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Steamboat Springs Makes Smithsonian's Best Small Town List

By Expert Author: Wade Katin

This is actually the 3rd annual list of America's Best Small Towns to visit created by the Smithsonian Magazine. You can find them in nearly every corner of the country and they have been picked because they're especially strong in areas such as history, music, theatre and science. The magazine does not seek lonely places, instead they choose places which are enriched in spite of the growing urban orientation of our lives. As an example, when you consider museums, Nebraska City which placed number 9 on the list isn't that well known, yet the area has one museum for every 800 residents and natural beauty to offer.

One of Steamboat Spring's major claims to fame is the champagne powder snow nevertheless the magazine examines its music scene. Virtually no other town of this size can offer chamber and symphony orchestras, opera and a world-class festival in summer and offers extraordinary musicians from all over the world to perform in a state-of-the-art concert hall that sits in the middle of beautiful mountains. The Strings Music Pavilion made of exposed timber with unbelievable views of the Rocky Mountains has hosted the Strings Music Festival which brings together bluegrass, jazz and country music on the same stage. The ski area organizes MusicFest, the week-long winter festival that brings together 40 top bands. http://www.realtor.org

Then there is the famed and world-renowned powder snow. This small community has generated 79 participants in the Winter Olympics since 1932 which includes some skiers and snow boarders who participated in Sochi in 2014. Winter sports are an integral part of the traditions and history and in 1913, Capt. Carl Howelsen, with the skills that made him a fantastic circus performer, established a wooden ski jump on the hills close to the town where he tutored local kids to jump. Howelsen Hill, which is now run by the city of Steamboat Springs, is the oldest continuously working ski area in the state of Colorado and is also a summer music venue.

In contrast to some other towns in the West, Steamboat Springs adores and commemorates its cowboy traditions as an essential component of community life. Each summer includes a rodeo and you could see some of the ranching and homesteading history and tradition at the Tread of Pioneers Museum. F. M. Light & Sons opened in the town in 1905 to cater to ranchers and now shows how to wear cowboy boots together with mini-dresses. It also proposes various western movies to check out on its internet site.

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