Tom Ross: Steamboat gaining traction as Dog Town USA |

Tom Ross: Steamboat gaining traction as Dog Town USA

Tom Ross

— Is it my imagination or does Steamboat aspire to becoming "Anything and Everything Town USA"?

Steamboat Springs long has been known as Ski Town USA and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club actually registered that trademark in 2000, so nobody can usurp our claim. Now, of course we are Bike Town USA, and increasingly this notion of Steamboat becoming Dog Town USA is gaining traction.

What's next? Subaru Town USA? River Tubing Town USA? Fireworks Town USA? (Does anyplace this side of Disneyland have more pyrotechnic displays a year than Ski Town USA?).

You probably recall that Dog Fancy Magazine proclaimed our town to be Dog Town USA in July 2013, in spite of the fact that our sole dog park can be buried in snow from the beginning of October into the middle of May. That may be fine for Malamutes but ask any schnauzer how he feels about it and I guarantee you he will bark at you in response. Of course, schnauzers never stop barking anyway.

Dogs are beginning to take over this town.

Steamboat has a grocery store that accommodates well-behaved pooches and we are home to at least one ski shop with a black Labrador for a mascot. There also is a sandwich shop and a record store in the ‘Boat where dogs are permitted to hang out.

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And yes, dogs who hike up to Thunderhead with their humans in summer are allowed to ride down the gondola. Dog Fancy forgot to mention that important detail.

Unfortunately, our community did not think to trademark Dog Town USA, and other mountain towns are trying to steal our kibble.

Outside Magazine is piling on the dog pile this month and has ranked Steamboat the fifth best town in America for dogs, right behind Portland, Ore., in first, Crested Butte, San Francisco, Calif., and Seattle, Wash.

There are two other Colorado mountain towns on Outside's list of best towns for dogs: Vail and Durango. Durango makes good sense to me. But I've heard that Vail only allows purebreds in the town limits, and any dog not wearing a rhinestone collar is subject to a fine.

If there is any individual in Steamboat responsible for this whole Dog Town movement, it may be 2003 Steamboat Sprigs High School graduate Kyle Nelson, who is the sales manager for a local company, Spiffy Dog. Nelson admits to having cultivated Dog Fancy to raise awareness of his hometown and his company, which makes fast-drying air collars, leashes and harnesses for dogs that spend a lot of their time in deep snow in places like Dog Town USA.

Nelson, who lives in the county, said his Lab/St. Bernard mix, Juno, is one of the best fishermen in Dog Town USA. Juno might be the only local canine with a dog license and a fishing license.

I'm between dogs, but my next canine companion will definitely be a mutt. One of the best things about Dog Town USA is that it has a dog shelter with caring personnel and an active Humane Society.

And there is no truth to the rumor that there is a retired drug sniffing dog languishing unclaimed at the local pound.

This town loves dogs so much there is just a single pooch in residence in the animal shelter on Critter Court right now.

Whiskey is a hound/German shepherd mix who cannot be left at home alone for very long, so he's not for me. But if you are looking for a dog who knows how to open doors, Whiskey is your guy, according to the staff at the shelter.

Nelson said Spiffy Dog's fastest growing territory is the United Kingdom.

Is there any chance Liverpool could unseat us as Dog Town USA? Nah. That would be un-American.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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