Steamboat loses a caring Realtor and a ‘real character’ after bicycle crash
July 19, 2017
When he wasn't selling homes and helping his friends find some land to build their dream cabins on, Steve Novack was eagerly volunteering to sell snow cones at Steamboat's Fourth of July parade to benefit children with autism.
The Steamboat Springs Realtor, who friends say would sometimes resemble a superhero for his choice of warm winter scarves, would always be the first to sign up to volunteer at the big community events and fundraisers.
Novack died Monday following a bicycle accident Sunday in Steamboat.
"He was always doing something for the community," said Karen Beauvais, Novack's managing broker at Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties. “He'd do anything for you. He was always there to help."
Beauvais said grass never grew under Novack's feet.
Locals would often spot Novack at the free summer concerts and the closing days of other ski areas around the state.
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He also made it to all of the local chamber mixers.
As a part-time taxi driver for Alpine Taxi in the 1990s, Novack also left a good impression with many of the tourists he drove around Steamboat.
He would gush about the town for all of the 30 minutes the shuttle was on its way to Yampa Valley Regional Airport and thank the guests for choosing Steamboat in the crowded ski resort market.
And when the taxi approached the terminal, Novack turned on John Denver's classic "Rocky Mountain High."
The move became a tradition.
"He always had a smile on his face," said Ulrich Salzgeber, the head of Steamboat's Board of Realtors and former owner of the local taxi service. "He was just all around a really good guy."
Friends and coworkers described Novack on Wednesday as a sharp and caring Realtor who was an avid skier and cyclist.
He had sold residential and commercial real estate in Steamboat for 17 years.
Novack, 64, left his office at Coldwell Banker on Sunday afternoon on his bicycle to grab some lunch.
Around 12:44 p.m., he crashed hard on his bike on Trafalgar Drive between Freshie's and the Mountain View Car wash.
He was knocked unconscious after hitting his head.
Witnesses who heard the loud crash rushed to Novack’s aid before he was taken to the hospital, then flown to Denver.
Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Novack died Monday night in a Denver hospital from the traumatic brain injury he sustained during the crash.
Based on reviews of nearby video cameras and interviews with witnesses who heard the crash, police think Novack lost control on Trafalgar and went down when no vehicles or other cyclists were nearby on the road.
But, because nobody actually saw the crash, police did not indicate what might have caused Novack to lose control.
He was not wearing a helmet.
“It was totally a freak accident,” Beauvais said.
Coworkers said Novack usually wears a helmet when he’s riding his bicycle, but he wasn't that day, because he told coworkers he was just going for a short ride down the street.
"How do you bury a good friend? It's just really hard," Beauvais said Wednesday. “We had a little memorial service for him at the office, and people just told story after story.”
A memorial service is being planned for Novack sometime in September or October.
Coworkers and friends are also planning to honor Novack and his love of winter scarves by collecting scarves and donating them to a non-profit group such as Lift-Up of Routt County.
Part time Steamboat resident Adam Smith, who worked with Novack for years on a number of real estate transactions, said his death will leave a hole in the community.
"He certainly had great character, and was a character, to boot," Smith said. "A very nice man, a wonderful advocate for his clients, and he will be missed."