Tom Ross columns


Part-time Steamboat resident 'Banana' George Blair died Oct. 17 at 98

"Banana" George Blair began water skiing at the age of 38 in 1955 and took up snow skiing in Colorado in the 1960s. He continued barefoot skiing with the help of a boom extended from the ski boat until he was 92.

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Tom Ross: The never-ending search for great buys on rare items resumes in Steamboat this weekend

This promises to be a good weekend for estate sales in Routt County despite the dicey weather. Auctions and estate sales are a great place to meet people and find out what makes them tick.

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Tom Ross: Georgia family pulled up stakes and moved to Steamboat Springs in 1919

Visitors come to Steamboat Springs to ski, bike and hike. And sometimes they gather here to rediscover their pasts. The five surviving grandchildren of William “W.O.” and Lucile Wright were in town for a reunion this week and to learn more about their grandparents who came to Steamboat in 1919.

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Tom Ross: Nonagenarian love birds one of Steamboat's oldest living couples

For a couple to be in love for eight decades, they must have met in their teens and both boy and girl must have survived into their mid-90s.

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Tom Ross: Large trove of Steamboat memorabilia auctioned to highest bidders at Tugboat Grill & Pub

Auctioneers liquidated the collection of Steamboat’s unofficial history museum Wednesday. And with the dissolution of the trove of memorabilia on The Tugboat Grill & Pub's storied walls, the legend of Ski Town USA was diminished.

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Tom Ross: Restoring a 1959 farm implement that broke new ground in Routt County's Elk River Valley

In an era when air-conditioned farm tractors with satellite radio have become the norm, there’s something to be said for reconditioning a venerable agricultural implement like the self-propelled Hay Cruiser that Bill Fetcher put to work this summer.

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Tom Ross: Olympian Paul Wegeman recalls moments when course of Steamboat ski history shifted forever

The success Paul and Keith Wegeman experienced in the 1950s later would serve as a foundation for the modern generation of Nordic combined skiers from Steamboat, including Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane, who have had Olympic medals draped around their necks.

Tom Ross: Bike Week in Steamboat created lasting memories in some unexpected ways

As the cyclists splashed across the creek on Buffalo Pass northeast of Steamboat Springs, I noticed that the right leg of the fourth man in line ended in a shiny stainless steel prosthetic device.

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Tom Ross: Ski Haus owner Rod Schrage's retail roots in Steamboat date to '60s

Ski Haus owner Rod Schrage arrived on the scene early enough to see Steamboat Ski Area in its early years, when the original Christie and Thunderhead chairlifts were the only lifts on the mountain.

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Tom Ross: Steamboat audience hears how a posse caught up with train robbers near Parachute in 1904

In the excitement of the chase, Roll Gardner carelessly allowed his gun to get wet, and that almost became a factor in the fate of outlaw Kid Curry.

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Tom Ross: Canned green chiles could never compete with the freshly roasted version you can buy in Steamboat

If you haven’t sampled the mysteriously smokey flavor of a freshly roasted poblano chile, you are missing out on a tradition that stretches from Southern New Mexico all the way north to Colorado.

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Tom Ross: Small dogs make big splash at Routt County Fair in Hayden

Among the smallest dogs in the novice showmanship class was a short-legged Welsh Corgi named Roxy who was second to last entering the ring and whose presence in the show ring showed true grit.

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Tom Ross: Furniture maker's national reputation has roots in Routt County's Strawberry Park

Robert Erickson had access to an interesting period in Steamboat history in the late 1960s as the little ranching town with a small ski area in its backyard at Howelsen Hill tipped toward becoming a destination resort.

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Tom Ross: Colorado's mountains beckon to hikers from across the Western Slope

Some might argue that there is no need to leave Northwest Colorado to enjoy some of the best hiking in Colorado. But I find that I rekindle my enthusiasm for familiar hikes closer to Steamboat by taking road trips throughout the American West.

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Tom Ross: What happens when you cross a fox with a sightless poodle?

Phyllis Latham was all but certain that Rosie the blind cowdoodle had gone to that great roundup in the sky last month when at last she heard a soft scratching at the door. It was Rosie.