Steamboat Springs fitness camp hoping for nationwide appeal
November 14, 2013
Steamboat Springs — The seed came from someone else. Sarah Coleman said she got a call asking if she'd be interested in hosting a two-week fitness camp.
After saying “yes,” her first reaction was terror. Just how demanding would those two weeks be on her? Could she possibly pull this off without quitting her job? Was this the worst idea ever?
But the seed grew, taking hold the way entrepreneurial ideas always do: with enthusiasm and optimism. Now Coleman, animated and grinning, overflows with excitement when she talks about her newest business venture: a destination fitness camp offering top-tier amenities and staffed by some of Routt County's finest fitness experts.
"We're trying to offer destination fitness camps here in Steamboat," she said. "Not only are we selling ourselves as a fabulous, overqualified staff, we're also selling Steamboat. It's such a great place, a fitness-minded community. Who wouldn't want to come and work out in an environment like this with the support of healthy, fit people?"
For Coleman, the camp that developed from that first phone call was the proof she needed that her new business, A Weight Lifted, was the start of something great.
Those initial emotions of being overwhelmed vanished when Coleman reached out to others she knew in Steamboat's fitness community, each of nearly a dozen women she worked with bringing different expertise and combining to offer a full repertoire of workouts and choices for clients.
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They came through, putting on the camp with catered meals, busy days of activity and, when the sweating was done, a happy group of men who booked that first camp.
They were happy enough, in fact, that their wives scheduled a second camp several months later.
"The guys came in the fall, and it was a lot of hiking, biking and really using the outdoors," Coleman said. "Then the women came, and it was winter, and we had snowshoes planned and cross-country skiing."
That variable nature of the camps is exactly what A Weight Lifted hopes to capitalize upon. Coleman has been a personal trainer for years with Steamboat's CrossFit gym.
Lindsey Barr is a registered yoga trainer and is on board. Valerie D'Ambrosio is a personal coach, Cara Marrs a registered dietitian and nutritionist, Marci Mattox a spinning instructor, Jules Meeker a Pilates instructor and Kristen Race an author and motivational speaker. Steamboat Olympic Alpine skier Caroline Lalive Carmichael also is all in and offered ski lessons to several of the women at one of the early camps. Her husband, Olympic bronze medalist Nelson Carmichael, stepped in with a bumps lesson for another client.
"The first one, none of us really knew what to expect," Lalive Carmichael said. "It went really well, though, and the feedback we got was great. It's all pretty cool because this is really Sarah's vision, and she's assembled a great group of helpers in us. We're just excited to be a part of it."
Coleman sees a varied client base with those looking for a “Biggest Loser”-type weight-loss experience making up the largest segment. Plenty of other business could come from corporate retreats for companies local and otherwise as well as shorter weekend camps focused on jump-starting fitness routines.
The longer she talks about, the more potential clients she sees. The longer she dwells on it, the more excited she gets.
"I know it will just take one camp to get this rolling," Coleman said. "It will take off. We may be doing five or 10 of these a year in the future. The demand will be that high. It's just getting them here that's hard. Once they're here, it will spread by word of mouth."
Rates for January’s camp start at $1,725, including lodging but not airfare. For more information, visit http://www.aweightliftedfitnesscamp.com/.