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Steamboat Magazine

Secret Splendors of Spring

05/23/2023 07:00AM ● By Deborah Olsen
(Columbine flowers are a sure sign of spring. Photo by Deborah Olsen)

Publisher's Note from Steamboat Magazine Home Edition 2023

Sagebrush tumbled down Main Street during mud season 30 years ago. It was the only thing moving once the ski area closed. 

Steamboat Springs has changed a lot since then, but one thing remains the same.  
The town empties out within a week of the lifts shutting down. The days when Steamboat appeared totally deserted may be gone, but even now, the entire atmosphere changes in spring. 

I get why people want to leave; when you’re a skier or rider, watching the snow  
melt is sad. 

I’m not going to lie – I wouldn’t mind a trip to the islands either. But on the other hand, the secret splendors of spring in Steamboat are enticing. Look past the voluminous mud and you will find the joys of the “shoulder season,” as marketing professionals would love to rebrand it. 

1. Fully stocked grocery shelves, especially during the springtime tropical fruit bonanza, when pineapples, coconuts and kiwis bring the islands to us.

2. Mountain trails, mostly snow-covered, but empty of everyone except the dogs and me.

3. Spring corn snow. The only limit is your stamina when it comes to how many miles you can cover on spring corn in the early morning.

4. Gardens, slowly emerging from their winter hibernation.

5. Glorious neon green aspen trees, with leaves so full of chlorophyll they shimmer.

6. Dining out without reservations. Many restaurants close, but those that stay open welcome locals.

7. Kayakers, who defy the cold, rocks, mini ice floes and whitewater to navigate the Yampa River, which looks nothing like the meandering summer stream of July and August.

8. Gravel rides. Spring is too early for mountain biking, but Routt County’s miles of gravel roads are best enjoyed before the heat and dust of summer.

9. Empty parking lots.

10. End of season sales.

11. “Cabaret,” Steamboat Creates’ annual talent show lampooning local politics and unforgettable faux pas.

12. Return of the snowbirds, friends who flee to warmer climates during winter.

13. Garage sales, which offer us a chance to exchange garden tools, kids’ toys and books, books, books.

14. Fields of columbine, glacier lilies and those little purple flowers that seem to be
their sidekicks.

15. The baby calves and little lambs that dot the hillsides all along the rural roads.

16. Most of all, peace and quiet. Ahhhh.

We hope your spring and early summer will be fabulous, whether you’re remodeling your home or biking over slickrock in Moab.

~ Deb Olsen | Publisher, Steamboat Magazine