Steamboat Springs | KUNC

Steamboat Springs

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

As people around the country shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are looking for new ways to connect with their communities.

In New York, they're cheering for healthcare workers. In Colorado, they're howling at the moon at 8 p.m. each night.

It's already been a noteworthy season for Steamboat Ski Resort in Northern Colorado. In October alone, the mountain saw 63 inches of snow, a record high. And that's why the resort's Loryn Duke said it was an easy decision to open on November 15it's earliest opening ever.

Larry Pierce / Steamboat Ski Resort

Many parts of Steamboat Springs and Routt County are dealing with growing pains, from infrastructure to housing to congestion. One area that hasn't been overwhelmed is the area's largest economic driver: the ski resort.

Stacy Nick / KUNC

Steamboat Springs prides itself not only on its world-renowned ski slopes, but for its agricultural and ranching roots. But it hasn't always been able to hold on to that history.

At the Tread of the Pioneers Museum, curator Katie Adams walked through the latest exhibit.

"Steamboat Springs was founded in 1875 by the Crawford family and had really modest beginnings," Adams said.

Jackie Hai / KUNC

A house in Steamboat Springs is expensive. A single-family home can be anywhere from $600,000 to over $1 million — and for most low- and middle-income residents, that's just not in the budget.

Bob and Leslie Gumbrecht moved to Steamboat Springs nearly 15 years ago. But because of high home prices, they now live about 30 minutes down the road in Hayden.

Devin Borvansky
Matt Bloom / KUNC

Before the call came, Chuck Cerasoli had poured his second cup of black coffee, finished settling into a leather armchair and taken a few deep breaths. He made it to the start of a training on pain management for the staff of the Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, where he works as deputy fire chief for a sprawling area that includes one of the state's largest ski resorts. He even had a chance to eat his breakfast — a rare feat.

Then the ping of an alarm echoed through the firehouse's halls and into the living room where he sat. Cerasoli knew as soon as he heard the four high-pitched beeps: the first emergency of the day had arrived.

Steamboat Springs, like many of Colorado's high country resort communities, is grappling with how it wants to grow.

The city itself has more than doubled in population since 1990. Seasonal tourist booms formerly contained to summer and winter have bled over into spring and fall. With its increasingly sought after outdoor amenities, like hot springs, camping, hiking, mountain biking and skiing, the town swells with visitors most weekends out of the year.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

Finding a river in the West that still behaves like a Western river -- one that rises and falls with the annual rush of melting snow -- is tough. 

Many of the region’s major streams are controlled by dams. Their flows come at the push of a button. Instead of experiencing dynamic flows, dammed rivers are evened out. Floods are mitigated and managed, seen as a natural disaster rather than an ecological necessity. 

Courtesy of the Arnold family / Save Arnold Barn/Arianthé Stettner

After decades of debate over how to preserve it, Steamboat Springs’ historic Arnold Barn is on the move.

The barn is moving 1,000 feet from the base of Steamboat Ski Resort to the knoll above the intersection of Mount Werner Road and Mount Werner Circle.

Some Steamboat Springs, Colorado residents are welcoming the Interior Department Secretary with a protest Friday evening.  Ryan Zinke is the keynote speaker at the Steamboat Institute’s annual ‘Freedom Conference,’ a private event.