Board of Realtors, Steamboat Resort and Snow Bowl team up to serve Christmas dinners

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — While COVID-19 has forced a significant change to the format of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors Community Christmas Dinner, they still plan to give out about 600 meals Friday.

Instead of buffet lines and a sea of red and green clothed tables draped with garland, volunteers will be outside, handing out meals through car windows at Snow Bowl, at 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza, and the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors office, at 625 S. Lincoln Ave.

Dinners will be given out from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, serving about 600 meals total, 300 at each location.

This is just the latest effort by the Steamboat community to prepare meals for those in need. Over the summer, Snow Bowl served more than 20,000 meals through their Family Bowl program and, in partnership with the Routt County United Way, served about 500 more meals on Thanksgiving.

The Board of Realtors has been hosting the Christmas dinner for 33 years, and the event is normally held in the Steamboat Springs Community Center. But the health danger that a traditional dinner could pose due to COVID-19 made them change course.

Ulrich Salzgerber, CEO of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, said the drive-thru method seems to be the best way to get people meals safely.

“Snow Bowl pretty much has it down, so we are kind of copying their lead on it and hoping it continues to work well, as it has there,” Salzgerber said.

Meryl Meranski, part of the ownership group of Snow Bowl, said the business plans to distribute meals much like they did Family Bowl and on Thanksgiving. She said an assembly line inside packages and bags the meals before they will be handed through the window or right into the trunk, whatever the driver prefers.

Salzgerber said he hopes the 600 meals they have planned will be enough for everyone. He said they would have volunteers helping bring meals to cars and keep the process moving at both locations.

Steamboat Resort is preparing all the food at the Board of Realtors location in their kitchens at The Steamboat Grand, before individually packing them and bringing them to the pick up location.

Loryn Duke, director of communications for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp., said that in the past, the resort has donated sides to the meal, but this year, they felt they could take on a bigger role in the meal.

“In our discussions with the Board of Realtors, they asked us, and we thought that we could step up in a bigger way, and making full meals would provide more assistance than just a side,” Duke said. “We were happy to step up to that challenge.”

The menu for the Board of Realtors location is ham, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing and rolls.

The meals at the Snow Bowl location will be prepared by chef Pete List and have two different options. They received a donation of turkeys from Steamboat Meat and Seafood Co. as well as some ham from the Board of Realtors donations. Meranski said List is calling it Christmas dinner with a Southern flair.

Option one includes roast turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, braised collard greens and a dinner roll. Option two will feature spiral ham, sweet corn spoon bread, collard greens, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas and a dinner roll. Each of the two options will feature an apple brown Betty for dessert.

Meranski said the Community Agriculture Alliance reached out to help them compost pre-consumer food waste from preparing the meals. She said List will separate compost out, and it will go to Innovative Regeneration Colorado in Phippsburg.

Meranski said kitchen volunteers are showing up at about 9 a.m. Christmas morning to start preparing food, and other volunteers will start around noon.

“The fact that these big organizations in Steamboat have trusted us because of Family Bowl to help put this on in a safe way and know that they are going to be getting quality service and food, we’re just really grateful to be apart of this,” Meranski said.

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