Singles mingle casually in Steamboat Springs on Cupid’s big holiday |

Singles mingle casually in Steamboat Springs on Cupid’s big holiday

Cindy DeRenzo works to put together a bouquet for a customer at Steamboat Floral on Wednesday morning. The local flower shop was bustling Wednesday as workers rushed to get those Valentine orders put together and out the door.

— Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers; it's for anyone who loves people. And there are at least a couple of gatherings planned this week for people who want to hang out but are unattached or temporarily ambivalent about romance.

Take, for instance, the annual Young Professionals Network Anti-Valentine's Day Party on Friday.

"Come celebrate your love/hate relationship with the holiday by hanging out with your fellow members and enjoying some drinks, appetizers and networking," the invitation reads.

Hmmm. There are many literary references to the subject of love. Surely there is one that fits the YPN Anti-Valentine's Day Party. How about, "Love is a many splendored thing?" No, that wouldn't work.

All right, then, maybe this one: "It takes a minute to have a crush on someone, an hour to like someone and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone." Ouch.

The YPN party takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Steamboat Base Club in Torian Plum Plaza. It's free for members, but anyone who has mixed feelings about Valentine's Day can mingle for $5.

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Jaleen Hartney, a relative newcomer to Steamboat Springs, also has found a low-risk approach to meeting new people on Valentine's Day. She will serve as hostess at the second meeting of a newly formed singles group, Simply Single in Steamboat, at 4 p.m. Thursday at Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 628 Lincoln Ave. (look for the table with balloons).

The timing of the happy hour gathering can be more comfortable for singles (Simply Single has no age limit) than the late-night scene, Hartney said.

“I can go to happy hour myself and have dinner at the bar and a glass of wine and not feel like I'm going to be threatened," she said. "It's a different vibe than late night."

Hartney visited Steamboat in September from her home in Florida on a house exchange and fell in love with the place. But she was eager to meet more active adults her age and started Simply Single on a social networking page called

The group isn't necessarily focused on dating, but it certainly isn't discouraged.

"I hate to put that stigma there," Hartney said. "I think what's meant to be will be. It's not a hookup thing. It's just a chance for people that are like-minded to meet in a safe environment. I could meet some new girlfriends. Would I like to meet some interesting men? Sure!"

So far, 16 people — with a good balance of men and women — have signed up. When someone goes to, the website detects the user’s location and suggests groups to join. By clicking on Simply Single, folks can see who current members are, see their photographs in some cases and read their comments.

Kathryn Muth, who lives in Kremmling, loves the town and her friends there, but they all are married and can't meet for a hike as spontaneously as she would like.

"I thought, 'It sure would be nice to get dressed up, go to Steamboat and have dinner,’" she said.

After the first meeting of Simply Single, she already has a sense that its members could serve as an extended family.

In the future, Hartney hopes the group will gather for dining and outdoor recreation.

One member posted online: “Grew up in Steamboat. Lived in Boulder for a while but just love it here too much. Love outdoor activities, good food and spirits."

A woman who just signed up Wednesday wrote: "I’m relatively new to the Boat, and it seems that everyone is married in this town! Glad to make friends with other active, single people. Looking forward to the next event."

Hartney said she celebrates her love for her children on Valentine's Day, but she also understands the comment about encountering so many married couples in Steamboat.

"Everybody wants to be loved, and it's hard when you're single to hang out with married people," she said. “It just makes you feel like you're not OK."

Simply Single is a new way for single adults to make new friends with few strings attached.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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