Steamboat Springs is an unusual place it has a state-of-the-art ski village and a western ranching centre. The historic town's ranchers still go about their business in cowboy boots and Stetsons, in stark contrast to the fashion statements of city-slicker visitors.
It is where you will be able to take part in a ski tour run by Australian champion skier, Alisa Camplin.
Alisa won Australia's first Winter Olympic gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. She was 27 years old and for 22 of them held the ambition to compete at an Olympic Games. As a gymnast, she thought it would be in the summer Games, in athletics or gymnastics.
She had hardly seen snow before she was an adult and bought her first skis at 22. At a trampoline demonstration in 1994 she did extremely well and was recruited as a potential skier.
Flying through the air performing tucks, twists, flips and somersaults tested her strength of character and determination, and within six years, Alisa mastered the art of skiing and was standing on the World Cup podium.
Broken limbs, soft tissue injuries and serious concussion in no way impeded her journey, and she catapulted through the National and World rankings. Fitness, strength and discipline were rewarded by executing jumps with degrees of difficulty reserved only for the most talented and courageous aerialists.
Alisa Camplin Ski Tours are for singles, couples and families of all ages and skiing and boarding abilities. Each has a different style and price and will suit various needs. Expect the trip of a lifetime, on and off the snow. The tours expose you to every aspect of the alpine environment sensational skiing, fine dining, winter activities and relaxing in luxurious accommodation.
Alisa being the professional she is now turns her attention to her guests and wants them to fall in love with the Rocky Mountains, just as she has.
At an elevation of 2061 metres in the Rocky Mountains, Steamboat's many mineral springs and abundance of wild game made it the perfect summer retreat for Utes, centuries before the arrival of white settlers.
Mid-19th century trappers thought they could hear the chugging sound of a steamboat coming round the bend, but in fact it was a bubbling mineral spring. Prospectors weren't to prosper, but coal was a profitable find. Ranching and farming were economic mainstays until tourism caught on, but agriculture is still of great importance.
The area is probably best known as the birthplace of organized skiing in Colorado. While miners, ranchers and mail carriers used primitive skis as a means of transportation in the late 1880s, it wasn't until Norwegian ski-jumping and cross-country champion Carl Howelsen built a ski jump in 1914 that skiing began to be considered as a recreation.
Storm Mountain was developed for skiing in 1963, and Steamboat's future as a modern resort was ensured. Its six peaks are filled with world-class groomed cruisers, bumps, steeps, open meadows, legendary trees and Mavericks, North America's longest pipeline. There are 164 trails, 1118 vertical metres, and nearly 1215 skiable hectares.
It has produced more winter Olympians than any other place in North America. So far 69 of them have made 120 Olympic appearances during sixteen Winter Games.
254 kms north-west of Denver in Colorado.
Alisa Camplin Ski Tours cost $3750 per person twin share. They include seven nights' mountain accommodation, airport and luggage transfers, seven day lift pass, daily ski/snowboard instruction for all skill levels, entry to the natural Sulpher Hot Springs Park, snowtubing, snowshoeing and the Sleigh Ride Ranch Dinner. Four tours will run during the January/February 2008 school holidays. Places are limited.
Air New Zealand has flights to Denver via Los Angeles.
- Sydney, $2268
- Melbourne, $2351
- Brisbane, $2353
- Adelaide, $2569
- Perth, $2754
Valid for travel between November 1 to December 9, 2007.
Prices correct at March 15, 2007.
Alisa Camplin Ski Tours
Ph: 1300 639 754
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
44200 County road #36
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Ph: 0011 1 970 879-0342
Fax: 0011 1 970 870-6834
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476