All you need is love: Steamboat Springs love stories
February 9, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Love is such a powerful little word. It knows no boundaries and has the power to be felt across time and space. We know it to be this force — chaotic, beautiful, surprising, humbling and terrifying all at once.
Don't deny it. Deep down, we all love that sappy, pull-on-your-heart-strings-type of story that makes you believe in a little thing called love all over again.
See for yourself with these love stories that unfolded right here in the Yampa Valley.
Rachel Fuller and Patrick Meyer
This is a mountain-man-meets-island-girl story that began when Rachel Fuller left England in 2009 to travel the world and landed in Steamboat Springs to visit some friends.
Fate led her to book a group trip with Rocky Mountain Ventures climbing company, where Patrick Meyer worked and still works. "His clients cancelled, and he almost called to cancel my trip but decided to take me anyways.
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"If you ask him, he couldn't look me in the eyes," she said. "If you ask me, he was hot."
On the ride up to Harrison Creek, the couple hit it off, and a morning climb turned into a full day then a concert at Gondola Square where they once again ran into each other without even exchanging numbers after the day of climbing.
"I think my soul knew instantly he was the one," Fuller said. "But you know, the mind sometimes takes a while to catch up, protecting the heart."
After leaving to places like Portland, San Francisco and Australia, Fuller and Meyer eventually decided to settle down in Steamboat and they've been together since. They were married May 13, 2017, in Antigua in Fuller's parent's backyard where she grew up.
"It's support, it's love, all the different kinds of it and a lot of communication," said Fuller about what has kept them together over the years. "It's a lot of work, but I wouldn't choose anyone else in the world to live this life with. I do think every fiber of my being knew he was the one and will always be the one."
Greg Hamilton and Kim Ryan
“It’s a blessing to be married to your best friend," said Kim Ryan. "To have a partner in life for the fun stuff and the hard stuff. It makes the hard stuff easier to have a partner. You don’t have to go it alone.”
For Steamboat residents, Greg Hamilton and Kim Ryan, their story began in 2013 on St. Patrick’s Day weekend on the Ghost Ranch Saloon dance floor for an Afrobeat show by Euforquestra.
"I loved that her friends sized me up before letting me walk her home: they weren’t going to let her go with just anybody," Greg said.
The couple was married on Saturday, July 15, 2017 on Whidbey Island in Washington State. This March will mark five years together.
If they had to choose a secret to their success at love, it would be communication.
"We got right into some kind of tough topics from our respective pasts and it was refreshingly comfortable to talk about painful experiences," Greg said. "We quickly realized we had many things in common. Some friends and family still roll their eyes and mutter that we’re still in the ‘honeymoon phase.’
"I feel like both of us are who we are because of good and bad things that happened to us prior to meeting each other,” Greg continued. “I’m more patient and tolerant than I would have been earlier in my life. And that really serves me."
“Well, we want to understand each other," Kim said. "It’s part of seeing another person — not just as an extension of yourself, but as two separate people coming together.”
When asked for tips on making love last, Greg suggested, “Try not to go to sleep angry. Eat chocolate. Say and do sweet things. Get outdoors. Kiss. A lot."
“It’s a blessing to be married to your best friend,” Greg said. “To have a partner in life for the fun stuff and the hard stuff. It makes the hard stuff easier to have a partner. You don’t have to go it alone.”
Mara and Chris Rhodes
A quintessential Steamboat story, Mara and Chris Rhodes met in 2002 when both were skiing by day and working in restaurants by night – he, at Johnny B. Goods, and she, at the Rio.
"It was not love at first sight," said Mara. "One of his friends was dating my roommate, and it was a time when the ratio of guys to girls was more than it is now. He would bring over friends to meet me, but I was young, single and not interested in any of those guys."
As fate would have it, the two met became friends before beginning to date a year later. Mara had plans to move back to Boston for law school, but the Yampa Valley Curse caught ahold of both Chris and Mara and they were married in 2006 and have made Steamboat their home.
The couple, who own Soda Mountain Construction, now are parents of three children.
"It's a lot of give and take and a lot of trying to put yourself in the other's shoes, but the friendship really comes first," Mara said. "It's really important to learn how to keep your individual life and passions. We both made sure to give each other that freedom to go out and have fun. That's one of the keys to staying happy as individuals and together."
Trying to do everything together is a recipe for disaster, according to Mara.
"There's that saying, 'If you love someone, set them free.' Well if you love someone, you just have to let them be who they are and not try to change them. You just have to love them for who they are."
Kristopher DeVogelaere and Taco Roosevelt
From stray to best friend, Taco Roosevelt and Kristopher DeVogelaere met when Taco was a stray in Denver being fostered by Summit Dog Rescue.
"Before meeting him, I remember thinking, "Taco is the silliest name ever. I need to think of something better to call him," DeVogelaere said. "After meeting him, I knew right away that he was a total Taco. He was energetic, silly and had more love than he knew what to do with. I decided to give him the middle name Roosevelt, after one of our nation's great leaders, to give him prestige and respect at the dog park."
DeVogelaere moved to Steamboat a few years ago and found it difficult to find housing that would allow a four-legged friend.
"I still get teased by my friends because I essentially bought a condo for my dog," DeVogelaere said.
The two have had many adventures together, from summiting Colorado 14ers to countless days at the climbing crag to traversing a fair amount of Steamboat's single track.
"He can be a bit stubborn and smelly, but sometimes so am I," DeVogelaere said. "I recognize that Taco's mission in life is simple; to be happy and bring joy to others."
Hannah Mihaich and Brian Erhart
Hannah Mihaich and Brian Erhart were both in training to become ski instructors in 2015 but didn't actually meet until a year later during a PSIA Cert 1 Alpine exam, and their first date involved the accompaniment of eight children they were babysitting.
"I didn't know that it was a date, but him and the kids sure did," Mihaich said.
The rest was simply easy. Mihaich said there's a line from the movie, "The Fault in our Stars," that sums up their story best.
"In the film, Hazel says, ‘I fell in love with the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once,'” Mihaich said. “He's the one who pushes me to be better at what I love, greater at loving others and always make sure I eat a good breakfast.
"What started out as a ski bum crush has been the greatest blessing I could ask for," Mihaich said.
Rob Peterson and Sara Eck
Rob Peterson and Sara Eck met at Tbar after being introduced by a mutual friend.
"I was amazed at first sight," said Peterson although Eck was only visiting at that time. "I was pretty bummed when I found that out. I told myself if she ever came back I'd meet her again."
Eck ended up moving to Steamboat, and the couple met again one night after leaving an event.
"She asked me what I was doing," recalls Peterson. "I quickly responded, ‘walking you home,’ and that's what I did."
As they said goodnight, Peterson remembers thinking, ‘I hope I at least get a goodbye hug.’ But to his surprise, it was their first kiss.
The rest, as they say, is history. The two will be getting married in March.
Bob and Jane Stein
For Bob and Jane Stein, life is their adventure.
They've hiked around the world from Scotland to New Zealand and to the top of Kilimanjaro.
They're also known for volunteering in both Steamboat and Washington D.C., working for Horizons and STARS, and they were among the founders of Seminars at Steamboat. They also volunteered to teach English conversation in China and Vietnam.
"Because we do a lot together, some people think of us as collective Bob and Jane, but we really are two people still very much in love," said Jane.
Their love story unfolded at Brandeis University where the two were students. Bob claims he asked Jane out, but she has no recollection of that. They officially met five years after graduation in a New York discount bookstore, and nine months later, in 1965, they were married.
"The biggest lesson we've learned over the years is that family is the best," said Jane. The Steins have two children and five grandchildren.
"Love is about caring, sharing, respect, understanding each other and recognizing and accepting differences — along with a sense of humor and love of travel," Jane said.