Be Like Betse
You know our Ambassadors for their bright yellow coats that greet you by the gondola and the handy grooming reports they distribute. If you’re lucky enough to snag a chairlift with any of them, you’re destined to learn a lot about this little town. You’ll also gain insight into interesting local lives and worldly careers beyond their volunteer gigs at the ski area.
On Fridays, you’re greeted by Betse Grassby. Take a moment to ponder this woman’s lifetime of accomplishments in Steamboat Springs, because last week she was honored with the 30th annual Hazie Werner Award. That officially recognizes her among Steamboat’s most fierce and accomplished local women. But if you live here, you already knew that.
Betse has long been a force of nature for her volunteerism, community commitment and support for local organizations. She is currently the executive director of the Steamboat Art Museum, having transformed that space with a glorious historic renovation in the past year. But that’s just the tip of her iceberg. She co-founded the Strings Music Festival, revitalized the orchestra, served the Chamber and boosted the Winter Sports Club. Betse is everywhere. She is a mighty wellspring for inspiration, creativity and all-around good deeds in this town.
As she told the packed room at Haymaker after accepting her award from none other than Loris Werner, her mantra is, “Make it better because you are there.” Indeed, Steamboat is a heck of a lot better because Betse has been here. She’s been gifting greatness upon Steamboat since she arrived in 1969. Her passion, enthusiasm and willingness to dive in and create great new things for this community is boundless.
I’m honored to know her, to have worked along side her, and to greet her glowing smile every Friday when I head up the mountain to write this blog. Around here, you could say “Make it better…” or you could just say “Be like Betse.”
There’s wind on the mountain today. Strong gusts followed by eerie calm. I screamed down Hurricane without a breeze, then needed to lean in to head downhill on Moonlight. Wind is making the gondola run kinda slow this morning, and some intermittent slowness due to wind is probably going to be the deal for lifts around the mountain all day today.
Skies are intensely blue and the temperature is comfortably looming above freezing. The groomers are soft and fast and easy to carve right now. Take advantage of long speedy hauls down Valley View, Heavenly Daze to See Me, Storm Peak Face to Sunset, High Noon to Westside. The bumps will be particularly forgiving this afternoon as temps climb into the 40s, too.
It’s another fabulous Friday night in Steamboat — killer art at the First Friday Artwalk downtown (don’t miss Chula Beauregard’s stunning exhibit, Generations—The Carpenter Ranch, at the Depot!), then fireworks bursting over Mount Werner.
And speaking of the Carpenter Ranch (The Nature Conservancy’s stunning 906-acre expanse of preserved habitat and history you pass between the Hayden airport and Steamboat Springs), one of my favorite winter events is happening on their haymeadow this Sunday. Spend après ski helping create a gorgeous landscape-scale design as you walk creative patterns over the snow in a pair of snowshoes. Over the years, Steamboat has gained global attention for this incredible annual project, including mind-blowing installations on Rabbit Ears Pass, Lake Catamount and the ranch. Join the fun from 2-4 p.m., and BYO snowshoes to be part of the 2018 Snow Design: Snow Stitching in Nature.
I leave you today with Justin Hirsch’s inspiring bit of drone footage from Steamboat’s 2017 community snow drawing, Finding Peace in Nature… and a hope that I’ll see you both out on the meadow and up on the mountain this weekend!
Jennie Lay, Telemark skier