On Tuesday night in Centennial Hall, we heard many spirited debates for and against the Steamboat Springs Trails Alliance initiative. I have called Steamboat home for more than 20 years, and although I am a cyclist, I am first and foremost a father and a businessman. The lodging tax is to be distributed to the programs that the committee feels will generate the largest increase in lodging sales and generate more tax dollars for the city, that the city can then reinvest in other programs.
I am a huge fan of the arts, the Chief Theater, rodeo, Howelsen Hill fields, the Yampa River, etc., and I think we should try to support them all as a community. The fact is, however, that Steamboat is what it is today because of the ski area and the tourism that it has generated. We are a ski town. Our ranching and Western heritage are great, but Walden and Craig have great Western heritage, too. Walden and Craig, for example, have beautiful mountains, rivers, rodeo, elk hunting, etc., but take a look at their downtowns. The Trails Alliance project can have an equal impact on the arts, downtown economy, rodeo, etc., as skiing has done. Let’s be real, you are not going to book an arts trip to Steamboat Springs, just like you would not book a ski or cycling trip to New York City. A rising tide will float all boats.