We just got back from a vacation to the incredible Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The town sits at around 6,732 feet high making air a little bit harder to come by. I’ve always dreamt of going to Colorado for so many reasons, but these landscapes ultimately made the decision for me!
Leaving the airport in Denver we made the 3 hour drive to Steamboat. We had to drive through Rabbit Ear’s Pass, which is a particularly moody area of the mountain in terms of weather.
We went first to get fitted for our ski gear at The Steamboat Grand Hotel. This is a gorgeous, Stephen King-esque place that is everything you expect a wintery hotel to be.
The next day, we had fresh snowfall overnight which made for really great skiing conditions. All of Colorado has suffered from a shortage of snow this winter (but not Georgia!) leaving the locals to put their maps of the slopes in their freezers as a superstitious way to bring snow.
The slopes weren’t busy since it was a Thursday, which gave Evan and me plenty of time to get our ski legs back as it’s been about 10 years since we last skied. Evan took a snowboarding class in hopes that he would pick it up well in a couple of days, but snowboarding is much more difficult to get comfortable with than skiing and he decided to ski with us for the rest of the trip.
We finished off the day at T Bar (a 5 star dive bar!) with a couple of local Colorado brews playing a drinking game called hammerschlagen, where you have to put your nail into a stump swinging the hammer in one fluid motion at each turn. Loser buys a round!
The above photo is a view from the ski lift higher into the mountain. Our teeth might have been chattering, but look at those petrified trees!
Our second day skiing had plenty of powder all day, but this made the snow much thicker in some places and with a heavy downfall of snow it was much more difficult to see. Thankfully the mountain has several lodges for weary skiers and snowboarders, and we took refuge at Thunderhead. This not only allowed us to get warm, but I also was able to get a look at some amazing views as long as we could stand the chill. Let me tell you, I could NOT get enough of these views!
STRAWBERRY PARK HOT SPRINGS
We ended our second ski day with a visit to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. The drive was beautiful with so many snowy mountainous landscapes I constantly got yelled at for having the window down to take pictures!
The springs have 3 small pools for relaxing. The hottest is 103 degrees Fahrenheit, the second hottest around 99 degrees, and the coldest at about 50 degrees. We took our time moving through the warmer pools and gathered the courage to get into the 50 degree pool. At first I thought 50 degrees wouldn’t be too bad, and after taking the plunge I discovered 50 degrees might as well be freezing!
We found a few restaurants and shops in the downtown strip, but our favorite by far was Rootz Cafe. We don’t have many restaurants like that in our small town, so finding a place that is organic and all natural where we can easily find vegan food was awesome. I got the Jade Panini which was spirulina pesto, organic tomato, organic spinach, sea salt, balsamic reduction on sourdough, Evan got the Vegan Burrito which was (non GMO tofu) organic rice, black beans, house-made vegan chorizo, organic pico de gallo, hatch green chile sauce, organic avocado, organic cabbage, organic spring mix, and Evan’s mom got the Paleo Primal which was all-natural braised bison, kale, sweet potatoes, avocado, hatch green chili, cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro. With this meal I also got the Fauna Juice which was cucumber, spinach, kale, celery, arugula, apple.
NEPTUNE HEALING & FLOAT SPA
We finished off our trip with a soothing appointment at the Neptune Healing and Float Spa. Evan got really interested in isolation tanks a few years ago, but we let that dream go when there weren’t any options in Atlanta that were true isolation. As we were walking to dinner one night, we passed this place and immediately freaked out and made an appointment right then.
The experience for me was a bit disappointing. We received waxy ear plugs that were meant to create a seal around the inside of your ear so no salt water can get in. I had difficulty sealing my ear plugs all the way, so water was able to get in which made the first stretch of my appointment distracting and uncomfortable. If I do it again, I may forego the earplugs altogether.
IT’S REALLY, REALLY DARK
This may be due to my scary movie habit, but I’m a little scared of the dark. The tanks are designed to have lights on for 5 minutes after the session starts, and music on for 10 minutes. The outside lights in my room were motion sensor, so they went off automatically after about 10 minutes as well. All that being said – it was very, very dark inside the pod (which is what you want!). I don’t think I was fully prepared for just how dark it would be and this threw me off a bit.
This was a drawback I didn’t anticipate. The water is heated to the temperature of your skin so it isn’t distractingly hot or cold. When I’m trying to relax, breathing in cool air is instrumental in that process. When you’re in the tank, the heat from the water heats the air inside. Though the tank isn’t air tight, to me the air still felt circulated due to the temperature. The made me really focus on my breaths because I felt suffocated breathing in the warm air. With practice I can get more comfortable with this, but our one hour session just wasn’t long enough.
These tanks are said to have numerous benefits, and I felt the relaxing and stress reducing benefits most. I would definitely do this again knowing what could potentially stand in the way of me getting the best experience. I thought I would be able to master this experience the first time, but it’s truly an odd feeling that can take you some time to get accustomed.
Colorado is an incredibly beautiful place so full of adventure. We were struck by how many people are united by their common love for the outdoors and how truly happy everyone is. We have been scoping out places to move that are more adventurous and suit our lifestyle and Colorado just might be the ticket!
What was your favorite vacation?
Thanks for stopping by!