11/05/2014 09:28 am ET Updated Jan 12, 2015

Love Letters: Steamboat Springs

Caroline Lalive is a 3 time Olympian and 3-Time World Champion in ski racing. Lalive first came to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in the 1990s to attend the Lowell Whiteman School and train with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and has called Ski Town, U.S.A® home ever since. Aside from skiing, Caroline enjoys kiteboarding, mountain biking, diving, stand-up paddling and most all outdoor sports. She is fluent in French and speaks both German and Croatian. Her alter ego would be a gourmet chef and a bit of a gypsy. She is currently a coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, which along with the town of Steamboat has the distinction of producing the most winter Olympic athletes of any place in the U.S.

Steamboat Springs, how wonderful you are.

Nestled in the open valley of the Yampa River, you are a welcome sight for those travelers making their way down Rabbit Ears Pass. An emerald valley flanked by quaking aspens and snow caped mountains, you are where I call home.

Steeped in ranching history and the delicate relationship with the Ute tribe, you have continued to be a symbol of progression balanced with tradition. For those who have ever visited, they enjoy the sights of working cowboys like Ray Heid riding horses through the snow while Powder-hounds and local rippers hunting down fresh tracks on Mt. Werner. All enjoying the beauty, adventure and wonder of your enchanted valley.

Like any picturesque place there is more to you than what meets the eye. You, Steamboat are no exception. You have unparalleled beauty, hidden hot springs and elk who roam free to be masters of the woods. Yet, in my opinion what makes you even more unique are the people who have made a home here. The very core of your undeniable beauty is the incredible and generous people who make your community what it is.

A perfect example of this family-like atmosphere can be felt while enjoying the epic powder that we so aptly refer to as "Champagne." Although the saying goes, "there are no friends on a powder day", you my heart hold the exception. The vitality and energy felt while turning through pillowy puffs of East Face, and while weaving through the glades of the Two-Thirty trees is better shared with a friend. Smiles and whoops are an ode to your gift of a playground for the child in all of us.

Yes, there are many beautiful places in the world. I have visited quite a few of them in my lifetime, but few have your mixed beauty of nature and community. Your unbridled nature allows people to enjoy life at its fullest. You bring families together for the joined quest in a full and healthy life. It's no wonder there is said to be a curse on those who have visited, yet never leave.

Steamboat, I am blessed to be a part of this community and to enjoy the beauty of wonder of all that you are. I encourage everyone else to venture west and experience the unique spot nestled beyond the Rocky Mountains.

Caroline Lalive