Dream Towns: Steamboat, Colorado
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In Steamboat, skiing and cowboying are intermixed. It’s a place where you’ll see horses pulling skiers down Main Street, where the resort’s ambassador sports a Stetson and the name Billy Kidd, and where a former World Bronc Riding champion organizes the Cowboy Downhill. Granted, it is a resort town-expect some glitz. But Steamboat’s far enough from Denver’s Front Range population to avoid the Range Rover day traffic, giving it a down-home aura that’s missing from less neighborly resorts. And it is neighborly here; people tend to stay awhile. Housing is affordable, the schooling’s good, and parades still tromp through town for homecoming. During Winter Carnival, you can even watch the world’s only cross-country-skiing marching band.
At 6,700 feet, Steamboat’s a town where sports transcend their seasons. This means you can escape for a $5 sandwich and two-hour lift ticket at the city-owned Howelsen Hill for lunch and then cast a nymph into the Yampa River after work. Move to the ‘Boat, and the chamber of commerce greets you with a welcome package as soon as you arrive, and postal clerks know you by name almost as quickly. As for nightlife, don’t expect Vail or Aspen. You won’t find the movie stars, just real people who prefer their champagne on the slopes.
BUSINESS MOST NEEDED: a country dance bar.
DON’T FORGET TO PACK: a swimsuit for the nearby Strawberry Park hot springs (Stetson-only after dark).