The year ahead of us is going to be a memorable one -- we already have the best snow we've had in seven years, and the hits will just keep on coming in 2004. Later this week, the agent for Mike Shanahan will contact Steamboat Springs High School Athletics Director Richard Lee about the Sailors' coaching vacancy. Shanny will make a big impression when he sings an a cappella version of "Anchors Aweigh" during his interview. The debut of the Web page www.Steam-butts.com in February will cause the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association to ban members from bringing cell phones equipped with digital cameras into the locker rooms. The new rules will be enforced after Cyber detectives with the Steamboat Springs Police Department gather evidence suggesting the photos of bare derrieres posted at Steam-butts.com were collected by a team of digi-punks who snapped illicit pics of Steamboat's exercising elite, both men and women, while appearing to be making innocent phone calls.
The Steamboat Ski Area will record 40 days and 40 nights of snow beginning Feb. 20. The snow will pile up so high that the tops of the lift towers on the Burgess Chair will barely peek out above the drifts. The Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. will offer 15,000 frequent flier miles and a daily lift pass to anyone willing to work a 10-hour day on a shovel crew endeavoring to extricate the lift from the snow. More than 500 people will respond, and the lift will be back running through a narrow canyon of snow within 88 hours. A crew from Warren Miller films will appear to capture the first-known footage of a snowboarder throwing spaghetti air over a chairlift.
In June, the first direct commuter jet flight from Houston will arrive at Yampa Valley Regional Airport and all 50 passengers immediately will ask the Routt County Commissioners for political asylum. The expatriates from the land of humidity will begin opening new restaurants at an alarming pace. When Luther's Barbecue opens its 15th location -- and first outside of Texas -- in the new Wildhorse Marketplace, it will represent Steamboat's 143rd restaurant. That will mean that in a town of about 9,500 permanent residents, there is one restaurant for every 66 residents and one in 25 people is employed in a restaurant.
July will bring the return of the annual cattle drive down Lincoln Avenue. A sudden electrical storm will boil up over Emerald Mountain, and a flash of jagged lightning will precipitate a stampede. Without thinking of his own safety, City Council President Paul Strong will push the F.M. Light & Sons plastic horse replica into the middle of the street. Leaping astride the steed, Strong will head off the bawling dogies. This act of heroism will earn Strong an invitation to appear on "Larry King Live," where he will be billed as America's foremost cowboy mayor. Strong will begin affecting cowboy mannerisms and wearing a pearl gray Resistol to preside over City Council meetings. When confronted with a dilemma, Strong will increasingly resort to cowboy wisdom, for example: "No matter what the problem is, it's still a horse." This folksy approach will solve many of the city's problems.
August will mark the first appearance of Triple Crown softball tournaments at the new ball complex at Catamount Resort. With 16 new diamonds, all under the lights, tournament director Dave King will be appeased and sign a 50-year contract to keep his event in the Yampa Valley. Cordillera Group will develop new home sites on Mount Baldy and experience tremendous success marketing "The West's First Mountain Luxury Softball Community."
Finally, in late November, taping will begin for a new reality TV show based in Steamboat. The show will be given the working title, "Bachelorette Snowboarder Grrrl."
A half dozen single men from Steamboat will be chosen to woo "Betsy," and will be led to believe she is a fearsome mountain woman who rides all day, then works with the snowmaking crew at night before cycling home on a mountain bike with studded tires to her yurt on Cow Creek. In fact, "Betsy" is a Yale University doctoral candidate in sociology researching her thesis: "Socially Disorganized Behavior Among Single Males in a Mountain Town: Myths and Modalities."
The producers never get to spring their big surprise on the unsuspecting snowboarder dudes. The show will fall apart when none of the guys shows up on the fourth day of taping because it's an epic powder day.