Steamboat Springs, Colorado

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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Steamboat Springs downtown.jpg
Downtown Steamboat Springs in May 2006 with the ski area in the background
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Ski Town USA
Routt County Colorado Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Steamboat Springs Highlighted 0873825.svg
Location of the City of Steamboat Springs in Routt County, Colorado
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Steamboat Springs
Location of the City of Steamboat Springs in Colorado
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Steamboat Springs
Location of the City of Steamboat Springs in the United States
Coordinates: 40°30′17″N106°49′36″W / 40.50472°N 106.82667°W / 40.50472; -106.82667
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Colorado.svg  Colorado
County Routt County [2]
City Steamboat Springs [1]
Incorporated July 19, 1900 [3]
  Type Home rule municipality [1]
  Total9.90 sq mi (25.64 km2)
  Land9.89 sq mi (25.61 km2)
  Water0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
6,867 ft (2,093 m)
 (2020) [6]
  Density1,300/sq mi (520/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP Codes [7]
80477, 80487, 80488
Area code 970
FIPS code 08-73825
GNIS feature ID2411976 [5]
Website City Website

Steamboat Springs is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Routt County, Colorado. [8] The population was 13,224 at the 2020 census. [9] Steamboat Springs is the principal city of the Steamboat Springs Micropolitan Statistical Area, and it is the largest city in northwestern Colorado.


The city is a winter ski resort destination, including the Steamboat Ski Resort on Mount Werner in the Park Range just east of the town and the much smaller Howelsen Hill Ski Area. Steamboat Springs has produced more athletes for the Winter Olympics than any other town in North America. [10]

Steamboat Springs known colloquially as "The Boat" is located in the upper valley of the Yampa River, along U.S. Highway 40, just west of the Continental Divide and Rabbit Ears Pass. It is located approximately 150 miles northwest of Denver, and sits approximately 45 miles south of the Wyoming border. [11] It is served by Steamboat Springs Airport (general aviation) and commercial service at nearby Yampa Valley Airport.


Steamboat Springs is a mix of older architecture and newer resort developments, especially near the ski resort on the eastern edge of town. DSCN7433 rabbitearsmotel e 600.jpg
Steamboat Springs is a mix of older architecture and newer resort developments, especially near the ski resort on the eastern edge of town.
The Steamboat Spring, with history marker sign Steamboat Spring.jpg
The Steamboat Spring, with history marker sign
The Routt County Courthouse in Steamboat Springs Routt County Courthouse, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.JPG
The Routt County Courthouse in Steamboat Springs

The area surrounding Steamboat Springs was originally inhabited by the Yampatika band of the Utes, who hunted in the valley during the summer. Trappers began to move through the area during the first decades of the 19th century. James Harvey Crawford, the founder of Steamboat Springs, first arrived in the spring of 1874. The Crawford family moved there in 1876, and for the first five years were the sole permanent white residents of the town. The native Utes were forcibly removed from the area to a reservation in Utah by the U.S. Army starting in 1879. Milestones in the development of the pioneer town included the first sawmill in 1873, incorporation of the town in 1900, and the arrival of the railroad in 1909. The economy of the region was originally based on ranching and mining, which still have a large presence in the county. [12] [13] [14]

Steamboat is home to several natural hot springs that are located throughout the area (see Geography). Upon first hearing a chugging sound, early trappers believed that a steamboat was coming down the river. When the trappers saw that there was no steamboat, and that the sound was coming from a hot spring, they decided to name the spring Steamboat Spring. [15]

Originally, skiing was the only method of transportation during harsh and snowy Rocky Mountain winters. In turn, the popularity of skiing as a winter pastime catalyzed development of the town and other communities all over the Rocky Mountains. In 1913, Carl Howelsen, a Norwegian, moved to town and introduced ski jumping. Howelsen built the first jump on Howelsen Hill, now part of the Howelsen Ski Area. He also founded the annual Winter Carnival, a celebration still held each winter. The festival includes ski racing and jumping, dog sledding, and chariot events down Lincoln Avenue, the city's main street. Light shows on both Mount Werner and Howelsen Hill are highlights. Howelsen also founded the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and built the town's first ski jumps. The oldest continually operating ski area in North America, Howelsen Hill, now bears his name and is one of just three complete ski jumping complexes in the United States.

The Steamboat Ski Resort was largely established by two local men, Jim Temple and John Fetcher. Temple led the effort to develop the area. Fetcher, a local rancher, was the main designer and builder. The resort opened on what was then called Storm Mountain in 1963.

A kid sledding behind a horse down Main Street during Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs.jpg
A kid sledding behind a horse down Main Street during Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs

In 1974, The Industrial Company (TIC) was started in Steamboat Springs and has since grown into one of the largest industrial construction companies in the United States with revenues of approximately $2 billion in 2007. The company is one of the largest employers in Routt County and has more than 9,000 employees worldwide. TIC - The Industrial Company was acquired by Kiewit Engineering and all operations except the Training Center moved elsewhere (Denver, etc.).[ citation needed ][ date missing ] The main TIC complex on Routt County Road 129 has been acquired by Yampa Valley Electric Association as their new headquarters, with extensive renovation. This property provides ample areas for offices, vehicle maintenance, and construction laydown activities.[ citation needed ]

In 1993, the City Council of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, conducted a poll of its residents to choose a new name for the bridge that crossed the Yampa River on Shield Drive. With 7,717 votes, the winning name was "James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge". The bridge was officially dedicated in September 1993, and James Brown appeared at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the event. [16]

Historic buildings

Historic buildings in Steamboat Springs include:


Soda Creek, looking toward the Yampa River confluence, by the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs Soda Creek at Yampa River confluence.jpg
Soda Creek, looking toward the Yampa River confluence, by the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.1 square miles (26 km2), all of it land except for the Yampa River.

The Yampa Valley and surrounding area contain several geothermal hot springs. The city is named after the Steamboat Spring, located near the present-day library and the old train depot. The spring itself was so named because its bubbling sounded like a steamboat to early settlers.

Though there are no steamboats in the town, except for an allegorical "steamboat" playground in West Lincoln Park which was designed to resemble a steamboat and has since been mostly torn down. The area offers hot springs that are open to the public.

The Yampa River flows through the middle of town.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Steamboat Springs has a warm-summer humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps. The hottest temperature recorded in Steamboat Springs was 100 °F (37.8 °C) on June 29, 1990, while the coldest temperature recorded was −54 °F (−47.8 °C) on January 7, 1913.

Climate data for Steamboat Springs, Colorado (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1893–present)
Record high °F (°C)57
Mean maximum °F (°C)42.5
Mean daily maximum °F (°C)29.2
Daily mean °F (°C)16.9
Mean daily minimum °F (°C)4.6
Mean minimum °F (°C)−17.1
Record low °F (°C)−54
Average precipitation inches (mm)2.46
Average snowfall inches (cm)46.6
Average extreme snow depth inches (cm)30.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)14.813.410.612.512.78.39.411.79.59.310.413.4136.0
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)14.914.
Source: NOAA [17] [18]


Historical population
1910 1,227
1920 1,2491.8%
1930 1,198−4.1%
1940 1,61334.6%
1950 1,91318.6%
1960 1,843−3.7%
1970 2,34027.0%
1980 5,098117.9%
1990 6,69531.3%
2000 9,81546.6%
2010 12,08823.2%
2020 13,2249.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [19]

As of the census [20] of 2010, there were 12,088 people, 5,201 households, and 2,275 families residing in the city. There were 9,966 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 94% White, 0.6% Asian, 0.8% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population. [21]

There were 4,201 households, out of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 6.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.6% were non-families. Additionally, 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 2.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.81.

The median age of Steamboat's population was 36.5 years. By sex, the population was 54.2 percent male, 45.8 percent female.

The median income for a household in the city was $54,647, and the median income for a family was $65,685. Males had a median income of $35,536 versus $28,244 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,695. About 2.7% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.4% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.


Steamboat Springs is served by Steamboat Springs School District RE-2.

The city is also home to the Steamboat Springs campus of Colorado Mountain College. [22] CMC Steamboat Springs is notable for being the only college in the United States offering a degree in Ski & Snowboard Business, which focuses on the retail, manufacturing, and marketing of snowsports. [23]


The ski resort at Steamboat Springs Steamboat springs ski resort.jpg
The ski resort at Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs offers skiing opportunities and has been the locale for skiing competitions including the 1989 and 1990 Alpine Skiing World Cup.[ citation needed ]

The Yampa river is a location for water sports like fishing, rafting, tubing, and kayaking (playboating). The 4-mile (6.4 km) grade II-III [24] whitewater run through town ends with two surfable holes. One is called D-Hole; the other one—near the library, close to the Steamboat Spring—is named Charlie's Hole or C-Hole for short, after local kayaker Charlie Beavers (1981–2002). Beavers started kayaking at age 12, [25] was the first to explore a number of rivers ("first descents"), [26] and successfully contended in playboating competitions. He died in a non-boating accident in 2002. The hole [27] and some kayaking events [28] were dedicated to him.

Kayakers at Charlie's Hole on the Yampa River Steamboat Springs C-Hole.jpg
Kayakers at Charlie's Hole on the Yampa River

Every year on the first weekend of June, Steamboat Springs organizes the Yampa River Festival. It includes a kayak rodeo (i.e., a playboating competition) which attracts national and international world class playboaters. Additional events include but are not limited to a downriver race which is Colorado's only upstream slalom race, and the Crazy River Dog Contest, in which dogs retrieve sticks from the river and may pass a whitewater section. [29]

The defunct ski area Stagecoach is about twenty miles (32 km) south of Steamboat. It lasted two ski seasons, closing in 1974.

Notable people


Sister cities

Steamboat Springs has two sister cities , as designated by Sister Cities International :

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Routt County, Colorado</span> County in Colorado, United States

Routt County is a county located in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2020 census, the population was 24,829. The county seat is Steamboat Springs. Routt County comprises the Steamboat Springs, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winter Park, Colorado</span> Town in Colorado, United States

Winter Park is a home rule municipality in Grand County, Colorado, United States. The permanent population was 1,033 at the 2020 census, although with 2,572 housing units within the town limits the seasonal population can be much higher.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Craig, Colorado</span> City in Moffat County, Colorado, U.S.

Craig is a home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Moffat County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 9,060 at the 2020 United States Census. Craig is the principal city of the Craig, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hayden, Colorado</span> Town in Colorado, United States

The Town of Hayden is a home rule municipality located in Routt County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 1,941 at the 2020 United States Census. Hayden is a part of the Steamboat Springs, CO Micropolitan Statistical Area. The town sits along U.S. Highway 40 in the Yampa River Valley between Craig and Steamboat Springs. Hayden is located near the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, by which Hayden is one of the smallest communities in the U.S. to have mainline passenger jet service provided by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines on a scheduled basis.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Park Range (Colorado)</span> Mountain range in Colorado, United States

The Park Range, elevation approximately 3,712 metres (12,178 ft), is a mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Colorado in the United States. The range forms a relatively isolated part of the Continental Divide, extending north-to-south for approximately 170 kilometres (110 mi) along the boundary between Jackson (east) and Routt counties. It separates North Park in the upper basin of the North Platte River on the east from the Elk River basin in the watershed of the Yampa River the west. It rises steeply out of the Yampa River basin, forming a climatic barrier that receives much snowfall in winter. The northern end of the range lies in Wyoming and is known as the Sierra Madre Range.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yampa Valley Airport</span> Airport in Colorado, United States of America

Yampa Valley Regional Airport is in Routt County, Colorado, United States, serving the communities of Steamboat Springs, Hayden, and Craig, Colorado. The airport is two miles southeast of Hayden, about 20 miles east of Craig and about 25 miles (40 km) west of Steamboat Springs. It has the only scheduled passenger flights in northwest Colorado. It is also used by larger business jets that cannot use the smaller Steamboat Springs Airport.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mount Werner</span> Mountain in Colorado, United States

Mount Werner is a mountain summit in the Park Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 10,570-foot (3,222 m) peak is located in Routt National Forest, 4.6 miles (7.4 km) east-southeast of the City of Steamboat Springs in Routt County, Colorado, United States. The mountain was renamed in 1964 in honor of skier Buddy Werner.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Buddy Werner</span> American alpine skier

Wallace Jerold "Buddy" Werner was an American alpine ski racer in the 1950s and early 1960s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Medicine Bow–Routt National Forest</span> U.S. Forest Service managed area

Medicine Bow–Routt National Forest is the official title to a U.S. Forest Service managed area extending over 2,222,313 acres (8,993.38 km2) in the states of Wyoming and Colorado, United States. What were once three separate areas, Medicine Bow National Forest, Routt National Forest, and Thunder Basin National Grassland were administratively combined in 1995 due to similarity of the resources, proximity to each other and for administrative purposes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Karl Hovelsen</span> Norwegian Nordic combined skier

Karl Frithjof Hovelsen was a Norwegian Nordic skier. Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was named in his honor.

The High Rockies, or high country, is a term for a region of the U.S. state of Colorado. It commonly includes Larimer County, Jackson County, Routt County, Grand County, Summit County, Eagle County, Lake County, and Pitkin County. Some notable towns there include Estes Park, Walden, Steamboat Springs, Grand Lake, Winter Park, Breckenridge, Dillon, Vail, Leadville, and Aspen. The geography of the High Rockies has some of the most rugged parts of the Rocky Mountains and consists of the Front Range and mountainous topography to the west, much of which is on or near the Continental Divide. Known for pine forests and winding roads, the former mining towns there have been reinvented by wilderness tourism such as hiking, cycling, fishing, and most especially both cross-country and alpine skiing. Notable ski resorts include Copper Mountain, Keystone Resort, Steamboat Ski Resort, Beaver Creek Resort, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Aspen Mountain. The High Rockies are also the location of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest.

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (SSWSC) is located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. SSWSC has produced 88 Winter Olympians, including 14 sent to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. Some of the more well-known Olympians including 6-time Olympian Todd Lodwick, 5-time Olympian Billy Demong, 1992 Bronze Medalist Nelson Carmichael, 2002 Silver Medalist Travis Mayer, and Caroline Lalive.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Stagecoach, Colorado</span>

Stagecoach was a short-lived ski resort in Colorado in the early 1970s, located 20 miles (32 km) south of Steamboat Springs in Routt County.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Howelsen Hill Ski Area</span> Ski resort in Colorado, United States

Howelsen Hill Ski Area is a small ski area located on Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It is not a typical alpine ski area, as it includes a series of ski jumps, the largest with HS127.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andrew Wirth</span> American businessman and philanthropist

Andrew "Andy" Wirth is an American businessman and philanthropist who works in the mountain resort and hotel industry. He was most recently the president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, the parent company of Palisades Tahoe and Alpine Meadows ski resorts in Olympic Valley, CA until 2018. He is also the grandson of former US National Park Service Director Conrad Wirth and the great grandson of Theodore Wirth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Harvey Crawford</span>

James Harvey Crawford (1845-1930) was the founder of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He was a man of many vocations: soldier, farmer, pioneer, cattleman, miner, land developer, and politician. He was called the "Father of Steamboat Springs", and his wife Margaret Emerine (Bourn) Crawford was called the "Mother of Routt County".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Crawford House (Steamboat Springs, Colorado)</span> Historic house in Colorado, United States

The Crawford House is a building in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA, that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its importance as the primary residence for 36 years of James Harvey Crawford, the Father of Steamboat Springs, and his wife, Margaret Emerine (Bourn) Crawford, the Mother of Routt County. The two of them together were among the most influential pioneering families in northwest Colorado. The Crawford House is also listed as a rare local example of residential Romanesque Revival architecture.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Katy Rodolph</span> American alpine skier

Catherine Louise "Katy" Rodolph was an alpine ski racer from the United States. She was a member of four world championship and Olympic teams in the 1950s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elk Mountain (Routt County, Colorado)</span> Mountain in Colorado, United States

Elk Mountain is a summit in Routt County, Colorado. The mountain lies to the northwest of Steamboat Springs and is easily seen from the city, especially from along Lincoln Avenue, Steamboat's main street. The mountain is also easily seen from Mount Werner, the home of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">1968 NCAA Skiing Championships</span>

The 1968 NCAA Skiing Championships were contested at Mount Werner ski area near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, at the fifteenth annual NCAA-sanctioned ski tournament to determine the individual and team national champions of men's collegiate alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and ski jumping in the United States.


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