With all the tall passes around Steamboat Springs and not quite enough snow at the ski resort to make the $82 lift ticket worth it, this December has been a great opportunity to try snowshoeing.
Akin to hiking, this sport, at 10,000 feet, quickly takes the breath away - and not just because of the beatiful views.
Some things that were surprising to a newbe:
- Your feet SINK into the snow 12 or more inches. I thought the shoes would allow us to glide on top of the powder.
- The snow shoes really do help - just take them off and see how far you sink (but do it with somebody near by to lift you out of the pit you create).
- Walking over "frozen" streams is scary because visions of falling through the ice, getting sucked under the water and suffocating dance through the mind. Mark thinks I am being silly.
- A short distance gives you a pretty good workout, especially if you go uphill.
- Bring lots of water.
So far, we have tried three locations in the region: Rabbit Ears Pass, Buffalo Pass and the pass above Stagecoach, Lynx Pass. Rabbit Ears was the most secluded location - we saw no one - and it boasted fluffy, puffy hills. Buffalo Pass had great trails, but also many people on skis, snow mobiles, snow shoes, and just hanging out. Lynx Pass is surrounded by farms and rolling views. We headed up a trail for several miles and found some of the best scenery of our trip. But a word of caution, it would not be fun to be stuck in any of these locations in a blizzard.
Stagecoach is a town with an interesting story. This town promised to be a great vacation get away in 1972, complete with ski resort and golfing for year-round activity. But the development firm that chose to support the award-winning resort town plan lost so much money on a different resort in a different state, according to locals, that the Stagecoach Resort went under in 1974. It is now owned by a "family," locals tell me, but is unoperational.
With so much growth emulating from Steamboat Springs, Stagecoach has experienced a recent realestate boom because you can still buy a house there for $450k. Stagecoach is located next to a lake, great for sailing, water skiing and swimming. Trout fishing below the resorvior dam is some of the best in the area. It seems like the time may be coming to put in that environmentally-friendly golf course, like the Salishan in Oregon...
After a hard morning of traipsing through vast white expanses, hunger sets in and Lucile's in Steamboat Springs (right next to Ace Hardware) is a good option. The eggs benedict there are something to crave and are only about $8. The serving staff is extra friendly, like those in Nashville, and we experienced a new kind of biscuit:
And best of all, they serve breakfast all day!