If you haven’t heard of mud season, it is a term used in Colorado ski towns to talk about the time between Winter and Summer seasons. This isn’t defined as a date, like Solstice or Equinox. It is defined more by when the local resort opens and closes. The resort commonly closes in mid-April and reopens on Memorial Day. Then again, it closes sometime between Labor Day and the first week of October. (For Steamboat, this varies a bit depending on reservations, mostly from sports teams, weddings, and visitors from the Denver area.)
In between is normally a mix of Spring or Fall weather that makes it difficult to explore outside. There are good days to have fun, without question, but rain and snow can make things, um, muddy. During this time tourists are not common. Steamboat Springs in the height of Winter or Summer seasons will have up to 30,000 visitors on a weekend. (That’s a lot for a town of 12,000 residents.) During mud season, perhaps 2000-ish people will visit on a weekend. Usually less.
In Spring, snow is melting. Thawing begins on the valley floor and works it’s way up the mountains.
It’s nice to get around town quickly, not have lines at restaurants, as well as the local hot springs aren’t crowded. Strangely, the Post Office consistently has a line. Restaurants often have specials. Two for one, 50% off entrées, and cheaper lunches are common. Happy hour two for ones, all day, are common too.
What do we do during mud season? It’s a combination of recovering from being very busy to seeing friends not seen because of being busy. This is also a great time to vacation. In transitions from one season to the next, weather is often excellent in other parts of the world. While it is slower, we vacation where it’s warm or extend our ski season in Europe.
As I write this, our Fall mud season is coming to an end. Thanksgiving is the opening of the resort and visitors will be everywhere. After almost two months of a not very busy time, it’s good to see tourists again. They bring a vibrancy that we enjoy. Seeing smiling faces, families having a big experience, couples holding hands – this makes us very happy!