Summer Resorts 2000--Southern Rockies, Steamboat, Colo.

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Steamboat has built its reputation around the image of cowboys riding through flank-deep snow, but summer is the best time to sample the area's ranching heritage. That's when the ProRodeo is in full-swing and pickups outnumber SUVs on Main Street. It's a magical time: The fields and peaks are a spectacular emerald green, the Yampa River runs high, and the vast networks of mountain bike trails are primed for riding. Bikers who enjoy the burn of the climb can pedal a number of well-marked trails to the 10,585-foot summit of Mt. Werner. Those who prefer the thrill of downhill can buy an all-day lift ticket and then hop the Silver Bullet Gondola for as many screaming descents as the body can handle. Cool off by tubing down the Yampa River. Prefer your action a bit shorter on adrenaline? Grab a rod and cast for trout in the Yampa or one of the local lakes. There are also two 18-hole courses within a mile of the resort's base: the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. championship course at the Sheraton Resort (970-879-2220) and the 238-acre Haymaker Golf Course (970-870-1846). Come July and August, get your fill of events. The town hosts a half-dozen free Concerts on the Courthouse, a hot-air balloon and crafts festival, plus the Strings in the Mountains series¿ and that's just a start.

DON'T MISS A trip on the gondola to mid-mountain for a Sunday brunch at Hazie's.

BEST DEAL The Family Getaway package includes three nights' lodging, a soak in the Hot Mineral Springs Pool, a ride up the Silver Bullet Gondola, admission to the ProRodeo and a full day at the Steamboat Kids' Adventure Club. Call (800) 922-2722, or visit www.steamboat-ski.com