The 20 most-read stories of 2022 at

After the prayer for peace, smaller groups of celebration and music broke out at the 50th Annual Rainbow Family Gathering of Living Light in the Routt National Forest.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

This year, saw nearly 10 million pageviews and almost 6 million individual article pageviews. People were most intrigued by the Rainbow Gathering, stranded airplane passengers, Steamboat Resort upgrades, water and even an obituary from 2020.

These are the 20 most-read stories of 2022 based on online readership.

1. Rainbow Family Gathering will be in Routt County

The 50th anniversary of the annual Rainbow Family Gathering of the Tribes is expected to be in Routt County, according to a Facebook post from the group.

The group boasts being the largest non-organization of non-members in the world and has been meeting for the last handful of days near Oak Creek to pick a location for the gathering, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of people to public lands. The apparent location was announced Tuesday, June 14.

2. Delta flight leaves passengers stranded, extremely unhappy with response

After a week making memories with their four children on slopes of the Steamboat Resort, Rebecca and Erick Soine packed their bags before heading to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport to begin the long trip home.

However, what was expected to be a less than three-hour flight turned into a three-day ordeal full of anything but happy memories.

3. Enforcement actions issued at Rainbow Gathering

National Rainbow Incident Management Team Public Information Officer Hilary Markin reported that U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers have issued 91 enforcement actions through Monday, June 27, to attendees at the 50th anniversary Rainbow Gathering in Adams Park in north Routt County.

Markin said the enforcement actions covered such issues as damages to natural resources, inoperable equipment, narcotics possession or distribution, aggravated assault on a peace officer, felon in possession of a firearm, and resisting or evading an officer.

4. Skier dies in avalanche east of Steamboat Springs

A backcountry skier died in an avalanche that was triggered Saturday, March 19, near the Fish Creek drainage area east of Steamboat Springs.

According to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, at about 12:20 p.m. Saturday, two backcountry skiers were near the Fish Creak drainage area when they triggered the avalanche.

5. Avalanche at Steamboat Resort buried ski patroller, highlights avalanche risk in Colorado

A member of Steamboat Ski Resort’s avalanche mitigation team was caught and buried in a slide in a closed section of terrain on Tuesday, Dec. 6, highlighting how dangerous avalanche conditions are in Colorado’s northern mountains right now.

Other members of the avalanche team were able to quickly locate and dig out the ski patroller that was caught, according to Loryn Duke, director of communications for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.

Lake Powell has dipped below 3,525 feet for the first time in history. The man-made reservoir, seen here near Bullfrog, March 15, 2022, provides water and power to the southwest.
National Park Service/Courtesy photo

6. Lake Powell dangerously close to dropping too low, Grand County may suffer as a result

For the first time in history, Lake Powell has dipped below 3,525 feet. This man-made reservoir provides water and power to the southwest. The reservoir’s normal capacity is 3,700 feet. And experts agree that its current level is the “alarm bell” signaling agencies to act to save the lake. The crisis is so imminent that on April 8, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued an emergency request to Arizona, Nevada and California, asking them to reduce their water deliveries to prevent Lake Powell from dropping to too dangerous a level. The states agreed to the proposed cutbacks on April 22.

7. Sheriff’s office: Skier killed in Saturday avalanche was 49-year-old man from Steamboat

Avalanche conditions in the Steamboat and Flat Tops region were forecasted as moderate on Saturday, March 19, when a backcountry skier was killed in an avalanche east of Steamboat Springs.

The skier who died after being caught in the slide was identified as Andrew Hyde, 49, of Steamboat Springs by Routt County Undersheriff Doug Scherar on Sunday, March 20.

Laura Graves, front, and Sina Good brace while riding the Outlaw Mountain Coaster at Steamboat Resort in Sept. 7, 2017.
Scott Franz/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

8. Mountain Coaster appears to have reached end of the line

When the season comes to a close at Steamboat Resort on Sunday, April 10, it will mark the end of line for the Outlaw Mountain Coaster.

With 6,280 feet of track, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster was one of the longest in North America.

9. Obituary: Zsuzsana Starkloff

Zsuzsana (Zsuzsi) Maria Starkloff of Steamboat Springs, age 83, passed away Friday, May 1 at home after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1936. In 1956 she escaped the communist regime that was infiltrating her homeland and came to the USA as a refugee. 

10. Thousands celebrate ‘interdependence’ at 50th Rainbow Family Gathering (with video)

The Adams Park trailhead in Routt National Forest is usually signified by a brown and yellow sign similar to those seen on public lands throughout the United States.

Other brown and white markers inform would-be trail users about allowable methods of travel: dirt bikes, four-wheelers, horses and by foot.

11. Forest Service closes portion of Routt National Forest near Rainbow Gathering

The U.S. Forest Service established a temporary closure of California Park, an area in Routt National Forest in Routt County, just south of the Rainbow Family Gathering near Adams Park, according to a news release on Friday, June 24.

The closure will take effect on Saturday, June 25, and was issued to protect natural resources in the California Park area, which is “managed for  biological diversity, geological, historical, paleontological, and other values as described in the Routt National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan,” according to the Forest Service.

12. Park: Steamboat woman dies on boating trip in Grand Canyon

A Colorado woman died when she fell into whitewater rapids on the Colorado River while on a boating trip in Grand Canyon National Park, park officials said Friday, March 25.

The death of Mary Kelley of Steamboat Springs occurred Thursday, March 24, near Hance Rapid where there is powerful river turbulence at the intersection with Red Canyon due to debris from flash floods, officials said in a statement.

Brady Wettlaufer celebrates his potential record-breaking Rainbow Trout at Steamboat Lake on Monday, August 8, 2022.
Brady Wettlaufer/Courtesy photo

13. Steamboat fishing guide reels in potential record trout in North Routt

It is not every day in the fishing world that you come across a Rainbow Trout that could earn you a Master Angler Award. It is even less common to reel in a record-breaking Rainbow as you are heading back to shore.

Brady Wettlaufer accomplished both feats after reeling in a 26.5 inch, 12.5 pound Rainbow Trout at Steamboat Lake to earn a potential lake-record on Monday, Aug. 8. 

14. Steamboat man dies in climbing accident in Emery County, Utah

A 41-year-old man from Steamboat Springs died after his rappel anchor broke loose climbing on Saturday, April 16, in Emery County, Utah.

According to the Emery County Sheriff’s Office, Arlo Lott Jr. was in the Farnsworth Canyon when the anchor failed and he fell approximately 70 feet.

15. Steamboat Resort unveils Wild Blue Gondola cabins (with video)

Steamboat Resort employees and Doppelmeyer representatives pulled the covers off the new Wild Blue Gondola cabins on Saturday, Dec. 10, revealing the shiny, royal blue 10-person cabins that mimic the eight-person cabins of the existing Steamboat Gondola.

16. Hundreds of Rainbows set up forest camp in Routt County

In a cross between a huge family reunion and a rustic mountain man rendezvous, the 50th anniversary national assembly of the Rainbow Gathering of the Living Light and Love is taking shape in north Routt County.

Several hundred Rainbows have arrived in everything from old buses and campers to vans and sedans to set up the forest camp north of Hayden that could attract approximately 10,000 people. The goal of the group is to build peace and community with each other.

17. Cast goes to screen, giving Steamboat its first look at ‘Relatively Famous: Ranch Rules’

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, Steamboat Springs got its first look at “Relatively Famous: Ranch Rules,” a reality TV show that stars celebrities’ children as they learn the traditions of ranching while showcasing the beauty of the Saddleback Ranch in Routt County.

“Back in the preproduction phase of the show, we did do a lot of location scouting at a handful of places across the country, and it was just clear that Saddleback Ranch was the best place for our show in terms of scenically, logistically, creatively, infrastructurally and all that stuff,” said Brandon Wahl, vice president of production for Fremantle, which also created the hit shows “America’s Got Talent,” “American Idol,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud,” among others.

18. Teens witness mountain lion killing elk, capture it on video

Four high school students happened upon a mountain lion attacking an elk on Wednesday, Feb. 9, in Routt County, and one of them caught it on video.

“Check out this video sent in by RMEF follower Hoyt Raffay outside of Oak Creek, Colorado,” the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation wrote in a video caption posted Thursday, Feb. 10, on Facebook.

A Colorado Department of Transportation plow truck clears snow on U.S Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. The agency is down eight of the total 24 plow driver positions in the Yampa Valley.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

19. Despite offering $1,000 housing stipend, CDOT still has just one plow driver in Steamboat

Steamboat Springs is currently down one seasonal snowplow driver out of 20 positions. Routt County is fully staffed with 32 snow pushers.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Department of Transportation has just one out of six positions in its Steamboat Springs garage full.

A man raises his arms Monday, July 4, 2022 as he takes part in the “Prayer for Peace” at the gathering of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. Those that attended the event joined hands and formed a large circle in the “main meadow” just off of U.S. Forest Service Trail 1144 in Adams Park.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

20. ‘Not Armageddon’: Officials brace for return of Rainbow Family Gathering to Routt County

After the Rainbow Family of Living Light posted directions to a forested part of Routt County just after noon on Tuesday, June 14, Commissioner Tim Redmond’s phone was “bombarded.”

Constituents were reaching out concerned about the news of the group’s 50th anniversary gathering taking place in a remote area of the Routt National Forest known as Adams Park.

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