Steamboat Springs, Colo. Profile

Skiing's the thing in this Colorado resort community, dating all the way back to the early 1900s.

Population: 9,815

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a

Major Airport: Steamboat/Hayden Airport offers direct flights from nine major cities; Denver International Airport is about three hours away

Companies with a Major Presence Here: The Industrial Company (TIC); Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation; Colorado Mountain College; Yampa Valley Medical Center; SmartWool; ACZ Laboratories; building and construction companies such as Fox Construction and TDC Inc.; property management companies such as Mountain Resorts, Steamboat Resorts and Central Park Management.

Dubbed “Ski Town USA,” Steamboat Springs has produced more Olympic athletes — 69 of them so far — than any other town in North America. Even before Jim Temple first planted chairlifts on Storm Mountain in the 1960s and founded what is now the world-class Steamboat ski resort, skiing was a way of life. Area ranchers forded the region’s deep snows on skis, and in 1913, the famed Norwegian ski jumper Carl Howelsen taught locals how to soar through the air, launching a tradition of winter sports that continues today.

As a resort community, Steamboat Springs receives more than a half-million visitors annually, but tourism hasn’t supplanted Steamboat’s “real town” character. The historic downtown remains the hub where locals converge not just for shopping, but for civic festivals: On Halloween, Lincoln Avenue is closed to vehicles so costumed families can go trick-or-treating from store to store, and during Winter Carnival — a beloved tradition dating back to 1914 — wacky snow-themed races are staged on the street. Ranching traditions are also alive and well; cattle still graze the open pastures around town, and the weekly rodeo stages bronco and bull-riding events throughout the summer. But these days, ranching families are joined by young professionals, ski bums, early retirees and “location-neutral” entrepreneurs that combine to create Steamboat Springs’ friendly, come-as-you-are community.

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