Tom Simmins

Photo by Matt Stensland

Tom Simmins

Locals 2012: Tom Simmins

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Are You a Local? Quiz

Take Steamboat Living’s simple quiz to help determine whether you’re a cheechako or a sourdough when it comes to your tenure in Steamboat.

1. White out is used to:
A. turn legs into jelly
B. correct mistakes on a term paper
C. warm up your legs on the first run
D. A and C

2. Three current postal clerks’ names are:
A. Don, Tom and Ron
B. Fred, Hank and Harriet
C. Julie, John and Norbert

3. Locals used to gather atop Thunderhead in the early morning for:
A. advice from Billy Kidd
B. free coffee/mimosas
C. rope drop

4. I try this ski parking sequence, in order:
A. tiny lot below Knoll Lot, Ski Time Square, Knoll Lot, Meadows Lot
B. Meadows Lot, Knoll Lot, Ski Time Square
C. rodeo grounds, City Market, Wildhorse Meadows

5. Drink out of the Lithium Spring and you may get:
A. the trots
B. a euphoric feeling
C. a ticket
D. algae in your teeth

6. The original name of the Yampa River was:
A. Bear River
B. Steamboat River
C. Anything Town USA River
D. Billy Kidd Brook

7. The original hospital in town now is:
A. a medical marijuana dispensary
B. Old Town Pub
C. Old Town Hot Springs
D. a tattoo parlor

8. The following people attended Perry-Mansfield:
A. Dustin Hoffman, Julie Harris and Lee Remick
B. Justin Bieber and Justin Timberlake
C. Marilyn Monroe

9. Touch the Buddy Werner statue atop Mount Werner and you’ll get:
A. arrested
B. good luck
C. cold fingers

10. The following Broadway musical resulted from Agnes de Mille square dancing in a schoolhouse in Hayden:
A. “Grease”
B. “Oklahoma”
C. “West Side Story”

11. The word “Yampa” comes from:
A. a flowering, edible root that grows along the river
B. the founder of town, Herbert B. Yampa
C. an Indian greeting

12. The real name of today’s Lighted Man is:
A. Tom Hanks
B. Jon Banks
C. Claudius Banks

13. The name of our local mountain range is:
A. Park B. Elk
C. Zirkels
D. Never Summer

14. These bands played at the Inferno:
A. Dave Matthews, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Sonia Dada
B. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Taj Mahal and the Suburbs
C. Grateful Dead, Jethro Tull and Charlie Daniels

15. The original name of Steamboat Ski Area was:
A. Billy Kiddville
B. Storm Mountain
C. Grouse Creek
D. Wally World

16. The old Routt County license plates started with:
A. ZY
B. YK
C. WZ

17. Lincoln Avenue is so wide because:
A. it was designed to fit Hummers and Lincoln Navigators
B. it was used to drive cattle to stockyards
C. high school tuba players needed more room at Winter Carnival

18. The train depot once was one of the largest:
A. cattle shipping centers in the West
B. facilities to host Cabaret
C. coal-transfer stations in Colorado

How did you score?
5 points for each correct answer (90 total)
80 to 90: veritable John Crawford
70 to 79: Billy Kidd
60 to 69: five-year ski bum
50 to 59: came for the winter, stayed for the summer
Below 50: just visiting

One step into Tom Simmins’ office is all it takes to see why he loves where he’s at.

Two old pictures of Steamboat Ski Area hang on one wall and a retro skiing illustration on another. There’s also a map of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks, of which he’s climbed 31 of the 51; a signed picture of boyhood favorite Pete Rose (ask him about Game 7 of the 1975 World Series); and, closest to him, a collage of family photos, most of which are in the outdoors.

While all are a testament to his love for the outdoors, family remains the most important reason Tom has been here for 23 years.

“This is the happiest I’ve ever been,” says Tom, a vice president for Resort Group. “It’s the best my family has ever been. We’ve succeeded in raising two kids in a small town, and I’m making a decent living. Things couldn’t be better.”

Tom, 55, always has been an adventurer. He grew up in Dayton, Ky., just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. When he turned 18, he and a buddy hitchhiked to California. On their way, they went through Colorado. “When I got home, I packed my stuff and went west,” he says.

He worked several seasons at the Grand Canyon before meeting his wife, Mary. He spent time in Boulder, Colorado Springs and Telluride before the two settled in Colorado Springs in 1981.

Eventually, the couple had two children, Emma and Natalie, and Tom realized that Colorado Springs wasn’t where he wanted to raise them. They had been taking trips to the mountains for five years, trying to find a place to settle down. Glenwood Springs was in the running, but in 1989, Tom received a call that the Sheraton was looking for someone to manage a restaurant in Steamboat.

“When Mary saw Steamboat in the summer, it was an easy sell,” he says.

Tom has worked at Resort Group since 2005 and has fallen in love with everything outdoors as well as the Steamboat community, as illustrated by his volunteer work with Mainstreet Steamboat Springs and maintaining Eagle Scout Park.

“He’s like my rock,” says Tracy Barnett, Mainstreet’s manager. “He just really gets it. He really loves this place.”

As far as he’s concerned, Steamboat has given him everything he ever wanted and more. “You couldn’t ask for a better town,” he says. “I don’t want to hear people talk bad about Steamboat. If you do, you’re not seeing this town.”

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