Chris Smith, and his wife, Guergana, are owners of Powder Pursuits in Steamboat Springs. The Smiths have operated the business at the base of Steamboat Ski Area the past 26 years and have recently purchased a space in The Steamboat Grand.

Photo by John F. Russell

Chris Smith, and his wife, Guergana, are owners of Powder Pursuits in Steamboat Springs. The Smiths have operated the business at the base of Steamboat Ski Area the past 26 years and have recently purchased a space in The Steamboat Grand.

Steamboat base area shops, bars to open

Businesses prepare for next week's influx of visitors

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Ski Town Wine & Spirits employee Peter Heitz checks his inventory as deliveryman Paul Worster brings in a cart of beer. The store plans to open Saturday in its location at The Steamboat Grand.

— Chris Smith said Thursday that, years ago, well before construction of The Steamboat Grand, he and a friend used to pitch backcountry snowboard trips by riding down a hill at the base of Steamboat Ski Area, in front of potential customers walking by.

Smith, longtime owner of the Powder Pursuits ski and snowboard shop, now owns his store’s location, as well — on that very hill.

“I’ve been leasing for 26 years,” Smith said. “Now we purchased this spot, and we’re here to stay.”

Smith is celebrating Powder Pursuits’ new location today, which he said is the formal grand opening of the space that’s been serving customers for about a week on Mount Werner Circle, in the bottom of the Grand. His wife, Guergana Smith, said staff worked frenetically to get the new store ready, often until midnight.

“Anybody with employees like this is blessed,” she said.

Chris Smith said the new Powder Pursuits offers locally unique ski, snowboard and clothing styles that could serve the market vacated by Ridesports and The Click, both of which closed in the past year. The store is offering specials on demos and rentals.

“We’re here to help the locals,” he said. “It’s all about lifestyle.”

The store’s celebration today is one of several business changes at the base area, which kicks into full swing next week with the beginning of the Fly Steamboat winter air service program and the arrival of ski-season visitors.

Next door to Powder Pursuits is Ski Town Wine & Spirits, which is set to open Saturday with specials on wine, beer and spirits and a free wine tasting from 3 to 6 p.m. Sommelier Patrick Houghton, formerly of Cellar Liquors in downtown Steamboat Springs, is a

partial owner of the new store along with Chad Fleischer, of Fleischer Sport, and Paul Gotthelf and Jeff Brausch, two Vail investors who own property in Steamboat.

The store was in a state of flux Thursday morning, when the move-in process was under way.

“It’s going to be chaotic this afternoon,” Houghton said, eyeing the piles of boxes sitting along the walls and coming in the door on hand-carts.

He didn’t mind the activity a bit.

“That’s the way it is — it’s life. It’s wine,” Hough­ton said. “I don’t complain about what I do.”

Neither does Scott Agnew, owner of The Powder Room lounge. Formerly located in Torian Plum Plaza, the upscale bar secured a liquor lic­ense from Steamboat Springs City Council this week for its new location in Clock Tower Square, below Steamboat Powdercats.

Agnew said he’s working with local building and planning departments and hopes to open in early January. He said The Powder Room’s new 3,000-square-foot location will have a 1,000-square-foot dance floor, a pool table and a liquor license that extends into the plaza for outdoor après ski in the spring.

“We’re looking to kind of expand upon our concept from last year,” he said. “We’ll probably be doing a lot more DJs.”

A few steps away in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort, The Lift owner Christy Patter­son said the “coffee shop with a bar” plans to start liquor service Wednesday, along with hours extended to 7 p.m. The Lift’s location formerly housed a Starbucks. The Lift opens at 6 a.m. daily and has a breakfast and lunch menu. Patterson co-owns Mountain High Catering with her partner, Olivia Murray, who handles food service at the City Cafe in Centennial Hall and at Howelsen Hill.

Patterson said The Lift serves Colorado coffee and will serve Colorado wines, liquors and beers.

“We’re really trying to stay very local,” she said.

Also this week, Chocolate Soup Pastry Cafe received a liquor license for its location in The Grand.

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