MaryBeth Checkai: I love Steamboat

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I had my dream come true when I spent three months in Steamboat Springs in 2010.

Unfortunately, I was yet another unemployment statistic from Wisconsin. I decided to find out what it would be like living in a ski resort area and look for employment. I loaded the car with friends and family and drove to Steamboat. A ski resort rep told me that Steamboat would be the resort she would recommend to live because it is family oriented, offers a friendly atmosphere and is a great place to ski.

Funny thing, the friends who came with me didn’t even ski or love snow. 

After an exhausting drive during a major snowstorm, we finally turned off Interstate 70 and toward Steamboat. A degree of panic set in as the land was devoid of anything that resembled a ski mountain, but instead was full of cattle roaming everywhere. Finally, a backdrop of large mountains appeared and I knew we had finally arrived.

My luck multiplied for three months as the resort broke records for the most snowfall. It was a winter wonderland. That luck further multiplied as I met very friendly and helpful people during my three-month stay.

My daughter attended Laurel Street Preschool. The teachers were all so happy, friendly and creative. My 5-year-old talked about all the fun she had — a Valentine’s dress-up day including pictures with a live pirate, a St. Patrick’s Day parade to McDonald’s for shamrock shakes and a pajama party where even the teachers dressed up. What a fun learning atmosphere for children.

Then, there was the concierge for Pioneer Ridge, a man named Ryan, who never had a bad day. Despite my numerous calls during my three-month stay, his voice always sounded like he was smiling, and he was always helpful and pleasant to work with.

Then, there was that beautiful library. It is unlike any library I have been in. I found myself raving about a library of all things to people back home. I told all my friends how I loved going to this library, sometimes even instead of skiing. The ambiance was so inviting — a colorful fish tank when you first walk in, chairs in the shape of hands calling you to sit awhile, a very educational children’s reading area with beautiful murals of children’s fables and even a Lego day for children.

Then, there was my ski instructor, Bill, who was so patient with me. I am not quite yet to his skiing caliber, except in my dreams.

If there is any skier or mountain lover out there who has not experienced Steamboat Springs, I say, why wait? You will not regret it. They told me that the Steamboat Springs fever would stay with me and call me back. They were right. Even my good friends who are not skiers or snow lovers want to revisit this great place.

I will soon be returning for another glorious time in Steamboat this year, and I can’t wait.

Happy 50th anniversary.

MaryBeth Checkai

Milwaukee, Wis.

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