By Nate Brothers
The Genuine Steamboat Story Contest sponsored by Steamboat Group Realty challenged locals and visitors alike to write a short article on the topic: Why do you think Steamboat Springs is a Genuine Place to Live or Visit? Our community of web members voted on their favorite entries and we are pleased to announce that Dustin Eldridge is the winner. He will receive a check for $100.
Dustin is a CMC student and avid blogger; check out his work at Steamboat Livin', his wordpress blog, and look for Dustin's work on the all new SteamboatMagazine.com.
By Dustin Eldridge
I am part of one of Steamboat's fastest growing demographics — CMC students. I finished my freshman year last year.
After seeing the complete cycle of seasons in Steamboat, I have fallen in love with this tight-knit mountain community. The genuine spirit of Steamboat's characters is apparent everywhere. On a bus anywhere else, various screens occupy most riders, who are busy avoiding human interaction. In Steamboat, friendly conversation is the norm. It's difficult to find a place where a bus trip is a treat, but Steamboat is just that place.
Riding my mountain bike down Spring Creek last summer, I popped a tire and had to walk a good distance back to the car. On the way down, almost every person I passed asked if I needed help or an extra tube. The citizens of Steamboat look after and care for one another, giving Steamboat a genuine community feel.
Steamboat's genuine nature also comes from what it's not. Anywhere in town, it's obvious that mountains dominate the landscape. It's nice living in one of the few places where nature still reigns supreme over civilization. Steamboat is a genuine mountain town (look in any direction).
Because nature is still in charge around here, Steamboat is an excellent place for a genuine adventure. From the slopes of Mount Werner to the winding Yampa, North Routt, Rabbit Ears and Buff Pass, Steamboat exudes opportunities for adventure. And these aren't your tourist-tailored babysitting trips. You had better be prepared when you step foot out your door in Steamboat, because you can never tell what your day will have in store.
Uncertainty is a necessity for a genuine adventure. And I was certainly not expecting that we would need three extra bike tubes just to defeat the 26-mile Dumont trail, or that my short winter split-board tour out to North Walton Peak would leave me lost and confused for hours. I hadn’t planned to lose three lures in three consecutive days of trolling on the Yampa. But these uncertainties led to a more genuine experience than one without problems.
Steamboat doesn't give out its secrets easily, and you must learn from your mistakes to enjoy the full experience. Through real-life lessons, I've learned to love my summers; full with fishing, mountain biking, summits and kayaking. I've learned patience; waiting for the resort to open, tying lures onto fishing line, and the constant challenge of mountain bike maintenance.
Steamboat's genuine beauty can't be bought with a ticket; it has to be experienced in-person with open eyes. My appreciation for Steamboat was paid for with sweat equity and grows with each new stream, lake, mountaintop and bear sighting. Steamboat is genuine, because you have to live it to know it.