Steamboat

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by Ed Haywood, Sep 5, 2021.

  1. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    I am looking at property at a Colorado ski area for semi-retirement. Right now we are focused on Avon-Edwards or Steamboat.

    I always assumed I would do my flying in Florida, but when I drove to Steamboat this weekend, it opened my eyes to the possibilities of flying there. The airport is right on the edge of town in a nice wide valley, with cool destinations in Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah just a few hours away.

    Maybe I'll bring my Decathlon instead of leaving it in Florida. Seems like a taildragger would open up a lot of backcountry exploration options.
    Anyone from that area with insight on the flying situation? In particular, is there any possibility of seasonal hangar space at KSBS? Are grass strips a thing on the western slope?

    Seems like SBS would be an awesome day or overnight destination for folks from other areas, being so close to town.
     
  2. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Steamboat is a great place, smaller and low-key compared to Vail or Aspen. I wouldn't call SBS in a nice wide valley, (are you thinking of Hayden, HDN? to the west of SBS, that's the closest airline service.) but it's a great airport, maybe not ideal for hard weather instrument conditions, but then you're not doing that in your Decathlon anyway. Colorado and Wyoming don't really have any of those backcountry grass mountain strips, you pretty much have to go to Idaho (or Montana) for that. Still lots of great places to go from there, in any direction. Not a resident, can't answer about hangars, but they might be expensive.
     
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  3. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    You are right, up near the airport it is pretty narrow, but south of town the valley floor is 2 miles wide and flat. That caught my eye when I drove into town on Hwy 131.

    steamboat.JPG
     
  4. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    Highly recommend Steamboat for living but the real estate market has gone wild in recent years. I’ve been spending the winters there for years, next year will be the 25th.

    As far as the airport is concerned, I don’t have any first hand info but a friend told me there’s a long list for hangar space. There’s some condo hangars that come on the market occasionally at KHDN. It’s about 25-30 minute drive. I don’t fly there at all as I confine my airtime to home base I19 the rest of the year. However watch out for the hot air balloons on calm days:D

    Cheers
     
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  5. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah, have been watching the market very closely, and it is nuts. I seriously considered pulling the trigger on a starter condo last spring, during the early stages of COVID. Had a real estate agent engaged and was checking Zillow daily. My theory was the bottom would drop out of the market when the ski areas closed early, and nobody could make short term rental income to cover their payments. The market dropped about 10% in April and May, and my agent thought it might drop another 10% in the early summer as more people panicked. I called her back in July and she said there were no condos for sale at any price. People fleeing Chicago and New York had bought them all.

    However, prices are still better at Steamboat than in the I-70 valley, where everyone is riding a tidal wave of money from the Denver real estate market. I drove through there this weekend and it was a rat race. Seemed to settle down a bit by Avon-Edwards, so that is my second choice.

    Optimal life timing for me to buy is still a year or two away, so I do have time to sit and watch. The number of listed properties has increased somewhat in recent months. I'm hopeful that as we get a handle on COVID, people will get tired of small town living and move back home.

    This winter my wife and I are going to get an AirBnB for a week in Avon and a week in Steamboat to compare. Clearly Steamboat is the better lifestyle. However, the I-70 valley has way more ski terrain, with my $125 retired military Epic Pass getting me into Vail, Beaver Creek, Breck, and Keystone. Also, I love high alpine ski conditions, eg above treeline, and Steamboat is somewhat lacking in that department.

    Back to flying: if I figure out a way to carry skis, my Decathlon would make day or overnight runs to Aspen and Jackson Hole viable, increasing the value of the Ikon Pass.

    Back to skiing: do you do any backcountry skiing and camping? I did that when I was younger in the military, and would love to get back into it.
     
  6. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    Hiking and mountain biking is big in Steamboat summers. There’s some out of bounds skiing accessible from the area but I’ve never bothered with it. Steamboat is tree skiing and more inbounds tree skiing is planned next season I think.

    While there’s lots of skiing in the I-70 area, it is a total zoo on weekends and holidays. Steamboat is more of a destination resort so other than holiday weekends, once you get out of the base, not much lift line waiting. With the whole base area being torn down and rebuilt, the wait at the base may improve but I doubt it.

    Cheers
     
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  7. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You might check out Gunnison (Crested Butte) as another great low-key ski town.
     
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  8. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Shorter skis?
     
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  9. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    LOL, single pilot I don't think it would be hard. Pull the rear seat, remove the rear interior panel, and put the ski tails into the tailcone. Obviously care would have to be taken to pad and secure the load firmly, as there are some fragile and important parts behind the panel, and the CG would need to be computed. If I got serious about it, I would probably rig up some brackets with adel clamps on the frame tubes so it was bomb proof. Right now it's just a brain fart.
     
  10. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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  11. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I always found it amusing that the base of Vail was higher than the top of Steamboat. Always preferred skiing Steamboat, but friends owned condos at Keystone and Vail, so that’s where we usually ended up. When by myself, it was always Loveland. Trashed my knee skiing, that’s when I took up flying.
     
  12. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    I'm partial to Breck and A Basin. I did a lot of skiing in Europe, so got accustomed to above treeline and off piste. But I hear Steamboat gets a ton of powder, and I do enjoy a nice aspen glade.
     
  13. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route

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    I did some skiing in Europe before the Euro. Always interesting trying to keep the right money in each pocket. I recall after skiing into Switzerland from Italy buying lunch with a gazillion Italian liras and getting back two Swiss francs.

    Cheers
     
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  14. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    Ship the skis to destination or rent them
     
  15. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One of the nice things about Steamboat is that most of it is below tree line.
     
  16. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Line Up and Wait

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    Unless you like above treeline. ;)
     
  17. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I like 'em both from a skiing perspective, but below from a visual one.
     
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  18. Wagondriver

    Wagondriver Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My comments are based on living in the general area for 33 years. I fly to Steamboat fairly often to get breakfast, personally I don't think there is any challenge or difficulty with that airport.
    Steamboat almost always has some of the most expensive fuel in the state. Don't know about hangars, but pretty much every airport in western Colorado has minimal hangar space and is expensive. An open front hangar in Glenwood is $270 a month, gravel floor, no security. Fly to Aspen to ski for the day? Probably not something you are going to do, flying in the winter can be great, but it can also be socked in pretty often. When its busy, airplanes are allowed only to drop off, due to lack of parking, and Atlantic will charge $40 to stop in, not sure about parking for the day.
    Contrary to common perception, there are grass strips in western Colorado/ Wyoming, the more well known ones are Marble and Miracle mile. There are many others that require permission that are lesser known. Eastern Utah has some excellent back country flying, too hot in the summer, but great in spring and fall, and winter sometimes. I base at KGWS and Utah strips are about 1 hour away, numerous great places with camping. Jackson Hole is about a 2.5 hour flight from KEGE, parking is pretty much not available. Go over the hill to Driggs ID, they've got the space. Not a day trip, unless you are the RARE person that flies at night in the mountains, especially in winter.
    Skiing? I haven't skied in years, but most people that I know don't care for Steamboat much, not very high, not very steep, more of a family vacation area. Base of Vail higher than top of Steamboat? Someone needs to look at a map! Steamboat is going to be colder than the Vail valley, its one of the colder areas in the state, Gunnison, and Granby are the other two areas that often compete for coldest in Colorado.
    Unfortunately there are no airports in Summit County, Kremmling would be the closest, and its not very close.
    Glenwood Springs is a great area, but like most of western Colorado, there are just too many people anymore. It has really cool airport, at least until the City can steamroll over the citizens desires and shut it down. KGWS also has very competent and capable on airport maintenance. Eagle has an excellent airport, again hangars are expensive, but usually available. I used to base at the Vail Valley Jet Center, $500 a month for heated hangar. Staff is always pleasant and the facility is top notch. Also there is a private, with permission, dirt strip just inside the Class D on the southwest side.
    Traffic from the front range on weekends is quite unpleasant, leave during the peak traffic times and expect 5 to 6 hours to Glenwood Springs, same thing going back on a Sunday evening, leave in the morning or wait until well into late evening to avoid the glacier of cars slowly descending into Denver.
     
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  19. Ed Haywood

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    I have fond memories of Glenwood Springs. Back in the mid-90's my military unit did ski training at Sunlight. We rented the hotel at the base of the mountain for 2 weeks.

    One area that intrigues me is Basalt. Far enough from Denver to escape most of the weekender traffic. Close enough to Aspen to ski whenever I want, but without having to be a billionaire. And close enough to KGWS for GA to be an option.

    I'm going to rent a condo at Steamboat for a week this winter and ski it hard to see what I think. It has a reputation for excellent snow conditions.