Tricks or Treats
One of the many beautiful things about living in Steamboat Springs is getting to experience how unique and different the months can be, year after year. When I moved here in September 2006, I’ll never forget the feet (yes feet) of snow that fell at the very beginning of October. For a soon-to-be ski instructor, that snowfall brought so much excitement to my life.
Compare that to last year when I was able to bike all the way up Pioneer in mid-November, less than 10 days before the start of the ski season. For a mom of two young kids, a very mild and warm fall meant easier and extended playtime outside without the hassle of putting on and taking off snow clothes. And that, too, brought much excitement to my life. The years change, the seasons change, the months change and our lives change, making early snowfall seem like tricks to some yet treats to others.
Perspective is a powerful thing. For those who feel early season snowfall to be one of mother nature’s mean tricks, consider the opportunity it brings. If you have kids, early season snowfall generally means heavy, wet snow, which means that it’s perfect for making a snowman or even a whole family of snowmen. Come January, you’ll be challenged to make a snowman with the light and fluffy Champagne Powder® that blankets our valley. (But that’s certainly not a problem I’m going to complain about.)
Heavy and wet snowfall (paired with colder temps and consistent precipitation, of course) can also make for great base-packing snow, a huge positive for the mountain this time of year. If you have dogs, perhaps they would enjoy a walk in some fresh October snow. Our 8-year-old lab mix Raven absolutely loves the snow and gets this adorable, puppy-like spunk to her when we go for snowy walks, especially in the early season. Our 9-year-old lab mix Kymani also enjoys the snow, especially when it comes to rolling around in it to cool off in the warm sun.
If you enjoy fall foliage, it’s hard to beat brilliantly golden aspen leaves paired with fresh, white snow. It’s certainly unique eye-candy that you can’t find just anywhere. And if you enjoy watching a pretty sunset, there is something that is hard to beat about the sun setting on a fall day when we’ve had fresh snow.
For those who feel early season snowfall to be a treat, I can certainly understand and appreciate why. To switch perspectives, I also can understand and appreciate what an Indian summer can bring to the Yampa Valley. Summer in Steamboat is simply fun, fun, fun! But to many, it may also seem a bit too short.
The beauty of an Indian summer can be found in your own perspective, but for me, it means several things. For starters, it means a prolonged mountain bike season, and that is a beautiful thing. I moved here to ski but have since discovered mountain biking, which is (dare I say it) my favorite sport these days. Steamboat Springs is known as Bike Town USA® with its extensive variety of trails that spread over hundreds of miles through our beautiful valley. As a cross-country rider, I tend to gravitate toward Emerald Mountain, with its impressive trail system designed to accommodate just about any rider. Buffalo Pass boasts a new network of trails as of this summer, Steamboat Bike Park offers over 50 miles of downhill terrain, trails wind through Routt National Forest and across BLM lands and into wilderness areas, and the list goes on.
When it comes to mountain biking in and around Steamboat, opportunities are endless, and with the help of an Indian summer, you may be able to squeeze a few more rides in on your mountain bike before the snow settles into our valley.
Of course when there is mountain biking, there is also hiking and trail running, both popular sports with endless opportunity in Steamboat. Beyond hitting the dirt trails, an Indian summer can also mean strolling along the Yampa River in comfortable temperatures, or even just along Lincoln Avenue or Yampa Street to enjoy what the town of Steamboat Springs has to offer.
If you have kids, it certainly makes trips to the park much easier and more enjoyable. Fall is typically a time of year when people in Steamboat are not as busy, so being able to have more free time and enjoy it outdoors in sunny Steamboat Springs is very much a treat.
Whether you view early season snowfall as a trick or a treat, just remember, there is ample opportunity in Steamboat Springs to either enjoy the snow or to enjoy the prolonged summer days, it’s just all about perspective and what you make of it.
Speaking of trick or treat, make sure to dress-up and go downtown for Steamboat’s Halloween Stroll from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31st. For over 30 years, the Downtown Halloween Stroll has been a community favorite and is fun for all ages. It’s certainly one of our favorites!
Happy Wednesday and Happy Halloween a few days early!
Erin Campbell, mountain biker and skier/snowboarder
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