“The mountains are calling, and I must go” is a quote from one of America’s most influential outdoor enthusiasts, John Muir.
But did you ever think of doing the same thing?
In 2005, my wife and I, along with our two sons, decided to do just that. Many of our friends thought we were nuts. How could we leave a stable, mid-career environment and venture into the great unknown? Wasn’t that supposed to be for ski bums? Shouldn’t we wait until we retire?
But undaunted, we took the plunge, and moved to Steamboat Springs, nestled in the Rockies in a beautiful but isolated corner of Northwest Colorado.
Here’s what we learned from our personal experiences.
You’ll be the Happiest Contrarian Around
We felt the time to make the move was when we could really enjoy it. Who knows what we’d feel like when we retire, or what kind of shape we’ll be in. We decided it wasn’t worth the risk to put our dreams on hold.
Visitors will Envy You
Often while skiing, people will ask, “how did you do it?” We tell them candidly we just decided to do it. Most people have the skills to adapt to different situations or work remotely, and we’re no different.
You’ll Live in a Magical Bubble
Steamboat Springs, along with many other ski resort towns, just feels different. You’ll see it in its unbridled optimism. People don’t complain about the weather because snow is welcomed and Colorado is very sunny. Residents are doing the “snow dance” during ski season.
Your Kids Will Go to Some of the Best Schools in Colorado
In 2018, BackgroundChecks.org announced that the Steamboat School District placed second in the state, ranked on math and reading scores, dropout rates, funding, and poverty rates.
Your Kids will Learn to Ski or Snowboard on a Black Diamond Run
Your kids can learn to ski with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the most awarded ski club in North America. It’s amazing to see kids three and four years old coming down black diamond runs, and thinking nothing of it.
You’ll be Living in a Town Full of Olympians
Steamboat Springs has sent more athletes to the Olympics than any other place in North America. This is a remarkable feat when you consider Steamboat’s population is estimated to be 12,965.
You’ll Enjoy Some of the Best Water and Air Quality in the World
According to the EPA, Steamboat Springs’ water quality is 100 – it’s the best it can be. And the air quality is 93, compared to the U.S. average of 58. We wanted our kids to be able to grow up in an area with pristine air and water.
Viewing the Milky Way is a Common Occurrence
Along with the elevation and pristine air is the opportunity to see stars the way natured intended. On a clear night, the stars come out in staggering numbers, which you may have only seen in pictures before.
You’ll have Access to World Class Hiking, Biking, and Fishing
If you think snow sports are the only thing to do in a mountain town, you haven’t checked out the bike trails, gold medal fishing, amazing hiking, and adventurous kayaking. In Steamboat, you’ll be living where most people vacation.
You’ll discover Champagne Powder®
The term Champagne Powder refers to the super light and dry Rocky Mountain snow that falls in the Steamboat area. Different than snow with a higher water content, you’ll be able to float on the snow that has its own name.
You’ll be Part of Close-Knit Community
Steamboat was originally a ranching community, and then when the mountain opened for skiing, it became a tourist destination. But it’s western roots and authentic hospitality continues to this day.
You’ll be Doing it Your Way
Moving to the mountains is something that many people dream of, but few do. You can take the long road, and say this is something you’ll do eventually. Or you could dream big and make the move now while your family can enjoy it.
Housing in Steamboat Springs
Steamboat is not cheap, but it’s not as expensive as other ski towns like Aspen, Telluride, and Vail. You can check out a beautiful 4-bedroom home here to find out what a family home looks like.