Jill Darling: Thank you, Steamboat!
March 25, 2016
I was the co-trip leader of our Triple Cities Ski Club's Steamboat trip that took place earlier this month, along with primary leader Tim Hanna. Twenty-eight of our 400-member club from Binghamton, New York, had a great week of skiing with fresh snow and a couple of bluebird days.
We stayed at The Phoenix, and front desk manager Selena and staff were over-the-top accommodating. The maintenance crew set up tables and chairs for our special dinner and even hung up our club's banner.
I had organized a catered dinner for our group prior to our arrival and chose the Drunken Onion since it's won Best of the Boat in catering for the last five years. Owner Ben Stroock gave us three menu options, and I chose the pork chop dinner. When I listed the menu items in our club's itinerary, the "pork chop" entrée had some people rolling their eyes with visions of chewing on thin, shoe-leather pork chops.
Ben and his staff delivered our food right on time, and my eyes popped when I saw that the pork chops were largest and thickest I'd ever seen. The breaded, pan-fried pork loin slices were so tender that each piece melted in your mouth along with the cinnamon-y diced applesauce topping.
Many of our group made it a point to tell me that they were not only pleasantly surprised, but that that succulent pork chop was by far the best they'd ever eaten. The entire dinner was a hit. Everyone was impressed with the food quality, and Ben worked out the price to fit within our budget. I highly recommend Ben and his staff at the Drunken Onion for ski club events, family gatherings or community catering needs.
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Our Mountain Resorts shuttle driver Walt picked us up at the City Market plaza with our emptied boot bags filled with bottles of wine, soda and goodies for our dinner. He said he'd never seen anyone use empty boot bags before. It worked. He stopped at the Drunken Onion while I took care of our bill, then he helped carry our load into The Phoenix. What service.
Another highlight was the Strawberry Park Hot Springs tour. We had a moose sighting on the way in front of an apartment complex, and our shuttle bus driver Steve stopped briefly for us to take pictures from inside the vehicle. It was a mother and her two calves. One of our members had seen three moose on the ski trail and took pictures from afar, so it was a treat to see these up close.
The hot springs were relaxing, and I swam a lap in the freezing cold pool as a chaser a couple of times after getting out of the hottest pool.
While eating lunch at Rendezvous Saddle, we sat next to Diane, who works in the lost and found at Steamboat. I asked her about some of the lost items. Of course there are myriads of lost single gloves, mittens and ski poles, but there are some Go Pro cameras that have been unclaimed for a quite some time.
Diane said that if people would put their names and phone numbers on their belongings she and her staff would have no problem returning them. It's such a simple solution, but people just don't think of it. So I'm passing along this helpful advice.
We have fond memories of our trip to Steamboat and all the people who helped make our stay more enjoyable. TCSC is celebrating our 50th anniversary this year, and I wanted to thank Ski Town USA for giving us a fabulous week for our 50th.
Warren Center, Pennsylvania
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