What makes winter awesome: 4 locals share why they love snowy Steamboat 

The slopes of Steamboat Resort are seen through and a snow-covered window on an old outbuilding just off of River Road in the Brooklyn neighborhood, making for a picturesque holiday scene in Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

People love winter in Steamboat Springs because it feels like living in a snowglobe. But everyone’s dream snowglobe might look a little bit different.

The Pilot & Today asked four Steamboat locals, from City Council President to an Olympian, what makes winter so special to them. The answers might surprise you.

Robin Crossan
City of Steamboat Springs/Courtesy photo

Robin Crossan

Well known in town as Steamboat City Council president, Robin Crossan also works in baggage services at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport. 

Crossan moved to town in 2001 with her family and immediately fell in love with the winter atmosphere and the passionate residents who love staying active and being outside. It first amazed her to see people of all ages enjoying the winter weather but it did not take long for her to understand why.

Meeting so many people from all stretches of the globe at the airport, Crossan noticed one common trend. Visitors are awestruck the second they get off the plane and see the snow capped mountains for the very first time. 

In Crossan’s mind, there is truly no better place to take in the wintertime than Steamboat Springs. 

“People get off the plane, they are still wearing t-shirts and flip flops and it could be 20-below but they get these big grins on their face because they see the mountains around them,” Crossan said. “For so many of them, they have never seen snow on mountains and the kids have smiles on their faces and are super excited to be here.”

Jon Nolting

Jon Nolting

Now entering his eighth winter living in Steamboat Springs, Jon Nolting is the sitting Chief Operating Officer for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. 

Nolting has played a role in nearly every aspect of winter sports both in operations and coaching. He has over 25 years of experience in various positions including a director role with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. 

Of all the places Nolting has been in Colorado, he confidently recognizes Steamboat Springs as the best for winter sports from both a recreational and competitive standpoint. The rich history of excellence in winter sports was a big draw for Nolting to come to town.

He highlights North America’s longest continuously running ski area, Howelsen Hill, as the perfect  community winter facility for all to enjoy. 

“Of course my favorite part about winter is seeing all of the kids in the community out at Howelsen hill playing on skis, snowboards and jumping skis every night under the lights, it’s magical,” Nolting said. “Steamboat winters are perfect because the snow is plentiful but the spring comes early compared to a lot of places in Colorado.”

Candice Bannister
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Candice Bannister

Working over 22 years as the Executive Director at Tread of Pioneers Museum, not many know and appreciate the history of Steamboat Springs as well as Candice Bannister. 

Bannister and the museum’s No. 1 goal is to preserve and celebrate the history of one of the most beautiful ski towns in the country. 

Bannister believes a trip to Steamboat Springs would not be complete without visiting the Tread of Pioneers Museum. The winter season has always played a great part in what makes the city so amazing and that history can be unlocked at the museum. The highlight of winter for Bannister is the endless activities the town has available for people of all ages to enjoy. 

“The Museum’s annual Yule Log Hunt makes Steamboat awesome,” Bannister said. “Solving history-themed riddles, searching for the famous log and participating in this popular community tradition. Also, Steamboat’s champagne powder, public lands, open landscapes and endless beauty gives everyone a reason to get outside regularly to stay healthy in body and mind.”

Decker Dean
Leah Vann/Steamboat Pilot & Today archive

Decker Dean

Growing up in Steamboat Springs, the city shaped the man Decker Dean has become. 

Dean began skiing at two-years old and has since accomplished some of the most remarkable feats in athletic competition. Steamboat is well known for its production of Olympic-caliber talent and Dean will be forever known as the city’s 100th Olympic athlete. 

Dean’s favorite memory from growing up in Steamboat was being able to ski as a kid and build unbreakable relationships that he still holds today at 22. 

He looks back fondly on skiing at both Howelsen Hill and Steamboat Resort and being outside for so long that he got too cold and needed to make a stop at Howelsen Lodge or the Four-Points Lodge. It was at those places where Dean was able to be himself, have fun and hang out with his closest friends. 

He will always be thankful for the opportunities Steamboat Springs provided him and he holds the memories very close to his heart as he continues his athletic endeavors while living in Norway. 

“It’s pretty crazy to look back on it,” Dean said. “It’s definitely something I’ll never take for granted because when I think about it, the relationships that I have built have been through skiing. Growing up and living in Steamboat and being able to ski in the winter pretty much formed my entire life and social life especially.”

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