Ski Town USA is firmly rooted into Steamboat’s culture with many memories of true visionaries. Community members like Carl Howelsen and Buddy Werner left an incredible mark as they showed us how to take advantage of one of the Yampa Valley’s many perks. The skiing culture they created gave us many things including the necessity to find something else to occupy our time the other six months of the year.
Each year, the days of early spring start getting longer and the temperatures steadily increase until before too long the drips of snow melt become a very familiar sound. The steams and creeks overflow to only retreat again just a few short weeks later. The joyous memories of the ski season slowly wane with thoughts of green foliage, colorful wildflowers and the approach of summer adventures
With the warming days as invitations for us to explore the fresh air, complete with sights and sounds, the time of year brings true joy to any heart. That’s when our Ski Town culture morphs into something that only those of us lucky enough to spend some time here really, truly understand. The influence of people like Kent Eriksen and Jim Meyers take root. It’s when our heritage and identity as Bike Town USA becomes apparent.
Somewhere between the picturesque rolling hills along winding, the seemingly deserted county roads, the mountain single track offering expansive vistas accessible with only enough effort any style of rider is willing to satisfy, the exciting, adrenaline-fulfilling BMX track, jump lines and growing downhill park and the delightfully improved multi-use trail winding along a charming river through a little town that has just about everything else to offer a summer enthusiast, we find something that many believe and know to be a lot more than just another little ski town scene.
The thing about Bike Town culture is that it goes beyond two wheels. It’s a way of life that says, ‘it’s alright if it takes a little longer to get there, we’ll enjoy the journey and take in what this beautiful place has to offer.’ It’s picking a path through our short lives that may not be the quickest or easiest but is certainly the most fun.
Sure, one could go somewhere else to find the very best of this, or the very best of that, but where can we find another place that could offer us what we have right here close by? In Steamboat, we’ve got something of everything and it’s all pretty darn good. In fact, most other places wouldn’t hesitate to trade for any one of our many amenities.
This is what it means to be a Bike Town. People are brought together not only by their chosen mode of transportation but also by the way in which they enjoy themselves. It doesn’t always have to involve handlebars and a pair of pedals. Nevertheless, in those settings where it doesn’t, we’re all still seeking the same things: a good time with friends and family, a great way to stay in shape or a way to pass just another weekday evening after work with the sensation of being outside with a warm breeze and maybe a few giggles along the way.
Last fall, voters of our humble town made a decision to make one of the most significant investments in our future that, with time, will rank among those that built ski jumps and constructed ski lifts. It’s important to remember that for the time being skiing is becoming an art form fewer and fewer people are learning and taking part in. In a world that’s faced with challenges that force us to think about how we move around, many more people are choosing an invention that offers no emissions when you use it while providing a healthier lifestyle with fun and enjoyment for the whole family.
Our direction as a place to have fun during the summer is clear, and we have an incredible future in front of us.
Tyler Goodman is executive director of Bike Town USA.