Tuesday, July 05, 2011
If you aren’t in Steamboat, you should be. Today ends a great holiday weekend; but it is only 4 days until another great weekend.
In fact, you should probably purchase your plane tickets right now for this next weekend. We’re in the dead center of the two best weekends of the summer that Steamboat has to offer, in my opinion. This past weekend was 4th of July, and come Saturday, we’ll be celebrating summer with the Balloon Rodeo and Art in the Park.
Just as the newspaper stated, we gave visitors the best fireworks showthe state had to offer. As a local, I tend to be ‘spoiled’ and watch the fireworks from a home on some high vantage point, but this year, I realized the the tourists really do have the best seats. I watched from a grassy field next to the rodeo grounds amidst crowds of other onlookers; close enough that we could watch the cowboys saddle up their mounts take off into the arena. The city changed the fireworks show a bit from previous years and had them exploding from four different locations on Howelsen Hill; most years they erupt from two. Sitting on the field gave us the vantage of having the fireworks explode directly over top of us. I had to cover my ears and question if I was having a heart attack from the vibrations rumbling through my chest, and my nephew continually yelled “Boom BOOM BOOM!” (He’s almost 2, and it was his first show.)
The fireworks are probably an annual highlight of the 4th of July weekend, but the weather also makes it incredible. I spent one day rafting the North Platte for Bucking Rainbow, which was absolutely epic because of our long-lasting high water and 80 degree temperatures happening at the same time. In fact, our water is still high enough that tubers are not allowed to head down the river alone. (Bad for tubers, good for rafting!) I also enjoyed a great bike ride through town watching people stroll the shops and throw sticks for their dogs. Because it stays light so long, I even was able to do some rock climbing on Thursday after work. All of these were quite fun, but to be honest, the best part of my weekend was the skiing.
Wait, what? Skiing? That’s right. 80 degrees and skiing! It’s not exactly out your back door, but well worth the effort. While town no longer has any sign of snow (the very top of the ski mountain has a touch of white), North Routt still has plenty to ski on if you work for it. With a half hour drive from downtown to Clark and then a half hour 4-wheeler ride, I was able to get to Little Agnes(if this name sounds familiar, it is because we have a gear shop in town named after the peak’s big sister, Big Agnes). It was quite the adventure, and we must have looked rather silly hiking in our shorts (I actually hiked in a red dress to celebrate the 4th!). We left Steamboat at 5:30am, and even though it was only 10am when we summited,it was still ridiculously warm and my group wore an assortment of swimwear, shorts, and t-shirts for our 1500 foot ski descent. While the snow was a little slushy at the bottom and we had some exposed logs to circumnavigate, I can honestly say the snow was really quite fun, and probably in my top ten days of the season. How often is it 80 degrees and there is still snow!?
(PHOTOS COURTESY OF DALTON REED)
Little Agnes. Our hike in starts here!
Summer conditions for the hike in!
As mentioned, next weekend will host our annual Balloon Rodeo. Even if you absolutely hate getting up early, this is worth going to. Seeing the early morning sun shine through 50 hot air balloons as they lift off the ground is quite incredible. It’s another one that I would not take the ‘local’ approach and watch from far away. Being down on the field is really neat, and having them all lift off around you is even better. You can get your panoramic shots of the balloons from far away later; they all will move up valley eventually. I recommend riding your bike to this event; its a great transition to miss traffic on your way to Art in the Park. With dozens of vendors and all sorts of neat crafts, this event is one of my favorites. From wood carvings to metal sculptures to face painting, this event has something for everyone. If you’re grumpy and decide your family is dragging you along even though you ‘hate’ art, you can grab a chair and listen to some live music while snacking on sugar roasted almonds and a turkey leg.
Get moving….. Steamboat won’t wait for you but it will show you a great time if you make it here before the weekend!