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Tom Ross

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Tom Ross: Steamboat gaining traction as Dog Town USA

There is no truth to the rumor that there is a retired drug sniffing dog languishing unclaimed at the pound in Steamboat Springs.

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Tom Ross: Our ability to cook our own food is part of what defines humanity

New Year's Day marked the first time in many years that I had baked bread that required leavening, allowing the bread to rise, kneading it and allowing it to rise again.

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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: Author Preethi Burkholder to speak at Steamboat's Tread of Pioneers Museum

Author Preethi Burkholder will tell stories about St. Elmo, nearby Tin Cup and other ghost towns at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Tread of Pioneers Museum during a talk about her new book, “Ghost Towns of the Rockies.”

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Tom Ross: Yampa River has peaked in Steamboat, twin bare spots on Storm Peak have yet to merge

There is historic precedent for farmers and ranchers keeping an eye on the changes in prominent snow fields shimmering in the June heat in order to gauge how much longer they would have snowmelt to irrigate with.

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Tom Ross: Finalist for Colorado Book Award due in Steamboat to talk about future of water in the West

Of all the research author Stephen Grace did for his book "Dam Nation," the information that concerns him most is the revelation that we have been living in an era of relative water abundance in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

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Tom Ross: When a pocket dialer might have been preferable

In the case of this early morning phone call, the caller’s dog had experienced a close encounter with erethizon dorsatum — a porcupine.

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Tom Ross: Steamboat and Ouray have hot springs in common

I’ve always urged that it’s important to visit other mountain towns to gain new insights into the quirky, little burgh we happen to inhabit.

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Tom Ross: Steamboat Lake sheds its winter mantle of ice

Senior Steamboat Lake State Park ranger Brent Lounsbury said the campgrounds are muddy and there are many chores to do, including turning the electricity on, but the snow is going fast.

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Tom Ross: Former Steamboat resident Steve Smallwood publishes his poetry

When he lived in Steamboat in the 1990s, poet Steve Smallwood worked behind the desk of the old Harbor Hotel at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Seventh Street. He would bring his poems into the newspaper office, and we often would publish them as letters to the editor.

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Tom Ross: Pioneer Mesa County safecracker had his nose replaced by his left pinky finger

Earlier in his criminal career, John Homutoff lost his nose while trying to blow a safe with nitroglycerine. It was the same crime that landed him in San Quentin.

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Tom Ross: Latest books by Steamboat authors Bud Johnsen and Sam Garner are out

If you don’t recall Bud Johnsen from his days as manager of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, you definitely remember him from the Diamond BJ Dance Hall.

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Tom Ross: Ski racing great Buddy Werner could be a rapscallion after all

Along the horseback ride, Buddy Werner encountered a stray sheep and stopped to round her up. Werner heaved the sheep onto a packsaddle where the sheep rode serenely and became the trip mascot.

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Tom Ross: Lewis and Clark walked in the land of the great white bears

Anyone who wants to glimpse what it was like to travel among grizzlies and wolves when the Rocky Mountains truly were wild can get a feel for it by reading “The Journals of Lewis and Clark,” as compiled by Bernard DeVoto.

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Tom Ross: Hubby finds wife's lost wedding band on Steamboat ski trail with help from mouse

A visiting physician who broke her arm in a skiing accident consequently lost her wedding band only to have a ski patrolman and a tiny rodent help her husband recover the precious jewelry a day later.

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Tom Ross: Routt County pioneer rancher Ferry Carpenter made his own Western film to sell cattle

There’s an art to riding a cow pony across the swollen Yampa River during spring runoff when it measures 200 feet from bank to bank.

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Tom Ross: 100 lanterns will light the 100th Winter Carnival

Sarah Floyd hopes folks who decide to launch a Winter Carnival lantern will write personal wishes for future carnivals on them.

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Tom Ross: The future of ski areas is in the bag

The ski industry needs little feeder ski areas across the Midwest and Atlantic Seaboard in order to grow the sport, and those little ski areas are pioneering the use of air bags.

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Tom Ross: Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak will complete her final term from the Doak Walker Care Center

Throughout her five terms on the Routt County Board of Commissioners, Nancy Stahoviak has never failed to prepare well, and she always has displayed a keen analytical mind.

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Tom Ross: Author tells Steamboat audience he's hopeful the Colorado River will once again flow to the sea

The water-sharing arrangement calls for Mexico and seven Western U.S. states to replenish wetlands in the Colorado River delta of the Gulf of California.

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Tom Ross: Aspenite John Clendenin recalls glory days of pro mogul skiing in Steamboat appearance

Back in the wild and woolly days of freestyle, freedom stood for self-expression, creativity and flying through the moguls on the ragged edge of crashing.

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Tom Ross: In Routt County, your trash ain't nothin' but cash

The new mantra at Waste Management is to make the landfill the last resort after all possible value has been extracted from the “trash” that households and companies put in their Dumpsters.

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Tom Ross: Learning to wedel, and surviving the hot dog skiing era in Steamboat Springs

Steamboat veterans like Jon Smalley, Rusty Chandler and Suzie (Williams) Lord might admit to having once been hot dog skiers.

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Tom Ross: Memoirs by noted inventor recounts 1st hot spring soak

Big Jim Crawford was on his way home to his family's log cabin after a hunting trip in early winter 1876 when he discovered the hot spring bubbling up in Spring Creek.

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Tom Ross: Planned obsolescence is a pet peeve of mine

My problem is that the little plastic ring that holds the keyless entry fob on my key ring wore through. The manufacturer could have made it virtually indestructible. But if it had done that, it wouldn’t have a chance to sell me a new one.

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Tom Ross: 19th century Routt County pioneers relied on neighbors to survive the winter

During the long winter of 1984, the pioneer Suttle family ran out of eggs, meat and vegetables, and the Burgess family shared its food supplies.

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Tom Ross: Canada's 1st rope tow was copied outside Woodstock, Vt.

The trick with rope tows was to let the rope slip through your hands at first, then gradually increase your grip so that your skis accelerated smoothly.

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Tom Ross: Framers of the US Constitution gave us bewildering Electoral College

In Maine, electors for one of its two congressional districts — the one with the most lobstah — could go for Obama. The other district — comprising the woodsier, mooseier part of Maine — could go for Romney.

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Tom Ross: Photographer zooms in on Yampa Valley with presentation

Yampa Valley residents have a chance Sunday to admire images from John Fielder’s newest books while gaining renewed appreciation for the wealth of benefits millions of dollars in Great Outdoors Colorado grants have bought to the Yampa Valley.

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Tom Ross: Sandy calls out absence of climate change from debates

There is news this month that the Rocky Mountain region may be unintentionally exporting the pine beetle epidemic to the Eastern U.S.

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Tom Ross: November can sneak up on skiers and riders

The monster winter of 2010-11 started with a sizzling 90-inch November and that turned out to be the biggest month of a very memorable season. So look after your equipment, and don't get caught unprepared.

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Tom Ross: The presidential candidates are messin' with the blues

Thank goodness the candidates for president don’t have my cellphone number.

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Tom Ross: Routt County residents soon may debate wolf management

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the average male gray wolf is 73 inches in length and ranges in weight from 70 to 145 pounds.

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Tom Ross: Lovable Alex Karras wasn't so beloved in Title Town

The late George Plimpton wrote about his misadventures as a journalist trying to play quarterback for the Detroit Lions.

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Tom Ross: Ski pioneer Perry brought Howelsen to Steamboat

Marjorie Perry was an early member of the Colorado Mountain Club and was named to the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame in 1988. There won’t be another like her anytime soon.

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Tom Ross: It's not just moose and bears in Steamboat Springs

If it isn’t bears in this town, it’s raccoons acting like Dumpsters are luxury condos with a meal plan.

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Tom Ross: Finding power landscapes in remote Utah canyons and plateaus

When the harvest moon rises Saturday night, we could be waiting in the Devil's Garden along Hole in the Rock Road.

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Tom Ross: Bear overcomes locked Dumpster at townhomes

Have you ever gazed out your dining room window at the bear in your backyard and wondered, “Just how strong is that critter?”

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Tom Ross: Great bear story necessary for stature in Steamboat

It seems like every day, somebody in Steamboat Springs posts a picture of bears doing something previously unheard of, like entering the courthouse to register to vote.

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Tom Ross: Confusing call in Broncos' game underscores need to make referees full time

Blame blown gridiron calls on NFL owners who continue an archaic system of using part-time officials to manage a professional sport that is only becoming more complex.

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Tom Ross: Mid-September brings elk bugling season to the mountains

The eerie call of an elk bugling in the forest is one of the most primal sounds to be heard in the natural world, and it’s accessible right in our big backyard.

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Tom Ross: Choosing presidential nominee was vastly different in 1960

As every American voter knows by now, the national political conventions, once a mad flurry of political maneuvering, have devolved into carefully orchestrated pep rallies.

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Tom Ross: Tracing the steps of Routt County pioneer newspapermen

In his 1945 book, the "Tread of Pioneers," former Steamboat Pilot founder Charles Leckenby writes of fur trappers, outlaws and gold prospectors in early Routt County.

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Tom Ross: A raft trip to hell and back

Gates of Lodore west of Steamboat offer float through history on Green, Yampa rivers

On the first day of the trip, modern rafting parties discover upper and lower Disaster Falls, where one of John Wesley Powell's wooden boats was smashed in 1869.

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Tom Ross: South Routt homesteaders recalimed boots from outlaws in Yampa's early days

If you didn’t show up for the brown bag lunch Friday at the Tread of Pioneers Museum, you missed out on hearing Yampa historian Rita Herold tell the story of the shootout between the Bird boys and a couple of outlaws who had the nerve to steal their boots.

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Tom Ross: Pistorius' Olympic experience recalls Steamboat's Tom Southall

The passage of time will reveal that it was the combination of courage and grace exhibited by Pistorius that changed our culture, likely forever.

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Tom Ross: Sheridan Hotel welcomed horse-drawn stagecoach travelers to Steamboat in 1889

Some would argue that Steamboat’s hospitality industry began with its first European settlers, James and Margaret Crawford, who were known for welcoming strangers into their home.

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Tom Ross: Routt County families still use hand-cranked phones

Steamboat Today readers are telling me that some of the old hand-cranked wooden wall phones continue to be used as a personal communication system to link buildings on rural properties in North Routt.

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Tom Ross: Crank the phone and call me

It was 25 years after James Harvey Crawford built the first cabin here in 1875 that settlers, desperate for more regular news from the outside world, could place telephone calls.

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Tom Ross: Chris Botti pushes limits of soft jazz at Strings show

A different Chris Botti from the musician on the recordings showed up Friday at Strings, and what we got was even better than his best-selling soft jazz albums.

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Tom Ross: Water conditions tough on trout, even on Buff Pass

There’s something amiss this summer with the handful of beautiful little lakes clustered within a mile-and-a-half of the summit of Buffalo Pass.

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Tom Ross: Prime time on Buffalo Pass

The rain storms that crashed through the upper Yampa Valley during the weekend helped to relieve our drought symptoms and put a little charge in the river, but it’s another world above 10,000 feet on Buffalo Pass.

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Tom Ross: Strings pushes its own boundaries

Paul Thorn, who performed at Strings Music Festival on Friday night, is a naughty, naughty boy, and unabashedly so.

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Tom Ross: Gutenberg would fit in Silicon Valley

Have you ever stopped to ponder what Gutenberg would have thought of e-readers like the Nook, Kindle and iPad?

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Tom Ross: I wanna hold your ha-a-a-nd

Wednesday night’s immensely entertaining concert at Howelsen Hill by the Beatles cover band 1964 ... The Tribute took me back, way back, to the second semester of fourth grade and memories of a red-headed girl who lived in my neighborhood.

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Tom Ross: Like a cellphone cowboy

When I spied Whit Gates astride his horse behind the scenes at the ranch rodeo at the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena on Sunday, an old Glen Campbell song popped into my head and I couldn’t shake it for the rest of the day.

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Tom Ross: Curiously strong fire prevention

Really, it’s not my style to lecture my friends who are smokers. They already know the score on their health report cards. But this summer is different.

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Tom Ross: Can you saw what I see?

I’ve been running around town this month with an old garden shovel in the Thule box on top of my vehicle, but it’s not because I have a plot of snow peas growing in the community garden.

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Tom Ross: Now that's a family reunion

Everyone looks forward to having the relatives over for a barbecue. But 80 relatives? That’s how many family members Ruth (Schnackenberg) McClelland and her husband are hosting during the Schnackenberg family reunion Sunday.

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Tom Ross: Peek-a-boo cutthroats, I see you

Frigid weather or not, the rituals of early summer were in evidence above 9,000 feet; brilliantly colored cutthroat trout were slipping up tiny creeks barely 18 inches wide in their annual spawning run.

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Tom Ross: Learning to let go

Parents of this year’s crop of soon-to-be college freshpeople have no idea how good they’ve got it compared with the olden days. And by olden days, I mean BS and BF. That would be Before Skype and Before FaceTime circa 2004 to 2008.

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Tom Ross: Catch a reusable SoCal wave

Now that Los Angeles is close to banning plastic grocery bags in something like 2,700 stores, can designer reusable bags in the boutiques of Rodeo Drive be far behind?

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Tom Ross: A suite adventure in Room 102

You might want to make a note of this in case you are ever stuck in Green River, Utah. Room 102 at the Super 8 has a large, heart-shaped jetted tub smack dab in the middle of the floor.

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Tom Ross: A picture of Routt County veterans

Every year on Memorial Day, I pause to recall my grandfathers, both of whom saw combat in World War I. One fought in France, the other, improbably in Siberia.

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Tom Ross: Pioneer woman chased grizzlies

Have you noticed that the popular imagery of pioneer women in the American West doesn’t do them justice?

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Tom Ross: Workin' on pizza moves

Most of us have amusing stories to tell about our first jobs as teenagers. And if you’re like me, you associate those jobs, which marked your entry into the adult world, with a particular summer.

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Tom Ross: A Nitty Gritty ditty

When I read Thursday’s news release announcing Independence Pass would open early, I had a flashback to one of my favorite Nitty Gritty Dirt Band songs, “Sarah in the Summer.”

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Tom Ross: Home, home on the range

If you and I were cowboys and cowgirls living in the Yampa Valley in spring 1912 instead of 2012 (and sometimes I wish we were), by this date, we would already have driven the cattle into the foothills to begin the annual shove up.

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Tom Ross: Where did mud season go?

On April 4, 2011, I pronounced that “Sprinter is here!” It was a recognition that spring was busting out all over the valley a year ago, but winter was still hanging on tight in the mountains above. On April 24, 2012, I’m stepping up to pronounce that Sprummer is here!

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Tom Ross: The buns are on me

I never intended to go Dumpster diving. One minute I was reorganizing the clutter in my half of the garage. The next thing I knew, I was stashing two-dozen hot dog buns in my freezer and feeling a little strange about it.

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Tom Ross: It ain't climate change

We spied a pair of sandhill cranes prowling for food in the city of Steamboat Springs’ hay farm. It struck me that it was a tad early, but it ain’t climate change.

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Tom Ross: Howelsen closes 2012 in style

Howelsen Hill closed for the season and did it in style. I’m not a Howelsen regular, and I had forgotten how much fun that tricky slalom hill on the other side of the river can be.

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Tom Ross: Skiing of the green

I skied in a pair of green shorts Saturday, but not because I'm Irish. Mostly, I skied in green shorts because it’s not often that one can comfortably ski in shorts on March 17. And this year, I could.

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Tom Ross: Skiers get it while they can

When it comes to spring skiing in winter 2011-12, it’s time to get it while you can. With a month left in the season at Steamboat Ski Area, everyone is eager to maximize the time remaining.

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Tom Ross: Angler, party of 4

We make reservations for dinner and reserve our hotel rooms on the Internet. When we travel, we wouldn’t think of showing up at the rental car counter without a reservation. Why not reserve a fishing spot?

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Tom Ross: Grocer eyeing the ’Boat

Is Steamboat in the running for a new branded health food store? It’s too early to say for certain, but there are signs that a new retailer to Steamboat is exploring the possibility.

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Tom Ross: Swedish Christmas in March

Christmas doesn’t come again for 292 days, but that didn’t stop us from partaking in a traditional Swedish Christmas dinner Sunday night.

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Tom Ross: Leaplings celebrate 1 in 4 years

A group of people from all across Northwest Colorado gathered at a local restaurant Monday to share stories and look forward to a very merry un-birthday indeed.

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Tom Ross: No toast for you, cheapskate

You know your toast ain’t nothing but trash when the neighborhood magpies turn up their beaks at it. We’ve been having a bad go of it with one of the smallest kitchen appliances in the house lately.

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Tom Ross: Called by canyons of the southwest

It was through the wonders of social media today that I learned a casual Facebook friend has pulled a permit to float the Grand Canyon. All I can say is, point our bow at trouble and pull away with the oars.

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Tom Ross: Put Monday's presidential pow in your snow diary

When it comes to memorable powder days, the cliche “epic” rolls off the tongue pretty easily. And by all accounts, the deep, presidential Monday at Steamboat Ski Area was everything that the “E” word implies.

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Tom Ross: Nero fiddled, I prefer to nibble

I finally re-balanced my 401K on Friday, and now I’m praying for Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti to save the world’s economy and my retirement fund along with it.

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Tom Ross: Strong men, stronger grips

Have you ever had your hand nearly mangled in a crushing handshake from a well-meaning farmer or rancher? I have.

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Tom Ross: Just a dirt bag local skier

I was returning from a rewarding powder skiing expedition to Walton Peak during the weekend when a young stranger referred to me as “a dirt bag local.” I chose to take it as a compliment.

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Tom Ross: Carnival tradition changes with time

Having participated in the preparation of a few Winter Carnival special editions over the course of three decades, I decided to dig into the archives to see what I could find.

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Tom Ross: Teddy dispatched mountain lion with knife

Theodore Roosevelt may be the namesake of the teddy bear, but he was anything but cuddly when it came to his mountain lion encounters on Colorado’s Western Slope.

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Tom Ross: I want my ski TV

I’m an old wannabe mogul monster with one missing knee, but there’s no doubt in my mind that what Shaun White did in the Winter X Games superpipe finals Sunday night was among the most athletic feats I’ve ever seen on snow.

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Tom Ross: Get off your presidential fannies

If you watched Thursday night’s debate from Florida on CNN, you still might be scratching your head and wondering which reality show is more distasteful, “Wife Swap” or “Presidential Fannie Bickering.”

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Tom Ross: When is a book epistolary?

I plucked a book of Western fiction I hadn’t opened in a decade off the shelf during the weekend and learned a new word. Epistolary fiction is a piece of creative writing based upon actual historical letters and diary entries.

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Tom Ross: Singing like a lion

The grassy park where the Green and Yampa rivers reach their confluence in Dinosaur National Monument once was known to settlers and cattle rustlers as Pat’s Hole.

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Tom Ross: Single-engine adventures

I felt completely secure and safe during my flight over the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area with pilot Bob DelValle on Friday, but I spent a portion of the weekend recalling some semi-hairball flights I’ve made in light aircraft through the years.

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Tom Ross: The great Big Agnes flyby

One of the things I look forward to on my outdoor adventures is filling the gaps in my mental geography of the Northern Colorado Rockies. Every time I find a vantage point that gives me a fresh view of a familiar landmark, it helps me connect the dots.

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Tom Ross: Let them eat oysters

Fresh oysters are a treat I usually associate with semi-annual trips to the coast of Oregon. But this year, I anticipated the oysters coming to me for a splendid Christmas Eve feast.

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Tom Ross: Quills stick in my teeth

There was a time in Routt County when the amount of gold dust in a fellow’s poke determined how merry his Christmas might be, and holiday dinners revolved around something pricklier than a Christmas goose.

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Tom Ross: Solstice springs into ski season

Who says Thursday marks the first day of winter? As far as I’m concerned, the winter solstice marks the first day of spring, and Hayden couple Tammie and Patrick Delaney agree wholeheartedly.

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Tom Ross: Yuletide in a 1-room log cabin

When Steamboat Springs’ first European settlers gathered to celebrate the Yuletide for the first time here, most of the gifts were handmade. But thanks to a very determined letter carrier, there also were some books under the tree.

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Tom Ross: Send yourself a postmark

Trip to post office was something to look forward to

We have arrived at the happ, happ, happiest time of the year. Our days are supposed to be merry and bright, but I find myself missing my post office box.

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Tom Ross: Can’t take the heat?

How often do you dine out and actually lay eyes on the person who prepared your meal?

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Tom Ross: 1st-time authors waste no time

Writing a first novel is no less difficult than it ever was. But today, anyone with $7 and a friend with some skills in graphic arts can publish their first manuscript. Modern printing technology has made the publishing world a more egalitarian place.

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Tom Ross: Snow calling is a last resort

We’ve come to take it for granted that we will have remarkable ski conditions for Dec. 3. But you couldn’t always count on it in the past. And that’s no B.S. B.S. — it’s the abbreviation for before snowmaking!

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Tom Ross: Much ado about the pigskin

Te-bow, or not Te-bow? Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings of running quarterbacks, or to ground them against a sea of Chargers, Vikings, Patriots and Bears? That used to be the question. But not any longer.

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Tom Ross: Whatever happened to Pink?

Pink dominated the American Music Awards on Sunday night, and as far as I could tell, the multi-million selling recording artist, Pink, wasn’t even in the auditorium.

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Tom Ross: It’s all about the gravy

Make your turkey green this Thanksgiving

I’m all about celebrating Thanksgiving in a sustainable way, but there is one thing I will never do to save the planet. I will not give up my electric carving knife. You’ll have to pry my Black & Decker Slice Right EK300 out of my cold, dead, gravy-stained fingers.

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Tom Ross: Happy Darktober from Connecticut

My 8-year-old niece Bess planned to dress up as an electric lamp to celebrate Halloween this past weekend in Connecticut. I know, Halloween was more than a week ago.

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Tom Ross: Deciphering the Steamboat Springs election vote

Tuesday’s election results proved once and for all that I am the world’s worst at predicting political outcomes. And I have a college degree in political science.

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Tom Ross: Time is money

One of the three Sunday newspapers that landed on my front porch reminded me that a person can spend large sums of money on a timepiece that does the same thing as the Patrick the octopus wristwatch I keep in my home.

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Tom Ross: Are you ready for some futbol?

It’s not an easy thing for a red-blooded American male to agree to a trip abroad in the middle of October. I mean, there are the conference championships in Major League Baseball and FOOTBALL.

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Tom Ross: North Dakota oil boom makes drilling rigs scarce

If you’re seeking employment this winter, you could head to Williston, N.D., and pick up skills that just might help a person find a job in Northwest Colorado in coming years.

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Tom Ross: Water cycle never stops

I have to say, diapers aside, I spent a pleasant hour Friday traipsing the banks of the river with sixth-graders from Hayden and South Routt and the Christian Heritage School, a number of homeschoolers and one fellow from North Park Charter School.

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Tom Ross: Pump back plan puts pressure on Yampa

Last week’s news that the Colorado Water Conservation Board has approved spending $72,000 to study Aaron Million’s plan to take 81 billion gallons of water out of Flaming Gorge Reservoir and transfer it to Colorado’s Front Range is a heads up. It’s time to pay attention to the Regional Watershed Supply Project.

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Tom Ross: The world has been transformed

The Sept. 11, 2001, edition of Steamboat Today was unremarkable except for John Russell’s photograph of two trapeze artists with the Circus Chimera. All of us now know too well how abruptly our lives would change on that sunny day.

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Tom Ross: Burroughs’ writing cabin is gone but not forgotten

Steamboat Springs’ most culturally significant doghouse is still looking for a permanent home 15 months after it was moved from its lofty perch on Maple Street in Old Town.

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Tom Ross: Black Beauty took me everywhere

I should be the last one to write a sanctimonious piece about the importance of bicycle commuting. I’ve done a miserable job in that department this summer. And I make no excuses.

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Tom Ross: Courtship, cowboy style

Museum volunteer tells story of early Steamboat ranchers

The first time Mary Officer set eyes on her future husband, Val Brunner, on Lincoln Avenue in late 1920 or early 1921, he cut quite a figure. A working cowboy, he wore chaps, spurs and leather cuffs. A black cowboy hat topped it all off.

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Tom Ross: Reaching new heights

At age 88, Bob Beverly, of Grand Junction, has a remarkable memory. On Friday, Beverly moved some members of a packed house at Tread of Pioneers Museum in Steamboat Springs nearly to tears with a couple of carousel trays packed with old Kodachrome slides.

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Tom Ross: Ancestor was all thumbs

Book chronicles family history

Have you ever wondered how powerful your golf or tennis grip might be if you had two thumbs on your business hand? I learned during the weekend that one of my ancestors, Thomas Slayton, who was born in the late 19th century, had two thumbs on his left hand. My name is Thomas Slayton Ross, and it turns out I’m just one of many doubting Thomases in the Slayton clan.

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Tom Ross: The unseen determines water traits

I was standing on the banks of the Yampa River on Friday morning pointing my newfangled iPhone 4’s video camera at Kevin McBride when a trout broke the water. McBride was describing water quality issues to a small group of river lovers hosted by Yampatika when the trout interrupted him.

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Tom Ross: Family history uncovers surprises

Retired high school librarian Jayne Hill captivated a small but privileged audience at the Tread of Pioneers Museum on Friday with the story of her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents Grietje Reyniers and Anthony Jansen Van Salee Harleem. She was the first prostitute in Manhattan, and he was a pirate.

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At Home: Paying the Price for Too Much Snow

Tom Ross can’t recall a spring like this one

How crazy was spring runoff 2011 in the Boat? A neighbor of mine swears he saw a trout jumping in the flooded parking lot of Steamboat Hotel on the evening of June 4. It was a rare asphalt trout (salmonidae bitumina for you expert anglers).

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Tom Ross: Skiing, a new July 4 tradition in Steamboat

It’s time to begin a new Independence weekend tradition — call it the July Nordic kickoff. All you need is a pair of battered cross-country skis. Hey, the snow ain’t pretty this time of year, but it’s darn sure solid.

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Tom Ross: Got the moving man blues

It’s June 3, and we’re getting ready to move our household for the fourth time in three years. Yes, I’ve got them old moving man blues again, but I’m not gonna let it get me down. After living in the same house for 20 years, we’re coming to the end (we hope) of a three-year migration around Steamboat.

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Tom Ross: A good book saves a bad day of fishing

The late journalist, World War II veteran and acclaimed Western novelist Tony Hillerman saved my holiday fishing outing on Sunday. I’d like to tell you that Hillerman reached down from that New Mexico mesa in the sky and handed me the perfect trout fly for spring in the Rockies. But it was actually a paperback copy of Hillerman’s novel “Dance Hall of the Dead” that saved my day.

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Tom Ross: In the blink of a decade

I couldn’t have anticipated that the American people would have exhaled in unison the way they did Sunday night. Did you feel it, too? When Osama bin Laden met his demise, we were finally able as a country to let go of something we’ve all held inside for too long.

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Tom Ross: North Routt woman builds an ark

I’ve been able to confirm through confidential sources that a North Routt woman, Lola Daylooj, is building an ark on top of Grouse Mountain and is taking reservations for couples only, at her Facebook page. Daylooj reportedly has booked a pair of timber parrots, two whistle pigs and a pair of virtuous coyotes to ride out the flood with her.

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Tom Ross: Welcome home, Steamboat pilgrims

To all of you who escaped to warmer weather, say hello to mud season

Welcome home all of you spring break pilgrims who returned home over Rabbit Ears Pass on Sunday night wearing your tacky beach shorts and river sandals. We missed you. Fortunately, you brightened our snowy days with photo galleries of tro­­p­­ical des­tinations post­­ed on Facebook.

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Tom Ross: Doggie-cize will chase blues away

I arrived home from work Thursday feeling out of sorts and realized I’d made the classic error of allowing the weather to knock me out of my exercise routine. When mud season has you down, one of the best remedies is heavy breathing. But too often, the same weather that gave you the rotten snow-for-Easter blues becomes an excuse for staying on the couch.

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Tom Ross: Migrating to a new season

The middle of April is a season of migrations in Northwest Colorado, and that fact was evident early Saturday morning along U.S. Highway 40 to Colorado Highway 318 for the lonely drive through Brown’s Park and Clay Wash Basin to Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

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Tom Ross: Hit the road, Jack and Jill

Vamoose. Hit the road, Jack and Jill. Jump in the car and set out in search of a cheap thrill. Mud season gotcha down? If you’re like me and a trip to Belize isn’t in the financial picture this month, ignore the seven-day forecast for Steamboat and don’t let it cramp your style. There are plenty of destinations only a short drive away.

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Tom Ross: A Masters tournament for the ages

Can you imagine what the Masters golf tournament would look like if it was taken over by the guys who run NASCAR? The best golfers in the world would abandon the time-honored tradition of walking the fairways, and instead they would zoom around the course in gaudy golf carts with souped-up motors and emblazoned with corporate logos.

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Tom Ross: Riley Polumbus says goodbye to the ’Boat

After a decade of early morning blogging, Riley Polumbus turned in her final Straight Talk ski report Monday — and it didn’t contain the word “champagne.” Riley didn’t mention whether the wind in her face caused her to shed a tear as she swooped down Heavenly Daze and said goodbye to her mountain.

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Tom Ross: A story behind mascots

The Akron Zippers went down in defeat in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament Friday afternoon. Shame on you if you had Akron advancing in your bracket. Some of you are saying, “Wait just a second, Ross, the college hoops team from the University of Akron is known as the Zips.” Congratulations — you are at least partially correct.

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Tom Ross: What would Yogi Berra say?

Is it my imagination, or is rock icon Steven Tyler morphing into Yogi Berra in his new role on American Idol? I’ve never heard so many strange expressions. “Well hellfire, save matches. (Snuggle up to) a duck and see what hatches.” Did Tyler steal that rhyme from Robert Frost?

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Tom Ross: Post-war intrigue in the Alps

This is the story of how, in 1946, Pfc. Ray King helped to return priceless art masterpieces to Italy from an abandoned salt mine in Salzburg, Austria, where the Nazis had stashed them. If it sounds like the plot of a recent Tom Hanks movie, I’m right there with you. But there’s even more.

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Tom Ross: Rewarding work in Chiang Mai

Steamboat graduate tells of work in Thailand

One of my ongoing regrets is that all too often I, and perhaps much of the community, lose track of Steamboat Springs’ young adults once they graduate from high school and head off into the big world. So, the e-mail I received from Laura Philip in February was most welcome.

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Tom Ross: Just can it, would ya?

After attending this week’s presentation about community-supported agriculture, I realized that most of these folks just need to can it. Their food, that is. In case you’ve missed out on the trend, more people in Northwest Colorado are looking for ways to purchase fresh, healthy produce and meats grown closer to home.

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Tom Ross: Pizza for the proletariat

I’ve delivered pizzas in the state capital of Wisconsin, where I’ve joined in protest marches. But I never delivered pepperoni pizzas to protesters inside the Capitol in Madison. So it came as a surprise Monday to learn that people are ordering deluxe pizzas from Ian’s Pizza parlor in Mad Town and having them delivered to the protesters in a show of cheesy solidarity.

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Tom Ross: What falls down, must flow by

25 feet of snow in Steamboat has to melt sometime soon

One of the biggest crowds of the ski season is in town this weekend, but not a soul among it is thinking about the inevitable — all of this white stuff has got to melt sooner or later. The fact is, Newton’s little-known seventh law of thermodynamics states: “What falls down, must flow by.”

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Tom Ross: Back in the sports business

30 years later, I return to sidelines

My assignment to cover Steamboat Springs High School boys and girls hoops Friday night lit a big fat nostalgia bomb for me. I spent nine years split into two stints covering sports for the weekly Steamboat Pilot.

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Tom Ross: Citizens of Cheesehead Nation

If you were impressed with the performance of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night and consider them a favorite to repeat as Super Bowl champs in 2012, as I do, perhaps you should consider becoming an owner — of the team.

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Tom Ross: Digging into the nitty gritty of Winter Carnival history

I would submit that if you aspire to become a true local, you would do well to kill an hour in the Tread of Pioneers Museum poring over Winter Carnival minutiae. Where else could you find an original commemorative paper placemat of the 50th Win­­ter Carnival in 1963?

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Tom Ross: We can’t ski on polymers forever

I found myself wondering during the weekend where the skiing industry would be today without plastics. We’d still be wearing leather boots buckled into a modern version of metal skis like the old Head Standards. We could be sporting padded leather helmets while freezing our butts off riding chairlifts cushioned only with wooden slats.

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Tom Ross: Turn back the Glock

Guns have their place, but so do gun control laws

Ever since the tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., all of the TV news pundits want to talk about “a more civil discourse.” However, no one wants to talk about finding ways to tighten gun laws without denying the rights of responsible Americans to own guns.

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Tom Ross: Facebook connection to area’s past

If you’re not on Facebook yet, it’s just a matter of time. I was plugged into a great example this week of how social media can reunite far-flung friends.

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Tom Ross: A gift for me

I finally went in for that colonoscopy, and it wasn’t so bad

Here’s hoping you had a peaceful holiday weekend and Santa left your heart’s desire under the tree Saturday. I can say that without a doubt the most precious gift I received this season was the peace of mind that comes from having finally gone into Yampa Valley Medical Center for a colonoscopy.

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Tom Ross: Magpies rule my neighborhood

Can you imagine how sassy magpies would be if they could talk smack? It’s not out of the question; there’s a reason some folks in Northwest Colorado refer to magpies as timber parrots. Their tone sounds darned insulting.

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Tom Ross: Where to go when you gotta go

I located a great new public restroom today, one that I’ve overlooked for many years. I thought I’d let you in on it so you can pinpoint it on a Google Map. Let’s face it: Steamboat Springs may be home to abundant snow, but truly public restrooms are scarce.

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Tom Ross: Rare happy ending for Steamboat psychic

Local medium aids search for missing Pennsylvania teen

Steamboat Springs psychic medium Bee Herz received the kind of news this holiday week that keeps her devoted to the work of helping families find missing loved ones.

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Tom Ross: The secret is in the roux

When it comes to Thanksgiving Day dinner, it’s all about the gravy. Moist turkey is a given these days with self-basting turkeys, so it’s the quality of the gravy that separates the neophytes from the pilgrims. I studied the art of making gravy at the elbow of my mother.

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Tom Ross: Welcome to Blurb — the e-mail offer of a lifetime

I find myself increasingly bombarded by marketing messages from companies and organizations I maintain only a mild interest in. To sum up my feelings, if I ever find out who the guy is at Orbitz who keeps pitching me cut rate airfares to Rapid City, I’ll send him into orbit.

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Tom Ross: Gaiters are business-casual in ’Boat

My wife used to snicker at me when I would toss a couple of sleeping bags into the car before setting off on a mid-winter trip to Denver. Not anymore. Ever since the time we slept for five hours in the back of our vehicle while it was parked outside the Silverthorne Community Center, sleeping bags have been embraced.

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Tom Ross: Musing on 3 decades of bellringing

I had a blast Monday eating egg salad sandwiches and swapping stories with the good folks taking part in the Routt County Council on Aging’s lunch program at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. The seniors invited me to give a talk about the changes I’ve seen during the course of three decades in community journalism.

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Tom Ross: My phone is smarter than I am

My smart phone is smarter than your smart phone. Nah, nah. Of course, it’s smarter than I am, too. During the weekend, I finally opened Pandora’s box and discovered the wonder of the Music Genome Project. And now, thanks to a free app, Pandora is streaming customized music stations directly into my new phone.

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Tom Ross: Are you ready boots? Start walkin’

Rotary Barn Dance fundraiser delights 500 for a nice cause

I went to sleep Saturday night dreaming of a trip for two to Alaska and boating through the fjords to spot grizzly bears, but I awoke Sunday morning to find I didn’t have any phone messages from the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, and now, it’s late Monday afternoon, and they still haven’t called.

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