It’s the second day of skiing and I can now confidently say that Steamboat is my favorite skiing destination. Not only were we surprised with a bunch of hot air balloons right out of our apartment balcony last night and a DJ to drive the energy of the crowd, today we were treated to country singer Sam Bush at the base of the mountain as we headed in for the day. From our balcony, we were able to listen to songs like “One Love” by Bob Marley. I told you: this place takes the “resort” part seriously! It may help that it’s Martin Luther King weekend, of course.
Sam Bush was there for a reason: the annual Downhill Cowboy, which coincides with the National Western Stock Show in Denver, took place today. Each year, the cowboys and cowgirls who sell their livestock at the show head over to Steamboat, where they hold quite the unique race. The course is set up like this: two people race each other down the small hill. Each person must ski over a jump, hit a series of gates and then stop once they reach a lasso. Then, they have to lasso a girl who is standing in a marked circle, and from there, they saddle a horse. Finally, they run/ski/snowboard/tumble to the finish line.
To feed our curiosity, my father, grandfather and I found a spot along the barrier and joined hundreds of other fans, and watched the comedic show ensue before us. I call this comedic because as hard as it is to watch someone wipe out after a jump, these ranchers were determined to win the race. They would take a hard fall and get right back up, hopping, skiing or snowboarding down the raceway to prove themselves to the cheering crowds. This really was an unexpected and hilarious treat.
Speaking of treats, the skiing conditions were on par once again. We actually did something different today and took an ambassador tour of the mountain, which took us to groomed blue and black trails in an hour and a half loop. This helped us discover new trails and learn new information about the area, and took the responsibility of deciding where to go out of our hands.
One thing we learned about was the guardian of Steamboat Springs: The Sleeping Giant. Forming Elk Mountain, The Sleeping Giant has the outline of a giant, and protects over the Yampa Valley.
One thing I love about skiing communities is that they all have their own culture and traditions, as you can tell. I also learned about how Steamboat received its name, which I will tell you about soon. Any guesses?