John F. Russell: Ski in the a.m.; golf after lunch | SteamboatToday.com

John F. Russell: Ski in the a.m.; golf after lunch

April is a unique time in Steamboat Springs.

The setting is a blend of mud, sun and snow that gives Steamboat Springs its own brand of springtime.

It’s a clash between the beauty of a lush green hillside and the visible roadside trash that up until a week ago was hidden beneath a thick layer of snow.

It’s also a time when two of this town’s biggest recreational sports seem to tear our attention in two directions.

What to do?

The truth is that there are very few towns in America where you have to make a choice between golfing and skiing in the same week, let alone on the same day.

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But with the Steamboat Golf Club expected to open for the season next week, that will be the dilemma many sports enthusiasts in this mountain town will be asked to make.

But don’t complain.

The best way to handle the problem is to pull out the Rossignols in the morning and the golf bag in the afternoon. You would be hard pressed to find a better way to spend the day.

Do it soon, because it’s a fleeting moment.

By the middle of April, the ski area will be closed and a whole new breed of summer activities will consume our time.

There also will be those fluke spring storms that close the golf course and wreak havoc with the best-laid plans for a day off work.

Soon, athletes bitten by the golf bug will be able to choose from any one of Steamboat’s three golf courses open to the public.

Golfers are a dedicated group who just can’t seem to get enough in the course of a season.

In the spring, golfers drive to Craig to get onto a snow-free course as soon as possible. The Craig course opened more than a week ago.

In the fall, golfers will pull on a heavy sweater, and in the winter they will pay for a trip to the desert just to get in a few bonus rounds. If they can’t afford the escape in the winter, they can always flip on the television and watch the pros do their thing in some other exotic location.

After years of listening, watching and occasionally playing golf with my father, I’ve learned that it is really more of an addiction than a sport.

Not to be outdone, skiers often drive to the top of Buffalo Pass each November to be the first to get on snow — no matter how much hiking they will need to do.

But for a few action-packed weeks, athletes who love those sports, or possibly both of them, will not have to leave Steamboat to pursue their passion.