Nicole Inglis: Finding ways to play in 2012 |

Nicole Inglis: Finding ways to play in 2012

Nicole Inglis

— Cliche disclaimer: I'm about to talk about "things I've learned" like it's the last day of fourth grade.

Year-end lists are decidedly a love-hate assignment for journalists (and hopefully just a love for our readers), but 2012 was a year that showed me Steamboat residents can pull through just about anything: a desperately dry winter, an economy struggling to stay on track and a nearly endless summer that began in March and only ended about three weeks ago. The weather was nice, but agony abounded.

River tubing, one of our favorite pastimes, was relegated to a teeny-tiny window. A drought prevailed and the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and Fourth of July fireworks display were canceled as wildfires ransacked the state.

But there was no shortage of entertainment because in Steamboat, we'll always find a way to play.

This year, we replaced Fourth of July fireworks with one of the most memorable concerts of the summer (more on that later). The Ghost Ranch reopened and is beginning to hit its stride. Local arts organizations are celebrating monumental milestones, and our perseverance is being rewarded with the lightest, fluffiest and most abundant New Year's gift ever: snow, snow and more snow.

Here are some of my top picks of 2012:

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Favorite interview: Michal Menert

What is it with my affinity for sources who talk as fast as I do? OK, so Front Range music producer Michal Menert might have missed our interview time, but when I finally got a hold of him, his quick-witted tales of the rise of electronic dance music in Colorado had me mesmerized. As a member of the Pretty Lights Music record label and a high school friend and band mate of Pretty Lights (Derek Vincent Smith), Menert's story sketched in the outline of Colorado's place in the electronic music surge of the past several years. Factor in his childhood in communist Poland, and you have a true modern fairytale rising from the Colorado music scene.

Best concert: Trampled by Turtles

I can only judge the ones I saw, but I can't get the feeling out of my heart from the afternoon of July 13. My parents were in town visiting, and I remember leading my mother through the writhing crowd to the hard-driving chop of the mandolin and through the dust that was swirling in the air. This band may be the Grace Potter of this year, and we'd be outrageously lucky to get them back to Steamboat with their rapidly rising fame.

Also earning accolades in this category was a show that sports reporter Luke Graham said was far and away the best in his book: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds at Strings Music Festival this summer.

Another special moment for me this year was the Daniel Bernard Roumain Strings School Days performance of almost all improv collaboration with local artists.

And I don't think anyone of the five thousand people at Howelsen Hill at the Fourth of July concert will forget singing along to their favorite Beatles songs with thousands of flickering glow sticks waving in the air.

Biggest news

If we're going by website views, our readers on were most interested in the announcement that an ice castle would be built in Steamboat this year. Nearly completed in Ski Time Square, the all-natural, ever-evolving work of art will open New Year's Eve.

On, the story that got the most attention was from early last year when artist Sonja Hinrichsen created the stunning snow drawings on Rabbit Ears Pass. The story and the aerial video taken by Routt County resident Cedar Beauregard was passed around art blogs and websites for months.

To me, the biggest entertainment event of the year was the sale of the downtown Chief Plaza Theater to Friends of the Chief, a nonprofit with a two-phase plan to bring a multiuse performing arts center back to downtown Steamboat Springs. Long live the Chief!

In Memoriam

When musical legends die, it rocks us to our cores. Their presence, their music and the memories we associate with them resonate with us in a way no other loss does.

But usually these are musicians from an era I don't remember.

When Adam Yauch, known as MCA from the Beastie Boys, died in early May, it had me thinking about a lot more than "Girls" and "Shake Your Rump." I thought about how my generation — the children of the late 1980s and ’90s who grew up with grunge, dance-pop and early hip-hop — are getting to the age where we will begin to lose the stars and idols from our formative years.


Among the butterflies and quick costume changes, there was a sense of history backstage at the 40th annual Steamboat Dance Theatre annual concert. But the more than 100 cast members of the annual dance production weren't the only ones making history in 2012. The Steamboat Symphony Orchestra closed out its 20th anniversary season, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council turned 40, and Strings Music Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary.

And moving forward, let us not forget that in 2013, the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp turns an impressive 100 years old.

I'm looking forward to a 2013 kicking off with what's sure to be another raucous MusicFest, and I can’t contain my excitement about a Robert Randolph and the Family Band free show Jan. 12.

Let the new year bring powder to fill our days and feasts for all senses to fill our nights.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email