If you are looking for a testament to the quality of life in Steamboat, it’s during this difficult time when we’re all having to learn to live within new constraints to staying safe and healthy. The good news? There are few places better to do that than Steamboat. For so many of us here in the Yampa Valley, our lives and values revolve around an active lifestyle, enjoying the outdoors, our families, and our small-town community. Nothing can change that.


The mountains, the natural beauty that surrounds us, doesn’t shut down. There are still plenty of ways to get out and enjoy it. In fact, it’s more important than ever to get plenty of fresh air and vitamin D—by far the best medicine. There’s plenty of space for everyone to get out and play six feet apart and then some. Miles, even. Despite these difficult times, the mountains are unchanging, and that’s what it’s all about.


Walk it off

Finding dry trails to hike and bike in spring can be tricky in the Rockies, where there’s more mud than flowers during the seasonally ambiguous months of April and May. Look no farther than the Yampa River Core Trail, a 7.5-mile paved bike path that meanders along the Yampa River. Its gentle rolling terrain makes it perfect for a walk, jog, leisurely stroll, or that first bike ride of the season. Go long or short, fast or slow; no matter what means you choose, moving your body and getting some fresh air is the way to go.

Hike it up

Just because there’s still snow on the ground doesn’t mean you can’t hike. In fact, well-trodden routes like those on Emerald Mountain and Spring Creek mean whatever snow is still left is well-packed enough that snowshoes aren’t required (though you may want to consider a pair of stabilizers, strap-on traction devices that make it easier to tread on slippery, icy or less stable terrain). Both hikes are town favorites because they’re relatively short (both routes are just under 4 miles and take around an hour, give or take). It’s the perfect amount of time to take that stuck-at-home break, get your heart rate up, and to clear your mind.


Give me some skin

There’s a reason uphilling (also known as Alpine Touring or skinning) is so popular. People love the ability to “earn their turns” by skinning up to ski down. It turns alpine skiing from a chairlift-riding leisure sport into a full-on fitness activity. Simply put, it’s a great workout. It also allows skiers to keep skiing even when the lifts stop spinning. Buffalo Pass and Rabbit Ears Pass are both popular wilderness areas that offer great terrain and north-facing slopes with powder stashes that can be found late into the season. As the locals like to say, “If there’s snow, always go.”

Go cross-country (without having to go far).

Nordic skiing is one of the most efficient workouts you can get as it requires balance, and both upper and lower body strength. While most groomed cross country ski areas are closed, the extensive network of trails on Rabbit Ears Pass continues to deliver ample snowpack and plenty of options from shorter, easier loops to longer, more challenging routes. This remote and vast wilderness area offers a true escape from the world, a quiet place where the natural beauty truly speaks volumes.


A river runs through it.

You don’t have to wait for summer to fish the Yampa. The lack of crowds in spring makes it an even more peaceful, solo experience. You can fish right in town or venture out to more remote areas like Sarvis Creek (south of Stagecoach) or try your luck on the Elk River out at the Christina State Wildlife Area north of town. There’s nothing like standing in a river to shift your perspective, and when you finally catch one—it’s totally off the hook.

Zoom you later.

The most important thing you can do when you are spending a lot of time at home is to move and breathe, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate (which is often the case in the unpredictable weather patterns of spring). Good thing several of Steamboat’s yoga and fitness studios are offering live classes on Zoom. It’s a great way to stick with your practice but also to connect with your community and to support those businesses who may be struggling to weather a whole new kind of winter storm. Just remember: social distance doesn’t mean you can’t come together—Steamboat style.

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Charlie Dresen 970-846-6435 or Charlie@SteamboatsMyHome.com