Resort free meal program ends, Snow Bowl’s Family Bowl continues to roll

John F. Russell & Bryce Martin
Steamboat Pilot & Today
Snow Bowl Steamboat has provided 14,000 free carryout meals as part of its Family Bowl initiative.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Steamboat Springs closed down in early March, Steamboat Resort and Snow Bowl Steamboat went to work providing nearly 20,000 meals for many of those without work due to the pandemic.

“When the COVID-19 crisis hit our community very quickly, we recognized that there was a huge impact on our community with the resort closing, and being able to use the food resources that we had on site to support our community members was an important way for us to help the community that was in need,” said Loryn Duke, Steamboat Resort director of communications. “We were really proud and grateful to be able to provide meals, not only to our staff, but to the community at large. … We’re proud of that effort, and we are extremely grateful for the support that we got from the community.”

Earlier this week, Steamboat Resort announced this will be the final week of free meal pickup. With the safer-at-home order recently issued by the state, more businesses are able to open, and more people are able to return to work. The resort has since seen diminishing participation in the meal program and will focus efforts elsewhere. For more information on Steamboat Resort’s community efforts, visit

The resort provided nearly 6,000 meals to employees and community members who were out of work over the past six weeks. During the first four weeks, Duke said, the program was handing out nearly 200 meals per day. That number has fallen to about 160 meals per day.

“We did see a decline, but in our conversations with Snow Bowl, they said they have not seen a decline,” Duke said. “We are grateful that we can stop the service, but that there is still a community partner who is providing for those in need.”

Snow Bowl, a few miles to the west down U.S. Highway 40, said they will continue to offer meals through its Family Bowl initiative, which has provided just short of 14,000 free carryout meals to service industry individuals and community members who have recently lost their jobs or can’t afford meals, according to spokesperson Meryl Meranski.

“We’re still continuing Family Bowl every night from 5 to 7 (p.m.),” Meranski said. “Our average is about 250 to 300 every night.”

Free meals

Steamboat Resort

  • The resort will end its free meal program Friday. Until then meals can be picked up between 2 to 3 p.m. at the Gondola Transit Center.

Family Bowl initiative

  • Those in need can stop from 5 to 7 p.m. daily at 2090 Snow Bowl Plaza to pick up meals.
  • More information: Facebook or Instagram.
  • Support: GoFundMe

Corey Wagner, vice president of Western Centers, who renovated and runs Snow Bowl said Family Bowl has been a community effort with people making close to $35,000 in donations in addition to local sponsors stepping forward to pick up the cost of serving the meals.

“We continue to see support from the community and support from some of the local businesses,” Wagner said. “We’ve had some great community partners who see what we’re doing and realize and appreciate how helpful it is to the community, and so they’ve wanted to do their part in supporting it financially.”

Currently, the plan is to continue providing free meals, and thanks to some recent contributions, Wagner said the program is in good shape. However, he said the program has costs.

“We definitely need contributions going forward,” Wagner said. “But it’s not something where we’re sitting here saying we have a week left or two weeks left.”

At some point, as the business community starts opening up, Wagner said Snow Bowl will begin transitioning back to the for-profit model that it operated on prior to COVID-19.

“It’s still too early to really say what that might look like,” Wagner said. “But those are some of the things that we’re trying to prepare for and just figure it out, and be ready for that once we’re given the opportunity — if it makes sense for us to reopen the for-profit side — how we can do that, but still continue to provide this need for the community?”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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