Bust a move in the name of snow at Friends of the Yampa’s annual Big Snow Dance
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Opening Day is almost here but the mountain appears to still be bare.
It’s time to do a little dance – a snow dance, that is.
The first Big Snow Dance fundraiser, held before the 2010-11 ski season, must have had the right groove, with a record snowfall and powder-filled La Nina year at 433 inches.
“Everyone has powder on the brain, but we are still looking out the window at our lawns, so it’s time to do a snow dance,” said Holley Gardel, Friends of the Yampa program coordinator. “But hey, why stop at just a snow dance? Let’s do a big Snow Dance and call on Ullr to deliver some big snow.”
Powder hounds are hoping their dance moves will once again work their magic at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Old Town Pub for this year’s annual Big Snow Dance, the largest fundraiser of the year for Friends of the Yampa, the local river conservation nonprofit.
“We named our fundraiser the Big Snow Dance to pay homage to the snow gods and to celebrate all things snowpack,” said Kent Vertrees, Friends of the Yampa board member. “Without lots of snow in our mountains come spring runoff, the wild Yampa River wouldn’t be the same. Our family of Friends also like to ski, ride, dance and party so it’s a perfect title for what we do at the Friends of the Yampa.”
At a new location, the annual winter pre-season bash will feature live music by Buffalo Commons and a live and silent auction with items donated by the community, including gift certificates and ski passes.
“All of us in Steamboat have been affected in some way by the river that runs through it, whether it’s river running, fishing, paddleboarding, tubing, walking the core trail or simply watching it flow by,” Gardel said. “Rivers have the power to connect people, and regardless of why we care about this river, the bottom line is that we do. The Yampa River is a significant part of our lives, and this is the time to celebrate that.”
With the $10 suggested donation at the door and auctions, Funds raised at the event will go toward various river projects led by Friends of the Yampa.
Annually, Friends of the Yampa spearheads the Yampa River Awareness Project along with their project partners, American Rivers and O.A.R.S, to rally local, state, national and international organizations, businesses and individuals to realize the unique, natural and recreational values of the Yampa.
Projects the nonprofit is currently working on include the Little Yampa Canyon campsite revitalization, in partnership with the Little Snake BLM and Yampa River State Park, and the Yampa Passage project, the brainchild of Jonathan Stauffer, a Friends of the Yampa board member who passed away suddenly last December.
The Little Yampa Canyon campsite, which is set to open in May 2018, is a stretch of river just outside of Craig with a unique 27-mile, flat-water run through BLM land recognized statewide and regionally as a “Wild and Scenic River” listing.
“If you have not explored this little stretch of river yet, get out there and do it. You might be surprised at the beauty, the fishing, the wildlife and the serenity that you find there,” Gardel said.
According to Gardel, Stauffer’s vision for the Yampa Passage project was to allow river enthusiasts to float unimpeded from the Catamount tailwater “without trespassing or dragging boats over a hairball dam, to fish and raft all summer and have multi-day floats.”
“Those are Jonathan’s words, and we’d like to make this happen by removing unnecessary structures that prevent passage down the Yampa,” Gardel said. “This is a longer-term project, and we know it won’t be easy, but we intend to see it through.
“This fundraiser is critical to the success of the Friends of the Yampa,” Gardel added. “Like most nonprofits in NW Colorado, we rely on annual events like this to drive our programming. It’s crucial for our friends to come out, enjoy the party and invest in our online auction.”
A donation of $10 is suggested.
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Steamboat Free Summer Concerts announced Friday that it will return live music to the Yampa Valley this summer in the form of two concerts scheduled for August and September.