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Western hospitality

There’s only one thing more exhausting than hiking up the Fish Creek Falls trail the morning after a long night – hiking up Fish Creek Falls with the houseguests you’ve been entertaining all weekend.

The “clean your house in two hours” challenge goes into effect half an hour before they arrive. Do the dishes, clean the bathrooms, wash the sheets, stock the toilet paper and somewhere in there – panic.

At least when your friends stay at your house you don’t have to sterilize it like you would for a visit from your parents.



There are different categories of houseguests. There are your friends, your roommate’s friends and in a class of their own, parents.

Your roommate’s visiting friends are the lowest maintenance. You get all the benefits with none of the responsibility. It’s like dog sitting. You get to play with them for a while and then they go home. But you can’t run around in inappropriate clothing or leave the bathroom door open.



Your own visiting friends can be broken into the two subcategories of those who have been to Steamboat before and Steamboat virgins.

The first timers – especially the ones who fly in – require the most attention. They are completely reliant on you for food, transportation, lodging and for your local wisdom and insight.

This group is great because you get to do all the things tourists do. You go to Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Lake, shop downtown and eat out for every meal. (Or maybe that’s just me because I don’t know how to cook.)

Apparently I’ve never had houseguests who like to sleep in on the weekends. But going out to breakfast is a good substitute for rest, because you’ll need your energy as you assume the role of the Steamboat tour guide.

Being a good tour guide is kind of like being a Realtor. You want to sell your hometown. You want to sell your guests (and remind yourself) of all the reasons why you love living here.

My tours also include pointing out all the buildings that have been occupied by five different restaurants in the past two years. I always explain the effects of altitude, the unpredictable mountain weather patterns and the awful smell by Fart Park.

Friends who have been here before skip taking pictures on the horse in front of F.M. Light & Sons and go straight to the local watering hole. Their tour may include stopping by the Laundromat to get your clothes out of the dryer or adding a couple bucks to your bank account so you don’t overdraft over the weekend.

Parents can also be broken into two subcategories – your roommate’s parents and your own parents.

Roommate’s parents are the best. They come bearing gifts and are excited to take you out to dinner. The only time I eat in the fancy restaurants in town is when my roommate’s parents visit. And it’s nice to see who your roommates get some of their quirks from.

Your own parents can be tricky. Mine are extremely high maintenance. I have to give up my bedroom and give them my undivided attention. I also have to answer questions about what I am doing with my life and why I live in such a secluded place. But it’s wonderful to be able to show them the family of friends I’ve raised myself.

No matter who your houseguests are, having them visit allows you to vacation in your own destination resort. You get time to enjoy all the things you pass by on your way to work everyday and discover things you didn’t even realize was in your backyard.

Entertaining houseguests can be exhausting. But when you recover after their departure, it motivates you to do the dishes, clean the bathrooms, wash the sheets and restock the toilet paper.


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