing Store 1. Kookaburra Kidz 2. Walmart 3. Quiksilver

Best Convenience Store 1. Space Station 2. Market on the Mountain 3. Loaf ’N Jug

1. All That Jazz 2. Lyon Drug Store 3. Steamboat Art Co. 1. City Market 2. Safeway 3. Bamboo Market

Best Home Decor Store

1. Annie’s Home Consignments 2. Ace Hardware 3. Steamboat Moxie Home Consignments and Design

1. Allen’s Clothing 2. Zirkel Trading 3. Ski Haus

1. Paws ’N Claws ’N Things 2. Elk River Farm & Feed 3. Pet Kare Clinic

Best Secondhand Store

1. Deja Vu Boutique 2. Annie’s Home Consignments 3. LIFT-UP of Routt County

Best Jewelry Store

Best Sporting Goods Store

1. Hofmeister Personal Jewelers 2. The Silver Lining 3. Steamboat Art Co.

1. Ski Haus 2. Sports Authority 3. Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare

Best Liquor Store

Best Women’s Clothing Store

1. Central Park Liquor 2. Arctic Liquors 3. Ski Haus Liquors

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1. Ski Haus 2. Moose Mountain Trading Co. 3. Kali’s Boutique

Recognized By His Peers As A Colorado TOP DENTIST 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

Paul E Andrews DMD PC 505 Anglers Drive, Ste 204 (970) 879-1815


biggeSt & beSt LicenSed Summer camp program! Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM-5:45 PM June 11-August 17

Incredible Steamboat Sneakers: Age 5-1st grade Steamboat Explorers Club: 2nd and 3rd grades Rocky Mountain Adventure Club: 4th, 5th, and 6th grades ASSET Camps: 3rd - 6th grades including: • Rock Climbing • Horseback Riding • Lego Camp • Kayaking • Archery/Fishing

register at parks, open Space & recreation, 970-879-4300 •

Rock Climbing • Horseback Riding • Ice

I n D entistry


Bowling • Fishing • Kayking • Sports • Team Building •


Skating • Parks • Arts & Crafts • Biking • Hiking • Swimming

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We can fit your needs, BEST! •Budget •Brand •Size •Design •Taste •And Smell!

Serving Routt County for nearly 20 years, and looking forward to 20 more!

Thanks for voting for us Steamboat! Sundance at Fish Creek • 879-6092 • “Everything for your pet, and people treats, too!” Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Voted Best of the Boat 2011 & 2012 Best for all seasons

roof replacements • roof repairs • seamless Gutters • roof top snow removal

970-846-4385 86 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

John f. ruSSell

Discovery Learning Center: best of the boat when it comes to taking care of kids.


ary is there a better place to hang your service shingle than here in Steamboat Springs, where a friendly clientele combines with the ability to fly-fish, bike and ski on your lunch break — possibly even all on the same day. Round any corner in town — or navigate our new-school roundabouts — and you’ll find companies offering nearly every service under our 300 days of sun. From doctors, dentists and vets to florists, hairstylists, mechanics and masseurs, Routt County is rife with everyone from entrepreneurs to professionals plying their trade in this town we all love. Conducting business with a smile and handshake, they’re the backbone of Steamboat, all working hard to make our mountain-town lives complete. Read on for a look at the cream of the crop, as voted by our readers.

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stAYiNG Fit

Best Fitness Center/Gym: Old Town hot Springs 6 local women rise to top of the Wellness/Fitness Self Challenge at downtown gym


ou might notice six finely toned women walking around town this spring. In February, Old Town Hot Springs, winner of Best Fitness Center/Gym, challenged its members to the Wellness/Fitness Self Challenge, with six local strong-willed women walking away with top honors. In all, 135 members signed up for the challenge created by Simonne Oliver. “We got a lot of feedback from people saying, ‘How can I do something different?’” says Oliver, fitness director at the hot springs for 17 years. Even hard-bodied fitness gurus on TV agree that routine is the enemy if you’re trying to get in shape. Oliver says the nonprofit hot springs has a lot to offer but many members don’t take advantage of it all. “Many people in the weight room never think about going to the pool,” Oliver says. The challenge presented an opportunity for people to break their routines. In the final, 25 members competed for the grand prize. To be eligible to win, competitors had to attend every class at least once as well as complete a Technogym exercise machine circuit and work out on two pieces of cardio equipment twice a week. Participants also had to attend a heart disease presentation at Yampa Valley Medical Center. “They were kind of surprised when I showed up with my clipboard,” Oliver says. Participants earned 30 points for each activity or class they completed, up to a maximum 90 points each day. The top point winner would receive a one-year membership valued at $500. With a week left, six women stood out after earning the maximum number of points. “We never expected it to be that competitive because it’s a lot of work,” Oliver says. Earning the maximum points required as many as four hours of work each day in February, meaning rearranging life schedules. “It’s been an opportunity to exercise my time-management skills,” says finalist Catherine Carson, a 52-year-old

Pam Brenner says the Wellness/fitness Self Challenge at old Town hot Springs provided an incentive to get in better shape. She also made some new friends during the 29 days of the challenge in february. Story and photos by matt Stensland

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SErVICES business consultant who chairs the Routt County Democratic Party. “The one thing I sacrificed is sleep.” Carson would wake up for the 6 a.m. spin class and then come back to watch TV on the treadmills at 9 p.m. The challenge got her out of her normal routine. “There are so many great classes that I wouldn’t have scheduled if I didn’t sign up for it,” she says. Throughout the challenge, a bond formed among the six women as they competed for the grand prize. “It’s been very good camaraderie,” Carson says. By March 1, after the points had been tabulated, all six women had held onto their perfect scores. Rather than dividing the prize or having a tie-breaker, Oliver awarded each woman — four of whom are older than 49 — the one-year membership. The winners were Carson, Izabela Banas, Pam Brenner, Karen Dodson, Georgian Kalow and Maria Parekh. Oliver says the challenge accomplished the goal of getting members to try out new parts of the gym. They were all grateful for the push, feeling stronger and refreshed. “My clothes fit a whole lot better now,” Kalow says. Brenner says the challenge provided the extra incentive to get in shape, and it was worth the sacrifices. “But the great thing was the number of friends we made,” she says. ■

Catherine Carson was one of six women who maxed out their daily points during the Wellness/ fitness Self Challenge.

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Where Every Smile Is Art Jeffrey B. Piaskowy DMD 970-871-0033

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It is this community that makes us love what we do every day. It is our employees and our patients that are “Best of the Boat”. To Many More Years Together! Dr Pi & Staff



1169 Hilltop Pkwy, Unit 203 Steamboat Springs, CO Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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MaTT STenSlanD

Best Fishing Shop: Steamboat Flyfisher

fly aficionados: Steamboat flyfisher strives to offer everyone the complete fly-fishing experience.

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Steamboat Flyfisher owner Tim Kirkpatrick has a simple philosophy when it comes to running his business. He wants to offer any level of fishermen the complete experience. “Our goal is we should be able to take someone who has never held a fly-fishing rod, spend four hours with them and make them feel comfortable,” Kirkpatrick says. “In addition to helping them catch fish, they’ll learn something.” The store on Yampa Street features a little bit of everything for the most experienced fisherman to the complete novice. It also offers casting clinics, fly-tying workshops and guided trips with some of the area’s best guides. “It’s fun watching people come in and talk fishing,” says Keith Hale, one of the shop’s multiple guides that have been there for more than 10 years. “It’s also great to see them learn how to fish.” Kirkpatrick, who has owned Steamboat Flyfisher since 2005, says he wants to run the store as a place where fishermen can come to learn and share stories. But part of the store’s responsibility also is to educate. “At the end of day, in addition to catching big fish, we want them to have a bigger appreciation of the river and its environment,” he says.


Best Child Care Center: Discovery Learning Center John f. ruSSell

At the beginning of their kindergarten year, several young students at the Discovery Learning Center set goals for themselves, drawing pictures of their lofty ambitions on paper balloons that now hang in the hallway. A young boy named Hudson wrote that he wanted to learn to build things with blocks. “I want to learn how to read LOTS of books,” wrote Claire. And Memphis aims to be able to tie his shoes by himself by the end of the year. “We get to watch the children blossom and grow into competent, confident and caring children,” says Executive Director Tami Havener. Discovery Learning Center, on Village Drive on the east side of Steamboat Springs, was launched in 1978 and became its own entity and nonprofit in 1984, the same year Havener took over as executive director. Havener has watched the organization grow into its new home, which was built in 1995, and into a large network of community child care and support that services more than 400 parents. “I feel really blessed that I still love going to work every day,” Havener says. “And it has to do with being able to make a real difference for children and families.” About 80 children come through the classrooms for preschool, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten throughout each week. The center also offers a full-day kindergarten program. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the nonprofit receives funding from tuition, the city of Steamboat Springs, Routt County, Routt County United Way, private donations and other foundations. Last year, it provided 41 families The only Problem: Sometimes kids, including Sobe Barber, don’t want with more than $100,000 in scholarships. to leave.

Where your smile matters!

Curtis J. Comeau, D.D.S., P.C. • Steven Diehl, D.D.S., P.C. • William R. Schwartz, D.D.S., P.C. 1475 Pine Grove Road, Suite 107 • “Next door to Ski Haus” • 879-1959 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Whether he’s starting the day off or gathering his thoughts in the evening, local resident Dennis O’Connor says that it’s the soft, encouraging voice and contagious smile of yoga teacher Jill Barker that beckons him into a peaceful place. “She seems to come across as having a connection with all of her students at once as well as just one on one,” O’Connor says. “Even though she has her eyes closed, it always seems like she’s speaking to you individually.” The real estate broker and lawyer began doing yoga 1 1/2 years ago, and these days, he says he’s in class with Barker four times per week. But that’s only a slice of what the local yoga instructor offers to the community. Barker teaches at Old Town Hot Springs, Colorado Mountain College, The Home Ranch and Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, amounting to as many as a dozen classes per week. Many people in the community know the longtime local as the mother of two teens, Jake and Lena, but yoga emerged as an important part of Barker’s life when she graduated from teacher training 10 years ago after practicing yoga for almost a decade. “I’m teaching a practice that I love, and when it has a positive effect on someone’s life, it’s rewarding to be a part of that,” she says. “It’s neat when they have their own personal shift.” While yoga can help her students through difficult times, injury and illness, Barker says the practice of yoga isn’t all serious all the time. “People laugh in my class,” she says. “I think there’s a playfulness that keeps people coming back.” For O’Connor, an important effect of yoga is learning to be pres-

John f. ruSSell

Best Yoga Instructor: Jill Barker

Striking a Pose: yoga teacher Jill Barker fine-tuning a student’s position.

ent in each moment, and it’s a quality he sees in Barker. “She teaches a presence of mind by example,” O’Connor says. “She has so many things going on at once, but whenever you’re talking to her, she’s only talking to you. You see it in her all the time.”

Leslie A Ahlmeyer MD, FACOG, NCMP • Mary L Bowman MD, FACOG Megan M Palmer MD, FACOG

Yampa Valley OB/GYN Our mission is to work with women to provide high quality healthcare in a caring manner that honors their privacy and respects their healthcare goals. Board Certified female PhysiCians

• • • •

Annual Well Woman Exams Full Scope Obstetrical Care, Including High Risk In-Office 3-D Ultrasound Contraception Management

• • • • •

Minimally Invasive Surgery Menopause Counseling Hormone Therapy Infertility Diagnosis and Treatment Adolescent Gynecology


Offices in Steamboat Springs and Craig


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Best Dental Practice: Pine Grove Dental Arts MaTT STenSlanD

Pine Grove Dental Arts Dr. Bill Schwartz knows what most of us already do. “Not many people look forward to the dentist,” Schwartz says. But part of what makes the Pine Grove Dental Arts team unique, and back-to-back winners of Best Dental Practice, happens to be what Schwartz and his team do to combat that. “We’re trying to whittle away at that number,” he says. “We want our patients here to be comfortable and happy.” This includes warm neck pillows, blankets, private music or DVDs and paraffin wax for hands. “We try to create an environment that’s healthy for our patients,” Schwartz says. “We want an attitude and environment that we want to live and work in. It’s the relationship aspect of our dentists. We think of our patients as friends and fellow community members.” The 15-person office also provides a familiar feel for patients. Schwartz has been there 10 years, fellow doctor Steven Diehl has been there 11 and Curtis Comeau has worked there since 1976. In addition, early and late hours catering to those who have to work, makes Pine Grove Dental not just a familiar and comfortable place, but Best open Wide: Pine Grove Dental arts dentists, from left, Curtis Comeau, Steven Diehl and Bill Schwartz. of the Boat.

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Steamboat Carpet Care Owner Bill Van Ness says he goes to work every day with the goal of making sure all his customers are satisfied. It shows, as evidenced by the company cleaning up in this year’s Best of the Boat contest. “I want to give people the best possible customer service experience,” Van Ness says. “That’s me and the business in a nutshell. And everyone who works for me has that same attitude. That’s what anyone who hires us can expect.” Van Ness moved to Steamboat in 1996 after graduating from Montclair State University in his native New Jersey. He was passing through on his way to Park City, Utah, where he had a job lined up. Like many, Van Ness says he got hooked and decided not to leave. After serving as the manager at Planet Powersports, now Steamboat Powersports, for seven years, Van Ness says he was looking for a change. Having spent his summers in college cleaning carpets, Van Ness knew he could handle the business. So he talked to the owner of Steamboat Carpet Care and struck a deal in 2007 to buy it. He hasn’t looked back, providing carpet, upholstery, tile and grout cleaning services for residential and commercial customers for the past five years, with a strong list of repeats. “It’s really been a wonderful experience,” he says. “It’s kind of a recession-proof business. I’ve been able to grow it every year, and I’m really excited to continue that trend.”

John f. ruSSell

Best Carpet Cleaning Service: Steamboat Carpet Care

red Carpet Treatment: for Steamboat Carpet Care’s Bill Van ness, it’s all about customer service.

s 2005 -2011 Top Safe ty Award

Steamboat’s Only Year-round Full Service Transportation Company

Professional Drivers & Friendly Staff!

24 Hour Reservation Assistance Secure Online Reservations

Follow VAN on Facebook!

970.879.2800 |

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Steamboat Veterinary Hospital, P.C.

John f. ruSSell

Large & Small Animal Medicine & Surgery

Magic hands: life essentials Day Spa’s Pam Peretz at home in her parlor.

Best Massage Therapist: Pam Peretz Six years ago, Pam Peretz completely reinvented herself. She left a corporate job with Mattel, where she worked in new product planning, and settled in Steamboat Springs, where she now is a spa owner and professional massage therapist. “I had been in such a stressful environment for so long that moving toward something more calm and relaxing that would make people feel good, I thought it would be a good career move,” Peretz says. Now the owner of Life Essentials Day Spa downtown, Peretz says the tranquil environment and menu of spa services is about much more than an image of luxury; it’s about treating the mind, body and spirit. “I take my job very seriously,” she says. “It’s not just about indulgence or pampering, it’s about body and mind and health and wellbeing. I like that I’m helping the person start on a good road of health and wellness.” Peretz graduated from massage school at Colorado Northwestern Community College and opened her first spa, A Calming Touch, five years ago. For the past three years, Peretz has taken an annual sabbatical to Southeast Asia to train in various massage techniques, encouraging her to combine the best of Western and Eastern massage at her practice. Aside from her hands-on approach in her day job, Peretz has found other ways to stay involved with the community, including performing a spirited essay in this year’s fundraising production of “The Vagina Monologues.” But it’s during those quiet, meditative sessions in her massage rooms where she feels she can make the most impact; even in as little as 30 minutes, her clients will leave with their bodies destressed and their minds uncluttered. “It’s been fun,” she says. “I really enjoy being a spa owner.”

• Acupuncture

• 24hour On Call Service • Animal Health Store

• In Business Since 1952

1878 Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 (970) 879-1041 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Best Flower Shop: Tall Tulips


MaTT STenSlanD

Amy and Kip Tirone are rebels with a floral cause. The owners of Tall Tulips opened the shop in 2005 with the idea of bringing something different and interesting to fill Steamboat’s flower needs. “We decided to learn the rules of design and then break them on a daily basis so we don’t make the same arrangement twice,” Amy says. “We just put a lot of care and artistry into everything.” The Tirones import flowers from all around the world, including Thailand, New Zealand, Europe and Chile. “Italy grows the best ranunculus in the world,” Amy says. At the same time, they want to ensure the products are grown in a sustainable way by workers who are wellcompensated. “That’s been the newest thing in the last six months,” she says. All those flowers get made into arrangements for some of the largest weddings, birthdays and dinner parties in town. Their flowers also were once featured in a documentary that appeared on NBC. “Straight from our little shop in Steamboat Springs,” Kip says. At Tall Tulips, it’s not unusual to walk in and see Amy taking orders over the phone while holding six-month-old Sophia. Arthur, 4, also is learning the business at an early age. “It’s a family-run business,” Kip says. “We raise our kids here.” Gifts and household items such as plants, linens and candlesticks help round out the business in Wildhorse Marroses are red: kip and amy Tirone peddling their petals at Tall Tulips. ketplace. “We’re not just a flower shop,” Amy says.

... ted

Sleeping Bear Pediatrics 10th Anniversary

Steven A. Ross, MD, FAAP 970.879.2327 • 405 Anglers Drive, Suite A • Sundance @ Fishcreek • • Find us on Facebook 96 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012


Best OB-GYN: Dr. Mary Bowman

John f. ruSSell

Dr. Mary Bowman knows birthing in the Boat. Since 1997, the Steamboat Springs obstetrician and gynecologist has presided over more than 120 births per year in the Yampa Valley, meaning a lot of area children have spent their first moments of life outside the womb in her capable hands. “It’s what I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. “Not everyone finds that, so I’m really lucky.” One of three doctors at Yampa Valley OB/GYN, along with Dr. Leslie Ahlmeyer and Dr. Megan Palmer, she says she likes to help women feel empowered to take care of themselves. She also enjoys the long-term relationships she maintains with her patients in the Yampa Valley, something a small town helps foster. When not at the office or delivering babies in the Family Birth Place at Yampa Valley Medical Center, she can be found at home with her husband, Jay, and their 14-year-old son, Nate. Like most residents, she also enjoys everything outdoors that Steamboat has to offer. In the winter, you’ll find her and her family schussing the slopes of Mount Werner, and in the summer, you’ll see them running and mountain biking on trails from here to Utah. Raised in Colorado Springs and Santa Cruz, Calif., she says she loves Steamboat because it’s a community that values its open space, its schools and its public institutions. “People care about this place so much,” she says. “I don’t see us ever living anywhere else.” Bringing new lives Into the Boat: Dr. Mary Bowman in between deliveries.

Repair • Remodel • New Construction Video Inspection • Line Locating Sewer and Drain Cleaning Professionally Serving Steamboat for over 35 years! Licensed • Insured Plumbing and Heating

879-4593 Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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Corey KopiSChKe

Best Photographer: Corey Kopischke

KiM KeiTh

lArry pierCe

Corey kopischke is the apple of the town’s eye when it comes to photographers.

After spending several years on the other side of the lens as an action ski model, Corey Kopischke shifted gears to shooting photos himself. It was a good move. Whether he’s shooting weddings, scenery or skiing, Kopischke admits he’s blessed to be able to pursue his career in Steamboat. “I get to interact with great subject matter on a daily basis, from Olympians to couples celebrating the best days of their lives,” he says. An established commercial, adventure sports, lifestyle and wedding photographer, Kopischke’s client list includes Freeskier, Baja Life, Skiing, Canoe & Kayak and more as well as a variety of commercial clients. He constantly improves his work through new technology, creativity and time in the trenches. “My photography is in constant evolution,” he says. When not behind the lens, he can be found doing what his subjects do — biking, skiing, snowboarding, fly-fishing and more. And there’s nowhere he’d rather ply his trade than in Steamboat. “The mountain here offers great lighting due to its western exposure,” he says. “And the temperatures are milder, our snow is great and our summers are longer, which is also a great time to shoot.”

kim keith’s artistry has been well-nourished in Steamboat.

2. Kim Keith

Kim Keith shares her individual perspective through photographic arts. In her black and white bodyscapes, she extracts delicate details of women’s bodies using minimalistic, low-key photography. The result is an abstraction retaining the essence of the subject. “Every artist has their own tools, whether it’s paint, ink, wood or metal,” she says. “Tapping into the soul of your message is where the difference is exposed.” With her work appearing in local galleries, magazines and business offices, she credits her location in Steamboat Springs with fostering her career. “My creativity has been nurtured in Steamboat,” she says. “Business leaders here have helped expand opportunities for artists to exhibit and share work in alternative venues. The art scene here has blossomed since I moved here in 2001.”

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When he’s not shooting for the ski area, chances are you’ll find larry Pierce surfing.

3. Larry Pierce

“Every season here is great for shooting,” says photographer Larry Pierce, who has called the Yampa Valley home for more than 30 years. “There’s beautiful images to be found here year-round.” Specializing in outdoor sports, travel and Western lifestyle, Pierce’s work has taken him around the globe, with images appearing in Time, National Geographic Traveler, Sports Illustrated, Sunset, Men’s Journal, Newsweek, Outside, Rolling Stone, Skiing and Surfing magazines. He also shoots for such commercial clients as L.L. Bean and Patagonia and serves as the head photographer for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., with his images blasted worldwide. It’s Steamboat’s seasons that make his work so rewarding. “In summer, we have aspens, wildflowers, wildlife and thunderstorms, which produce great lighting,” he says. “Then come fall colors and snow in the winter. I love capturing everything from tiny snowflakes to panoramics from the top of the ski resort. We’re truly blessed with everything we have here.”

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Complete Best of the Boat Services results Best Accountant 1. Kari Nelson 2. Dana Tredway 3. Scott Colby

Best Attorney

1. Adam Mayo 2. Kris Hammond, Hammond Law Offices 3. Randy Klauzer, Klauzer & Tremaine

Best Auto Maintenance and Repair Shop 1. Bob’s Downtown Conoco 2. Elk Mountain Automotive 3. Westside Automotive

Best Bank

1. Wells Fargo 2. Yampa Valley Bank 3. Alpine Bank

Best Carpet Cleaning Service 1. Steamboat Carpet Care 2. Best Carpet and Upholstery 3. American Carpet & Floor Care

Best Child Care Center, infant through pre-K

1. Discovery Learning Center 2. Heritage Park Preschool 3. Young Tracks

Best Chiropractic Service 1. Rinn Chiropractic 2. Sanford Chiropractic 3. Backsmith Chiropractic

Best Computer Service and Repair

1. Mac Ranch 2. NorthWest Data Services 3. Computer Support Guys

Best Dental Practice

1. Pine Grove Dental Arts 2. Sunny Lodwick Family Dentistry 3. Avant Garde Dental

Best Family Doctor

1. Dr. Jim Dudley, Steamboat Medical Group 2. Dr. Lisa Harner, Yampa Valley Medical Associates 3. Dr. Rosanne Iversen, Steamboat Springs Family Medicine

Best Fishing Shop

1. Steamboat Flyfisher 2. Straightline Sports 3. Bucking Rainbow

Best Fitness Center/Gym 1. Old Town Hot Springs 2. Anytime Fitness 3. Manic Training

Best Flower Shop

1. Tall Tulips 2. Alpine Floral & Atrium 3. Steamboat Floral & Gifts

Best Nursery or Gardening Store

1. Windemere Landscape & Garden Center 2. Gecko Landscape & Design 3. Ace at the Curve


1. Haymaker Golf Course 2. Catamount Ranch & Club 3. Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club

1. Dr. Mary Bowman, Yampa Valley OB/GYN 2. Dr. David Schaller, Steamboat Springs Women’s Clinic 3. Dr. Leslie Ahlmeyer, Yampa Valley OB/GYN

Best Guest Ranch

Best Pediatrician

Best Golf Course

1. The Home Ranch 2. Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch 3. Vista Verde Guest Ranch

Best Place for a Men’s Haircut 1. 10th Street Barbershop 2. The Cut Above 3. Prime Kuts

Best Hair Salon

1. Hair On Earth 2. Wildhorse Salon 3. Brio Salon & Spa

Best Horseback Riding Outfitter

1. Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch 2. Saddleback Ranch 3. Dutch Creek Guest Ranch

Best Hotel

1. The Steamboat Grand 2. Sheraton Steamboat Resort 3. Rabbit Ears Motel

Best Insurance Agency

1. State Farm, Debbie Aragon 2. State Farm, Dax Mattox 3. Alpine Insurance

Best Massage Therapist

1. Pam Peretz, Life Essentials Day Spa 2. Erica Olson, Heartfire Massage 3. Ali Boehm, Kneading Hands Therapy

Best Place to Get a Massage 1. Life Essentials Day Spa 2. Rocky Mountain Day Spa 3. Old Town Hot Springs

Best Nordic Center

1. Steamboat Ski Touring Center 2. Emerald Mountain/Howelsen Hill 3. Lake Catamount Touring Center

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1. Dr. Sheila Fountain, Pediatrics of Steamboat 2. Dr. Steven Ross, Sleeping Bear Pediatric 3. Dr. Ron Famiglietti, Pediatrics of Steamboat

Best Pharmacy

1. Lyon Drug Store 2. City Market 3. Walmart

Best Photographer 1. Corey Kopischke 2. Kim Keith 3. Larry Pierce

Best Physical Therapy Practice 1. SportsMed at Yampa Valley Medical Center 2. Kinetic Energy Physical Therapy 3. Johnson & Johnson Physical Therapy

Best Ski/Snowboard Rental Shop 1. Ski Haus 2. Christy Sports 3. One Stop Ski Shop

Best Snow Removal Service, plowing

1. Native Excavating 2. Gecko Landscape & Design 3. Shuv-It

Best Snow Removal Service, roof 1. Native Excavating 2. Tin Man Roofing 3. Icebusters

Best Spa

1. Life Essentials Day Spa 2. Rocky Mountain Day Spa 3. Waterside Day Spa

Best Surgeon

1. Dr. Eric Verploeg 2. Dr. Mark Hermacinski 3. Dr. Andreas Sauerbrey

Best Towing Service

1. American Towing 2. Sunshine Mountain Auto 3. Rocky Mountain Towing

Best Travel Agency

1. Steamboat Reservations & Travel 2. Steamboat Central Reservations 3. Tailwind Tours

Best Place for Ski/ Snowboard Tune 1. Ski Haus 2. Edgewerks 3. Christy Sports

Best Veterinarian

1. Pet Kare Clinic 2. Steamboat Veterinary Hospital 3. Mt. Werner Veterinary Hospital

Best Wedding Ceremony Venue 1. Steamboat Ski Area 2. Bella Vista 3. Catamount Ranch & Club

Best Wedding Reception Venue

1. Catamount Ranch & Club 2. Steamboat Ski Area 3. Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp

Best Yoga Instructor

1. Jill Barker 2. Nina Darlington, Yoga Center of Steamboat 3. Patty Zimmer, Yoga Center of Steamboat

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MaTT STenSlanD


ust like the people who live here, not everything can be grouped together in a certain clique. That’s where our Community category comes in, a melting pot of everyone from artists and teachers to politicians, paddlers and skiers who have chosen to call the Yampa Valley home. Unlike some of our other categories, which lend themselves to creative business campaigns to lure in votes, this one is likely the most unbiased of all. The people who live here aren’t braggarts out to beat their own chests; they’re humble citizens who happen to excel in their professions and recreational pastimes. What’s it take to be voted the best skier in town? Either a lot of friends or the skill set to stand out from the rest of the crowd in a community known as Ski Town USA. The same holds true for every other category in the section, whether it’s best golfer, biker or runner. In a fitness- and sport-crazed town like ours, it takes a lot to migrate to the top — especially when it’s your peers putting you on the podium.

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ArtiSt proFiLe


Best Artist: Lance Whitner

uring the hot North Carolina summers, a young Lance Whitner never set up a lemonade stand at the end of her driveway. Instead, she had an art stand and sold her first piece of artwork to a neighbor at age 5 — a painting of a pond, complete with a duck and a cat sitting in a tree. From a young age, her love of art was encouraged by her parents and fed by the bursts of color from the southern landscape. Her father always had told her that if you do what you love, your work is not work; it’s just doing what you love. And when he was diagnosed with cancer six years ago, Whitner wanted to show him that she was following her heart by working on a series of paintings that honored the time she spent with him. Whitner’s first art show, called “My Father’s Garden,” took place in September 2007 at the Depot Art Center. Her father got to see the work before he died. The show was filled with images of the garden that provided her solace and peace in her childhood and memories of her home and family once she moved to Colorado. “Every artist’s work is about themselves in one way or another,” says Whitner, who moved to Steamboat Springs 11 years ago after finishing art school at the University of Colorado Boulder. Now married and a mother of three children ages 9 through 13, Whitner finds time to be a full-time artist in between trucking children to skiing activities, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club practice, pottery class and music lessons. In the garage-turned-studio that she shares with her photographer husband David Patterson, Whitner is anything but settled into one style. “I love color, and I think that comes from growing up in the South,” she says. “I find that in my artwork, my outside environment is hugely important.” Her bright landscapes exude vibrant energy and sometimes border on psychedelic, but she has an introspective, meditative side as well. “I’m not about representation. I like to keep them loose and juicy,” she says. “I have a big imagination, and I like playing with it.” She reads books, takes photographs and sketches, engrossing herself with the background of her subject. If she’s painting a tree, she wants to know how it grows and how it reproduces. Her new work takes on a more integrated perspective, in which Whitner feels she’s finally become one with the landscapes she’s painting. “I feel like I’m fitting myself into my environment instead of just looking at it and pulling out patterns,” she says. “Now I’m actually stepping into it.” ■

Southern Charm: lance Whitner loves working color into her landscapes.

Story by Nicole Inglis ❘ Photo by Matt Stensland 104 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012


Missed the Boat hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to winning over the hearts of locals. For the second year in a row, it’s been voted Best Band, edging out Loose Change and Worried Men. The band was formed in 2007 by drummer Pat Waters, harmonica player Peter Hall, mandolin player/singer Andrew Henry and guitar/singer Ryan Cox. Two albums later, including “Rollin’” and “Missed the Boat,” they’ve gone on to open for Arkansas’ Wakarusa Festival alongside such stalwarts as Blues Traveler and Widespread Panic and play marquee music venues in Denver, Boulder and Aspen. “We’re pretty much Americana bluegrass folk rock,” says bass player Bryan Joyce, who rounds out the band with Jon Huge on dobro and banjo. “The best way to describe it is Colorado music. We all do whatever we can to keep playing.” The band plans to tour again in the summer and to record its third album. But it loves its roots in Steamboat. “We absolutely love playing here,” says Joyce, a transplant from New Orleans. “Steamboat’s a great community with a great music scene.”


Best Band: Missed the Boat

Barn Burners: Missed the Boat band members, clockwise from left, Bryan Joyce, Pat Waters, Peter hall, andrew henry and ryan Cox. not pictured: Jon huge.

1169 Hilltop Parkway, Suite 205A • Steamboat Springs, CO (970) 879-2265 •

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luKe BroSTerhouS


Best Golfer: Luke Brosterhous Whether it was his students or golf partners who voted for him, Haymaker Golf Club’s Director of Golf and Instruction Luke Brosterhous drove straight to the green in this year’s Best Golfer category. Living in Steamboat since 2001 — save for a three-year stint from 2005 to 2008 when he played on the PGA Tour and taught golf in, of all places, Bhutan — Brosterhous has an inside edge when he’s playing competitively; he also holds a master’s degree in sports psychology. He uses this as well as his golf background to run Authentic Golf, a golf instruction and travel company that takes him across the country teaching and putting trips together every year. An Alpine skiing coach and mountain bike racer, Brosterhous also is a Titleist-certified club fitter, has published several instructional articles and was named 2010’s Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year. “I don’t play too much anymore,” he says, citing the time constraints of work and raising two children — Davis, 3, and Jett, 4 months — with wife, Erin. “But I still have a great time when I do. Steamboat is a great golfing town with a higher-than-average number of golfers per capita. It’s a competitive and athletic community that can play the game.” fore: head down and eye on the ball, luke Brosterhous is the golfer to beat in the Boat.

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Don’t let the gurgle of fish Creek distract you.

CATAMounT rAnCh & CluB

hAyMAKer golf CourSe

The 10th hole at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club sets the tempo for what’s to come. The long par 5 features one of the best approach shots in Routt County. “That has always been our signature hole,” says Rollingstone Director of Golf Brian Thorne. “It’s just a beautiful golf hole.” The hole is visually appealing with a drive that doesn’t require much. But it’s the second shot into a green set over a hazard and back into the trees that makes the hole. Depending where your drive ends up, it could be a 3-wood or — if you’ve laid up — a wedge into the challenging green. Hit the green, two putt and take your par. But not before taking time to look around and realize No. 10 is just the gateway to a fantastic back nine. “It sets the tone,” Thorne says. “It’s a pretty hole to look at and fun to play.”

rollingSTone rAnCh golf CluB

Best Golf hole: No. 10 at rollingstone ranch Golf Club

Come and Get It: all 611 yards.

no. 12: The second-most aced hole at haymaker Golf Course.

2. No. 18 at Catamount ranch & Club

3. No. 12 at haymaker Golf Course

Visually breathtaking and intimidating all at the same time, No. 18 at Catamount Ranch & Club, which is 611 yards from the back tees, is the perfect combination of beauty and beast. When golfers realize what is actually at play — two hazards to clear, sand traps and a challenging, two-tiered green — its scenery turns to stress. “I love when you can stand up on a tee on a long par 5 and see the challenge ahead,” Director of Golf Chris Nachtweigh says. “You see the hazard you have to clear and the next hazard. You see the bunkers and the green complex. It’s one of those holes out in front of you that’s like, ‘Here it is; come and get it.’”

It’s easy to guess why Haymaker Golf Course Director of Instruction Luke Brosterhous likes No. 12. He has had two aces on the short but mentally challenging hole. But there are other reasons, as well. “I think that’s our signature hole,” Brosterhous says. “Visually, it’s probably the best one on the course.” The rock wall and imposing water provide much of the hole’s ambiance. It’s also the second-most aced hole on the course. So what’s the secret? “That hole,” Brosterhous says, “always plays half a club longer.”

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DAn piAno

Kevin ThoMpSon

kayak Couple: Dan Piano, left, on northwest Colorado’s Slater Creek and new bride Sarah Piano, right, on Main event on Bluegrass Creek in Wyoming.

Best Kayakers Dan and Sarah Piano

Joel reIChenBerGer

Dan and Sarah Piano’s wedding might as well have included the vows “in kayaks and in rafts, in whitewater and flat, in shuttle rigs and bars.” Married in October in Costa Rica, where Sarah was a member of the seventh-place U.S. Women’s Rafting Team at the World Rafting Championships, the two Oak Creek residents are most at home with a paddle in hand. Sponsored by Colorado Kayak Supply, Piano, a 31-year-old carpenter who moved here from Connecticut, has been paddling for 21 years and runs the Downstream Edge Kayak School. “I love the fact that you can paddle from Fish Creek Falls down to the Yampa through downtown, grab a burger, swap boats and have a world-

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class play session at Charlie’s Hole,” says Piano, recently featured in Canoe & Kayak Magazine for a high-water run down the Colorado River’s Class V Gore Canyon. Sarah, 30, a Spanish teacher, is equally hooked on paddling. Joining the U.S. Women’s Rafting Team in 2010 after winning the Gore Canyon extreme race, she moved to Steamboat after guiding in Costa Rica and is a frequent winner of regional freestyle events. “When it’s running, it’s great here,” says Sarah, who has a rapid named after her on Costa Rica’s Rio Chirripo Pacifico: Sarah’s Shenanigans. “Plus, Steamboat has a great community of paddlers.”

Barry Smith Tying Dan Piano for best male kayaker is venerable river junkie Barry Smith, 61, owner of Mountain Sports Kayak School. While admittedly not charging as hard as today’s youngsters (which include his son, Marty), his whitewater stripes are well-earned. In 1980, the 20-year Grand Canyon river guide joined a National Geographic-spon-

sored expedition on a first descent of Iceland’s Hvita River. “Steamboat’s a great paddling town because you can just get in and go, whether you’re heading out for a half-hour or an entire afternoon,” says Smith, who teaches hundreds of beginners each year. “It’s all so accessible without ever having to drive. We’re incredibly lucky to live here.”



Best radio Station: KBCr

how ’Bout Them Bruins: kBCr’s Brian harvey master-minding another “harvey’s huddle.”

Big Country Radio gets big kudos in our Best of the Boat contest for its cast of characters — including Brian Harvey, Debbie Duncan, Paul Ackerman and Steve Leigh — and music that’s easy on the ears for everyone. “We’re all over the place,” says General Manager Brian Harvey, who also heads up the popular “Harvey’s Huddle” talk show. “We play the best of today and yesterday, from Taylor Swift to Waylon Jennings.” The station has been a local favorite since KBCR FM 96.9 launched in 1974 and ESPN AM 1230 The Bench came on board in 1980. While the latter offers national and local sports coverage, ski reports, weather, “Harvey’s Huddle” and more, the FM station is all about terrific tunes. It’s also all about the community. “We try to provide more local information than anyone else,” says Harvey, adding that the properties are the only stations licensed to Steamboat proper via a 10,000-watt transmitter on top of Emerald Mountain. “We’re ultimately here to serve the local community.” As well as serving the community by providing information, it also invests heavily in sponsorship, supporting such events as the Bud Light Cowboy Downhill, Springalicious Festival, Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, 4th of July celebration, Winter Carnival and more. That and more is helping its air waves make waves in Routt County.

Johnson and Johnson Physical Therapy

Celebrating 18 Years of Serving the Yampa Valley The Physical Therapists at JJPT have each completed extensive post professional training to become a Certified Functional Manual Therapist (only 180 in the world). After a highly selective process, each of our therapists was chosen to participate in the IPA Fellowship program at JJPT, one of only 19 internationally and nationally AAOMPT Credentialed Manual Therapy Fellowship programs in the US. An AAOMPT credentialed Fellowship is the highest training for Orthopedic Physical Therapists available in the US. The IPA currently has Fellowship Clinics in Steamboat, New York, and India which provide the internationally recognized approach to patient care, Functional Manual Therapy, developed over the last 35 years by Gregg Johnson, PT and Vicky Saliba Johnson, PT. JJPT is a results driven practice whose goal is to assist you in reaching your optimum potential to live efficiently! Open Monday - Thursday 8am-6pm - Friday 8am-5pm 1856 Lincoln Avenue - Steamboat Springs, CO - 970-879-4558 - Spring 2012 | STEAmbOAT living

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John f. ruSSell

keeping Skiers Safe: Steamboat Springs ski patrollers, from left, kyle lawton, Sharon Spiegel and John “Pink” floyd.

Best Ski Patroller: Sharon Spiegel Sharon Spiegel, 42, might have her hands full as a mom to Ashley, 11, Alex, 9, and Logan, 7, but the 12-year ski patroller still finds time for what she calls “the best job in the world.” “I get to ski for my job,” says Spiegel, who traveled to Silverton in the spring for her Level II avalanche certification. “I love patrolling.” A former waitress at the Yacht Club and later Stoker Bar & Restaurant, Spiegel has found her calling serving skiers instead of drinks. A member of the patrol’s investigative team, she has completed patrol exchanges at Vail, Beaver Creek, Aspen Highlands and Sun Valley. And no matter where she’s based, she gets the same feeling of satisfaction. “I love helping people when they’re up on the mountain,” says Spiegel, who moved here from Indiana in 1993. “It’s great to make them feel better, regardless of the situation they’re in.” And if her work takes her away from her own family, which includes her husband, Ben, she has another one on the mountain. “It’s really like having a second family away from home,” she says about her fellow patrollers.

2. Kyle Lawton

Kyle Lawton is entering his 20th year patrolling at Steamboat Ski Area, and he’s still as gung-ho about helping people as ever. “It’s why I do it,” says Lawton, who moved here from Texas in 1992. “I love the fact that we get to set up the mountain and make it safe for everyone. I also love the realm we’re in of helping everyone — there are always times when you run into a longtime local who needs your help, and that’s a great feeling.” He’s a good man for the job, especially when it comes to avalanche control. Lawton is a Level III-certified avalanche control expert and heads up the resort’s snow safety program. He’s just as adept when things break loose at home, handling his kids, Kade, 4, and Bridger, 2, with the same aplomb as he does the mountain’s snowpack. And if you think parenthood is slowing him down, try racing against him in the annual Cody’s Challenge Randonee race; he’s a two-time champion, winning in the fundraiser’s first two years.

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3. John ‘Pink’ Floyd

John “Pink” Floyd, 44, who soars through a fire hoop every Winter Carnival trailing a fiery toboggan (no, that’s not why he’s called “Pink”), has worked for the Steamboat Springs ski patrol since moving here from Denver in 1987. That’s 25 years of helping people on the mountain, and it’s not getting old in the least. “I love everything about it,” says Floyd, who also manages the Alpine slide for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. An EMT and Outdoor Emergency Care instructor, Floyd also is quick to credit his teammates. “We have unbelievably good people working here,” he says. “It’s truly an honor to work with all of them.” They’re glad to have him on their side also, whether it’s working a wreck, handling logistics or leading them to a second-place overall finish at the North American Ski Patrol Championships, as he did in Whistler in 2001. But it’s the quiet times on the mountains that he loves most — almost as much as his wife, Sarah, and soccer sensation daughters, Katy, 10, and Jordi, 13. “My favorite time is during the trail checks before the mountain opens and during sweep when no one else is on the mountain,” he says. “It’s just a special time up there.”


Grady Turner describes his teaching style as eclectic. “We’re not doing the same things in my class year after year,” he says in his Soda Creek Elementary School kindergarten classroom on his students’ 100th day of school. “I’m not a cookiecutter type of teacher. I’m a student-centered teacher.” Turner says he tries to put the power in the hands of his kids because they are “more creative than I am.” Turner’s path to teaching started after he spent part of his youth baby-sitting and was cemented further when he filled out a guidance counselor’s survey. “Then one day, I observed a classroom, and I loved it. I love everything about teaching,” he says. “It was a no-brainer for me.” Tuner has taught for four years at Soda Creek, but he’s been an educator for 15 years in public and private schools. In that time, he has come to realize a good teacher is flexible and can recognize each of his or her students’ unique ways of learning. Turner also extends education beyond the classroom. He uses a chef puppet to teach his students about the importance of healthy eating, and he runs the school’s chess and eco clubs. “Kids know much more than people would ever give them credit for,” he says.

SCoTT franz

Best Teacher: Grady Turner

It’s elementary: Grady Turner admits he’s not a cookie-cutter teacher.

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Best runner, male: Allen Belshaw When someone is 60 miles deep into a 100-mile running race, barely more than halfway through a race that takes nearly 24 hours, what is it that convinces him not only to keep going, but to sign up for another such experience? Allen Belshaw says he doesn’t really know the answer. “It’s something you can’t really explain,” Belshaw says about the drive that’s carried him to nearly 40 ultramarathons in his career, including two 100-milers last summer. Ever the glutton for punishment, Belshaw, a local doctor, prefers 100-mile races to the 50-milers. “I need that extra time to catch the young guys,” he says. Even at 44 years old, Belshaw still is among the fastest runners in Steamboat, regularly registering top finishes in the Steamboat Springs Running Series. He’s also one of the most prolific runners. Last year, he finished the Western States 100 and Leadville 100 in less than 24 hours. And he’ll be shooting for that again this summer in front of his hometown fans in the Run Rabbit Run, Steamboat’s new 100-mile ultramarathon.

running Man: local doctor allen Belshaw has completed nearly 40 ultramarathons.

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Best runner, female: Angie Mangiardi

Joel reiChenBerger

What makes Angie Mangiardi the best runner in Steamboat Springs? It’s simple, according to friend Cara Marrs. “She’s so consistent,” Marrs says. “Consistent” makes for a fairly generic trait for any long-distance runner, but Mangiardi, whose running distances make a mere marathon seem like a walk in the park, takes even that term to the extreme. “We were running a race together in Moab, and I noticed Angie would always pull away on the uphills, and I’d catch up on the downhills,” Marrs says. “She never changed speeds, no matter the terrain, which is amazing.” Mangiardi has tackled many of the longest, toughest races in the region. She’s finished as high as fifth in the Steamboat Marathon and was third in her best Run Rabbit Run 50-mile ultramarathon in Steamboat. And she’s not slowing down, with plans to add a few more races to her repertoire this summer. And you can bet on consistent finishes in those, as well.

afternoon Training: angie Mangiardi takes to a local trail to prep for the upcoming season.

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Best Elected Official: Diane Mitsch Bush For many, it’s no surprise that Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush was chosen as town’s Best Elected Official. “You won’t find anyone that works harder than Diane,” says Catherine Carson, chairwoman of the Routt County Democratic Party. Mitsch Bush was all smiles when she found out about the accolades. “That’s way cool,” she says. “It makes me proud. It makes me humble.” Mitsch Bush, 62, is a Minnesota native who moved to Routt County in 1976 because she loves to ski. Her first career was in academia, and she held professor positions in sociology at Colorado State University, the University of Arizona and Steamboat’s Colorado Mountain College. The Democrat retired in 2005 and was elected a county commissioner in November 2006 with 58 percent of the vote. She had no opposition when she ran for re-election in 2010. “I really do listen to people,” Mitsch Bush says. “I respect all points of view. I may not vote in a way that everyone supports, but even if they disagree with how I voted, they know I listened to them. They know I did the research.” The former professor must have set a good example for her students because she is known for doing her homework. “Every meeting that I’ve been in with Diane, she is always one of the most studied, well-prepared and thoughtful public servants,” Carson says. Mitsch Bush is hoping to further her political career and is running for the Colorado House District 26 seat. “People know that I work hard and work effectively,” she says. “Building partnerships is the only way you can solve problems.”

Partnering to Solve Problems: Diane Mitsch Bush is now running for the Colorado house District 26 seat.

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Best Mountain Biker, male: Barkley robinson The year 2011 may go down as the one that provided the answer: If Barkley Robinson doesn’t make the podium of a Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race, was there actually a race? After years of reigning at or very near the top of the hotly contested local race series, many could hardly believe their eyes in 2011’s first couple of races when Robinson finished back in the pack. It made sense, of course. The 38-year-old Realtor for Prudential Steamboat Realty got married and took a honeymoon in the spring. Once his training began to ramp back up, so did his results, and by the end of the season, he was back near the top. Of course, he says he didn’t regret that momentary slip in the standings. In fact, he warns of another: He and his wife, Megan, are expecting their first child in the spring. While this new change in life and priorities may cut down on even more training miles on the bike, it likely will do little to diminish the fact that, even now as a family man, he’s still the class of Steamboat cycling.

This Man Will Crush you: Barkley robinson, en route to another town title.

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Joel reIChenBerGer

Best Mountain Biker, female: Kelly Boniface

easy rider: from the trails to the seasons to the community, kelly Boniface loves everything about cycling in Steamboat.

Kelly Boniface was a runner when she moved to Steamboat Springs, but she’s seemingly rarely gotten off a mountain bike since she turned to the sport to help recover from a leg injury. Almost since that first day, Boniface has been the class of Steamboat when it comes to mountain biking. She’s figured into the podium on the annual Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series every season since she started, except those she took off while pregnant with her two daughters, Isabelle and Lila. The Moots-sponsored rider began to attack the regional riding scene five years ago with a quick ascent through the pro ranks. Last year, she was 16th in the USA Cycling Cross-Country National Championships and was a part of a four-person 24-hour mountain biking national championship squad. What sets her apart on Steamboat’s trails, though, is the way she’s mixed the required competitive zeal with a smile wide enough to be seen from the top of Emerald Mountain. “Kelly is great,” Town Challenge director Gretchen Sehler says. “She’s very competitive but respects everyone around her.” She also realizes how good she has it in Steamboat. “It’s impossible to pick one thing that I like best about mountain biking in Steamboat,” Boniface says. “I love the trails — we have a little bit of everything — but I also love our different cycling seasons as well as our whole cycling community, from the Town Challenge race series to weekend rides with friends that end with beers in the front yard.”

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nelSon CArMiChAel

Best Skier, female: Caroline Lalive

Carving a niche: 13-year u.S. Ski Team member Caroline lalive now co-hosts the Steamboat Women’s Ski Clinics.

The focus for skiing may have changed in Caroline Lalive’s life. She’s no longer chasing podiums, worrying about training and trying to be the best in the world. But for Lalive, there are things about skiing that never will change. “I’ll always love it,” she says. “Even through my career and my injuries, what kept me coming back was how much I love skiing.” It’s no surprise then that Lalive was voted best female skier in Steamboat. She spent 13 years on the U.S. Ski Team, was a three-time Olympian, has five World Cup top threes and 25 World Cup top 10s. Nowadays, Lalive skis mostly for work. She co-hosts the Steamboat Women’s Ski Clinics and has become a fixture at Steamboat Ski Area. “I’m honored. I’m excited,” she says. “It’s exciting as a women to be able to be in sports. As a female athlete, that is something I’ve really cherished.” And in this year’s uncharacteristic Steamboat winter, Lalive has even enjoyed the powderless days, which take her back to her racing roots. “I found this year I’m definitely missing having perfectly tuned, awesome skis,” she says. “But skiing is so multifaceted — I’m getting all aspects of it in nowadays.”

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Tasked with picking his favorite run at Steamboat Ski Area, David Lamb pauses briefly. Then in a burst, he releases this: “It would have to be how you can link a top-to-bottom run,” says Lamb, a former U.S. Ski Team member and University of Denver national champion who grew up skiing Mount Werner. “Just dropping the hammer the whole way. Sure, going back into the canyon and getting lost in some lines is great. But to get out there in the sun with wind on your face is the best way to do it.” Lamb, a financial advisor with Edward Jones, hasn’t slowed down much on skis. Although his competitive career ended with concussions as a member of the U.S. Ski Cross Team, Lamb says that competitive edge never leaves. Neither does his love for going fast on two skis. “These days, I’m tied to a desk,” Lamb says. “But if I get an hour, I want to go blow it out of my system. I want to get as many runs in as I can. I want to do more runs at a higher intensity than most people get in an entire day.”

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Best Skier, male: David Lamb

Crossing Disciplines: former u.S. Ski Cross Team member David lamb excels at all things skiing.

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Best Snowboarder, female: Maddy Schaffrick

Super-Pipe Sensation: Maddy Schaffrick is all smiles when it comes to snowboarding.

Maddy Schaffrick, 17, says she’s not immune to being nervous before a competition. It’s just that every time she’s qualified for one of her sport’s largest stages, the X Games super-pipe competition, she’s found other things to worry about. Consider her first trip, in 2009: She was a 14-year-old girl experiencing one of her first competitions with snowboarding’s elite. “I was dropping into the same half-pipe as Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter,” says Schaffrick, who grew up in Steamboat and has twice been the youngest contender at the Winter X Games. “Those are the girls I looked up to as a little kid. I was way too preoccupied with that to be nervous.” The Red Bull-sponsored athlete wasn’t nervous at the event this year, either. She already knew she’d have to have surgery on her knee afterward and could only think about how the runs were her last of the season. The local high school senior, who plans to attend Westminster College in Salt Lake City next year, says she’s learned to love and appreciate the attention that comes with ESPN and big competitions but that it hasn’t changed the sport for her. “Snowboarding has never been about that for me,” says Schaffrick, who placed eighth in women’s super-pipe at this year’s X Games. “It’s always been my escape from reality.”

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It’s not hard to find what sets Matt Ladley apart from Steamboat’s other worthy snowboarders. Just flip on ESPN. Ladley helped deflect a bit of the extreme sports spotlight toward Ski Town USA again this January when he made the finals in the Winter X Games superpipe competition in Aspen. If the year-over-year results in his two appearances on that enormous stage are anything to go by, Ladley will only be tightening his grip on the title of Steamboat’s best snowboarder. He was eighth in 2011, struggling to land a solid run in the finals. He was much better in 2012. While he just missed on a few runs that would have had him on the podium next to Shaun White, his first-run score was good enough to earn him fifth place. Besides, at only 20 years old and being one of the event’s best and youngest competitors, Ladley still has plenty of time to shine.


Best Snowboarder, male: Matt Ladley

Shaun Who? Matt ladley going big in the pipe.


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Best Telemark Skier, female: Madi McKinstry John f. ruSSell

Madi McKinstry can vividly remember the last time she took to Steamboat Ski Area on anything but Telemark skis. She and a friend spiced up a day on the slopes last year by spontaneously switching their equipment, landing her in Alpine gear. Other than that, it’s been all Tele for more than seven years, a streak that shows itself in her success. McKinstry, 17, who moved to Steamboat from Nevada at age 12, switched to Telemark skiing when she was just 10 years old after being inspired by her parents. She hasn’t looked back, or locked her heel, since. And freeing her heel has fueled greatness. McKinstry tore up the slopes in February, taking third place at a Telemark World Cup event on her home mountain in Steamboat, and she says she loves the competition, friendships and speed that come along with Tele racing. Her participation in the sport has given the teenager a reason to visit Europe multiple times and has helped her develop a worldwide network of friends. And she’s only getting started. “Five years from now, I want to be winning World Cups,” she says. “I want to be the best in the world.” lofty ambition: Madi Mckinstry says she wants “to be the best in the world.”

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Joel reiChenBerger

Best Telemark Skier, male: Mike Contois

Tele evangelist: Ski instructor Mike Contois continues to convert customers into free-heelers.

Like so many others who call the Yampa Valley home, what was supposed to be a short stopover in Steamboat Springs turned into a lifetime for Mike Contois. Contois, 39, first moved to Steamboat 19 years ago during a break from college. After returning to finish his degree, he spent a week working at the Chicago Board of Trade but couldn’t stand it and moved back to the mountains. Steamboat was more comfortable, he says, and so were Telemark boots. So he abandoned fixed-heel skiing and the Windy City and hasn’t looked back since, becoming the best Telemark skier in town, according to our voters. Contois teaches skiing at Steamboat Ski Area and says 90 percent of his lessons are for traditional Alpine skiing. Some customers, though, start asking questions about his free heel devotion, with more than a few coming back to learn. “A lot of them have converted and love Telemark skiing now,” he says. “It’s exciting to pass that passion on.”

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Best Ski Instructor: Nancy Gray

no Gray area about it: nancy Gray loves her job.

Sure, skiing every day is nice, says Nancy Gray, voted the town’s best ski instructor. That’s the most obvious perk that comes with being an instructor on Mount Werner. She skis so many days each season that she doesn’t bother to count — Alpine while teaching five days a week and Telemark with her husband on the weekends. The best perk, though, is the relationships. Teaching on the mountain for 40 years has helped Gray establish a truly world-wide network of friends. For some families, she’s on her third generation of instruction, having guided everyone from grandparents to their grandchildren. She’s gone on vacation with clients, attended their weddings and had them at her family’s weddings. “It’s the best,” she says. “My best friends are the people I get to ski with.” Gray, 59, is as close to Steamboat royalty as they come. Born and raised here, she grew up skiing Howelsen Hill in the first Little Toots classes, taking lessons from former 10th Mountain Division members. Her brother, Moose Barrows, is one of Steamboat’s most beloved Olympic legends. After skiing on a scholarship at University of Colorado, she returned home to teach, and she says waking up for work rarely has been hard. As for her favorite runs, she says she has a few. “Hot Cakes, it just makes me giggle,” she says. “I also really like Vertigo and Swinger, though it was better when it had trees.” No matter where she is on the mountain, she’s happy as long as she’s teaching and skiing with clients. “People from all over the world have given my family opportunities that I never could just because they care,” she says. “I’ve learned so much from them.” Just like others have learned from her.

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Best Snowboard Instructor: Abigail Slingsby

“It’s What I Do”: Steamboat Ski and Snowboard School instructor abigail Slingsby, right, training new instructors.

While everyone else was enjoying the record-breaking 27 inches of snow Feb. 20, Abigail Slingsby could be found on the magic carpets at the base of the ski area doing what she does best. “I love teaching,” she says. “It’s what I do.” Slingsby is from Perth, Australia, and she started her snowboard instructing career at Whistler Blackcomb in 1998. She then landed a job teaching in Steamboat with the intention of being here for a single season. “You can’t beat the snow,” says Slingsby, who is in the midst of her 11th season at Steamboat. “I’m good at my job. I enjoy it. I have a passion for it.” She says she gets a lot of satisfaction out of progressing students to that “aha moment” when things finally click. Slingsby says being an instructor takes a lot of compassion and patience, but she doesn’t mind holding a student’s hands so he or she can learn the sport. “I’m the girl that goes out on a powder day holding a person’s hands,” Slingsby says. Off the slopes, Slingsby is working toward earning her education psychology degree, and she would like to someday work in an alternative school. “I want to work with those kids that need a little something different,” Slingsby says. But that’s a plan for the future. “I’m not ready to leave ski school,” she says. During the warmer months, Slingsby unstraps her board and puts on her cycling shoes. She works at Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare and teaches the women’s clinics offered by the shop. Slingsby used to race, but now she rides mountain and road bikes at least five times a week purely for the enjoyment — almost as much enjoyment as she gets from teaching snowboarding.

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fun Times, Serious Cause: artwork from the annual Bust of Steamboat fundraiser.

Best Fundraiser: Bust of Steamboat Bejeweled bras and bedazzling busts are all part of the package at the annual Bust of Steamboat fundraiser, the top philanthropic event in Steamboat. Held every October and sponsored by Yampa Valley Medical Center, the event — for which artists submit decorated bras auctioned to the highest bidder — raises funds for the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project, established in 2000 to help local women prevent and treat breast cancer. In addition to hosting an artwork display and auction, the event, which last year drew more than 300 people and raised more than $40,000, features live entertainment, hors d’oeuvres and wine in a fun, festive atmosphere. “Last year was our 10th anniversary, which

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helped attendance,” organizer Deb Curd says, adding that attendees also vote for the Bust of Show by parting with $1 bill ballots. “Plus, we recruited some high-end artists to raise the bar on what we auctioned off.” So far, funds from the event have helped the Awareness Project pay for more than 250 mammograms, a custom recliner for the hospital’s chemotherapy room, refurbishing wheelchairs, COBRA payments, wigs and travel costs for treatment. “What makes it unique is that 100 percent of the funds stay in the community,” Curd says, crediting her all-volunteer staff for the fundraiser’s success. “It’s a great event for the community that always sees a strong turnout.”


Complete Best of the Boat Community results Best Artist

1. Lance Whitner 2. Susan Schiesser 3. Robert Dieckhoff

Best Band

1. Missed the Boat 2. Loose Change 3. Worried Men

Best DJ

1. Brian Alpart, DJ Also Starring 2. Melissa Baker, DJ MelRae 3. Kip Strean

Best Elected Official 1. Diane Mitsch Bush 2. Cari Hermacinski 3. Kevin Kaminski

Best Fundraiser

1. Bust of Steamboat 2. Ride 4 Yellow 3. Penguin Plunge

Best Golfer, female 1. DJ Edwards 2. Pam Vanatta 3. Michelle Avery

Best Golfer, male 1. Luke Brosterhous 2. Drew Sando 3. Butch Boucher 3. Jim Bronner 3. Tim Titus

Best Golf Hole

1. No. 10 at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club 2. No. 18 at Catamount Ranch & Club 3. No. 12 at Haymaker Golf Course

Best Golf Tournament

1. Moose is Loose Golf Tournament 2. Ski Town USA Golf Classic 3. Rally for the Cure

Best Kayaker, female 1. Sarah Piano 2. Sandy Buchanan 3. Jessica Townsend

Best Kayaker, male 1. Dan Piano 1. Barry Smith 2. Eugene Buchanan 3. Adam Mayo 3. Sam Smiley

Best Live Entertainment Venue 1. Strings Music Pavilion 2. Howelsen Hill amphitheater 3. Sweetwater Grill

Best Local Competition/ Athletic Event

1. Winter Carnival street events 2. Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series 3. Steamboat Marathon

Best Mountain Biker, female 1. Kelly Boniface 2. Amy Charity 3. Liana Gregory

Best Mountain Biker, male

1. Barkley Robinson 2. Nate Bird 3. Brad Bingham

Best Musician

1. Randy Kelley, Worried Men 2. Steve Boynton, First String Music 3. Mark Walker, Loose Change

Best Place to Work, less than 20 employees

1. Debbie Aragon State Farm Insurance 2. Alpine Bank 3. Lyon Drug Store

Best Place to Work, more than 20 employees

1. SmartWool 2. Yampa Valley Medical Center 3. Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.

Best Radio Station 1. 96.9 KBCR 2. 105.5 KFMU 3. 88.5 KUNC

Best Recurring Event

1. Steamboat Springs Free Summer Concert Series 2. Winter Carnival 3. Mainstreet Farmers Market

Best Runner, female 1. Angie Mangiardi 2. Jenny Fox 3. Amanda Grimes 3. Cara Marrs

Best Runner, male 1. Allen Belshaw 2. Nicholas Sunseri 3. Andy Picking

Best Ski Instructor 1. Nancy Gray 2. Mike Contois 3. Laraine Martin

Best Ski Patroller

1. Sharon Spiegel 2. Kyle Lawton 3. John “Pink� Floyd

Best Teacher

1. Grady Turner 2. Charlie Leech 3. Kelly Erickson 3. Tracy Bye 3. Micheale Koch

Best Skier, female 1. Caroline Lalive 2. Alli Williams Smith 3. Tamra Malczyk

Best Skier, male 1. David Lamb 2. Todd Lodwick 2. Kerry Lofy 3. Joe Kelley 3. Johnny Spillane

Best Telemark Skier, female

Best Snowboard Instructor

Best Telemark Skier, male

1. Madi McKinstry 2. Lorin Paley 3. Marla Bailey

1. Abigail Slingsby 2. Scott Anfang 3. John James

Best Snowboarder, female 1. Maddy Schaffrick 2. Erin Simmons 3. Yvonne Poirier

Best Snowboarder, male 1. Matt Ladley 2. Scott Anfang 3. Damon Butler 3. Bradlee Bates 3. Shawn Cole

1. Mike Contois 2. Pete Ogilvie 3. Barry Smith

Best Road Biker, female 1. Amy Charity 2. Kelly Boniface 3. Jody Gale

Best Road Biker, male 1. Barkley Robinson 2. Scott Schlapkohl 3. Matt Charity

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ToM roSS

tom ross rememberS

no matter what the season holds, one thing’s for sure: The transition to summer will happen sooner or later.

Snow today, hot tamale W

e all knew that eventually the winter of 2011-12 would produce some memorable powder days. But Deep Presidential Monday with a single-day record of 27 inches of uber-fluff overnight? And before that, a heartshaped gift box with a giant red ribbon on Valentine’s Day? As of Feb. 8, Steamboat had tallied a paltry 110 inches of snow. Not for the month, but for the season. Exactly one week later, that longtime local number had grown writer Tom ross has to 139 inches. There’s called Steamboat nothing like 29 inches home since 1979. of cold powder in a week to warm your Valentine’s heart. Even better, the total had jumped to 207 by March 1. If there is one truism about Steamboat’s climate, it’s that the weather tends to get in a rut and stay there until you think it will never change. And at that moment, everything changes — say, hypothetically, when the mountain gets 34 inches out of a storm 128 | STEAmbOAT living | Spring 2012

predicted to drop 6. We can experience 15 mild, cloudless days in a row in late September and early October, followed abruptly one morning by full-on winter. It might snow steadily until Nov. 30, only to see the first two weeks of December revert to bluebird skies. So, we’re accustomed to extremes in weather, but the past 18 months have set records for wild swings. If this is what climate change is going to be like, unhook me from the bungee line, please! Steamboat residents won’t soon forget the winter of 2010-11, when we were blessed with more than 400 inches of Reddi-whip during the ski season for the fourth time in six years. What we didn’t know on Valentine’s Day 2011 was that the snow would keep falling above 9,000 feet well into May. On May Day last year, legions of never-say-quit skiers still were traipsing up a well-packed path on Vagabond to get to the powder on Storm Peak. A little later in the month, the bronze bust of Buddy Werner at the top of Buddy’s Run disappeared, with someone even adorning him with a snorkel. There was Nordic skate-skiing on corn snow on Rabbit Ears Pass on June 1, and

we skied a bona fide slalom race on the north side of the summit of Hahn’s Peak to celebrate Independence Day. But that was last year and this is this year. As I write this, none of us can know what the last eight weeks of the ski season hold in store. It could continue dumping right through April Fools’ Day and not let up until Mother’s Day. Or, by the middle of March, with the days getting longer and the shift to daylight saving time, we could be skiing in swimming suits. The lesson: Harvest the powder while the sun shines! And if you care enough to seek out the really high places, no matter what’s in store, I guarantee you can find a little patch of permanent snow in Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area where you can make some shaky tracks in August — even after a topsy-turvy winter like this one. The past two winters, each so different from the other, have reminded us of the great extent the rhythm of life here — be it skiing and riding, whitewater floating, inner tubing, irrigating, harvesting hay, flyfishing and many other rituals and pastimes — revolves around the rise and fall of our snowpack. ■

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roAd trip

From Mount Werner to

Machu Picchu Story and photos by Trish O’Connell

No Storm Peak Express: To get to the fabled Incan city, a local family relies on its legs. 130


roAd trip

The o’Connell family — from left, Chuck, kathleen, Meg, Mary, Trish and finn — celebrating their hard-earned reward.

Hiram Bingham — the man credited with “discovering” Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, in 1911 — was inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s famous clarion: “Something hidden! Go and find it! Go back and look beyond the ranges ... Lost and waiting for you. Go!” Following that same advice, my husband, myself, and our four kids — Mary, 14, Meg, 12, Finn and Kathleen, both 10 — decided to go for it ourselves and walk in the famous footsteps of the Incas. Located high in the Peruvian Andes, the legendary trail to Machu Picchu, Camino Inca, involves a four-day trek over high mountain passes and through dense cloud forests, breathtaking scenery and dozens of Incan ruins, with Machu Picchu waiting as the payoff. The mystical citadel sits at 7,710 feet on the saddle of a mountain flanked by sheer drops to the Urubamba Valley far below. Because the Spanish failed to find it, it was never sacked; it was simply abandoned and left for nature to reclaim. While its exquisite stonework has withstood the test of time, its purpose remains a mystery.

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If You Go Since 2002, strict regulations have been established to combat overuse of the Inca Trail. Prices have gone up and availability has gone down. A licensed guide must accompany all trekkers, and groups are limited to 16 people. A four-day trek with Peru Treks (www. costs about $450 per person, with discounts available for groups of six or more as well as students and children. The fee includes all transportation and meals, two guides and porters.


t’s exhausting just getting my kids to wear shoes, so dragging them thousands of miles away to “go for a hike” seems an insurmountable challenge. To help prepare before our trip, we study the Incas, an advanced culture wildly different from our own that lived where life is a constant struggle for survival. Their civilization only lasted a few hundred years, yet their legacy endures. Our trip begins in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco, which has preserved its unique character despite its tourism. Sitting at 11,000 feet, the vibrant city is a living museum of Peruvian history, with Spanish Colonial churches sitting on top of perfectly constructed Incan walls. We are welcomed at our hostel, located right off the main square, with mate de coca, an Andean tradition for dealing with high altitude. To acclimate, we spend two days exploring its lively streets, alleys and marketplaces and sampling such local concoctions as ceviche and pisco sours, a Peruvian margarita made from egg whites, lemon, sugar, bitters and white grape brandy. On Day Three, we’re picked up at 5:45 a.m. for a three-hour bus ride through the Sacred Valley, stopping at Ollantaytambo along the Urubamba River for chocolate chip pancakes and coca tea. The gorge is lined by agricultural terraces, and snowcapped peaks rise in the distance. Best known for its Incan ruins perched on an outcrop, the village is also laid out in a

Chuck o’Connell taking to the Incas’ ancient cobblestones.

spectacular grid of perfectly constructed city blocks that reveal the Incas’ expertise as planners and masons. At the trailhead, we see several other trekking groups getting organized. It is no longer possible to hike the Inca Trail on your own; you must go with an officially

sanctioned tour agency. Although this makes the trek more expensive, it also helps preserve the trail. Plus, it’s rather decadent; all of our food is provided and our tents are set up for us each night. We carry our own sleeping bags, personal belongings and water for the day.


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Stair Masters: at one point, the trail tallies 2,080 steps straight down.

Still, despite the hand-holding, anxiety about what we are getting into starts to creep in. One person in our group of 16 slips on the trail, twists his knee and is unable to continue. We show our passports at the check station while the porters weigh their packs to ensure that everything packed in is packed out and that their loads are equal. Then we cross a suspension bridge and begin following the ancient Incan stones, polished for centuries, marking our path. Today’s trek takes us 12 kilometers just past Wayllabamba, the last community on the trail. The sun reflects off jagged, snowy peaks, lush green foliage, vibrant orchids and scattered ruins. Lunch takes us by surprise. The porters have set up a tent complete with a table covered with white linen. Cold lemonade and food keep coming — chicken, trout, quinoa, potatoes, avocado salad, soup and fresh vegetables, all served family style. We also play with a litter of local puppies, our children campaigning for us to keep one. To break the ice and get to know one another, Meg suggests going around the table and saying our names and something special about us. The tactic works, and soon we feel more at

home with our fellow trekkers. We continue on and pass through a tiny village where local men are making chicha, a beer made from corn. We give it a try, but it’s tough to swallow. At camp, we thankfully remove our hiking boots and slip into Crocs. Sipping wine, we wander to a field where the porters are playing soccer. The field resembles roadbase and the goals are rusty, but the level of play is amazing. The kids are invited to join near the end of the game. Back at camp, our guides cook dinner over an open fire in a thatched hut. Later, the cooks and porters will sleep here where it’s warm. Creamy rice pudding tops the meal off for dessert. After more visiting, everyone heads to their tents when the night turns dark. We awake to coca tea delivered to our tent at 6 a.m. We pack and head to a hearty breakfast of coffee, rolls, porridge, fresh fruit and fruit pancakes. Today is our most challenging hike with a long, steep climb to Warmiwanusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass. At 13,769 feet, it is the highest point on the trek. We climb endlessly and eventually stop for a snack break at a vista framed by the snowy peaks of Mount Veronica. Popcorn, sandwiches and coca tea give us

the boost to continue up countless steps (the Incas never invented the wheel, so steps are common). The kids race to the top, disappearing along with any concerns from our fellow trekkers about children slowing them down. We celebrate at the summit with a Toblerone bar. The kids feel the need to hike to 14,000 feet so they can add another fourteener to their list. Then we begin the steep descent. Eventually, the porters greet us at camp with sweet juice and a late lunch. There is time to relax and play cards. Over pisco sours, we find out more about our porters. They are all from the same region and don matching-patterned knit hats, a sign of their village. We try hard to remember all their names. Finn is feeling a little off after too much exertion at high altitude. Percy, our guide, makes him a horrible-tasting drink, which they make sure he finishes. He burps and is good as new. After dinner, we retire to our tents, exhausted. The third day of the trek is the longest, with two passes and many ruins to explore. We’re also treated to more steep and endless stairs. At one point, we count 2,080 stairs down, 33 carved into one boulder alone. The kids recommend building a zip line for all the descents. The trail winds through rain forests exploding with colorful flowers and eucalyptus. We walk along razor-sharp ridges with panoramic views and then descend into an

Incan tunnel carved in the mountain. Incan ruins appear out of rocks. Our last camp has more ruins as well as a trekker’s hotel, complete with a bar. We enjoy a cold beer with our guides and fellow trekkers. The final morning begins at 4 a.m. with a quick breakfast followed by huddling at the lodge with other groups. The gate to Machu Picchu opens at 5:30. We begin the trek in the dark, and it is the first time we feel crowded. Everyone is trying to get to Intipunku, the Sun Gate, for sunrise, and the hike takes two hours. Through the clouds, we decipher the outline of Huayna Picchu, a peak looming over the ruins, and see hints of Machu Picchu. Soon, we arrive at the 600-year-old city long hidden by the jungle. As the clouds lift to reveal the city, we are rendered speechless. No amount of reading has prepared us for the view. I’m not sure if I’m more amazed by the city itself or its setting. Eventually, I realize it’s both; it’s built in such harmony with its surroundings that it’s truly mystical. The air seems to whisper with ancient prayer. Walking around the ruins, we ponder how something so beautiful could have been built so long ago without the benefit of the wheel or basic tools. Its walls are made from intricately carved granite rocks that fit together flawlessly like a giant jigsaw puzzle, enabling the structures to endure for hundreds of years in an earthquake-prone region. How the Incas transported these massive stones

Josh Kagan NMLS #279724

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roAd trip chiseled from the mountains remains a mystery among scholars even today. After our tour, we have a wonderful time exploring on our own, following a pack of llamas from place to place. Wherever you stand, you can see magnificent terraces slicing across outrageously steep cliffs, transforming mountains into suspended gardens. Another amazing wonder is hidden in every nook and cranny. Under the spell of this magical land, we can feel the Incas’ presence. At the end of the day, we catch the last bus to Agua Calientes, where our group bids farewell. After soaking in the hot springs, we take the train back to Ollantaytambo and find accommodations for $2. The next day, we explore the town before taking a cab back to Cusco. Our hostel now looks very five-star. It’s hard to imagine a path anywhere in the world with such a blend of natural beauty, history and mystery that leads to such a dreamlike destination. Completely hidden from view from below, Machu Picchu still retains its aura of mystery and magic. In the words of 20th century surveyor Frank Chapman, “In the sublimity of its surroundings, the marvel of its site, the character and mystery of its construction, the western world holds nothing comparable.” ■

Rob Pecoraro

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mount Werner Waimea: A cumulus curl turns into a massive wave (insert longboarder at lower left).

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pArtiNG shot

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Steamboat Living is published three times a year, in March, July and November by the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Steamboat Living magazines ar...

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