Washington to Colorado

22 Aug, 2007

I grew up and lived most of my life in Washington State. I spent a couple summers down at Hood but I always considered Washington my home. But I also was growing tired of Washington and needed a change. I really never thought I would take the chance and move far away from my friends and family but eventually I did take the chance.

Back in Washington, I had almost bought 3 homes in Skykomish on the way to Stevens Pass. Each time, the home inspection never passed (these were old homes for under 150k). After the 3rd time, I stopped trying to buy a home in Skykomish and decided to wait and see. I imagine if I had bought a home, I would have graduated college, gotten a teaching job along Hwy 2 and snowboarded Washington for the rest of my life.

I loved Washington and everything about it. I always thought it was the best for me…until I moved to Colorado. I always tell people now looking back on it, that sometimes you think something is great until you try something else and you find out…that’s even greater than the other. I would have been content in Washington if I had never moved to Colorado. But now that I moved to Colorado, I am more content here.

Most importantly, the timing was right. Everything lined up that the move to Colorado became the best option and worked out perfectly. Even despite some frustrations and hardships that it caused…I am so happy I made the move.  In Spring 2005, I knew I would move away after the upcoming 05-06 season. I had graduated college that June and had no ties to hold me down anymore. Tahoe was an option and probably the most logical for me to do. I have relatives in Northern California and every time I’ve been to Tahoe I’ve enjoyed the mountains, terrain similiar to Washington and South Lake had everything to offer in a town. At the time, I got into a serious relationship and he was in Tahoe as I finished up my college degree. But things changed and he came back to Washington, so we both decided to stick around the 05-06 season in Washington.

The 05-06 season was probably my worst season in terms of enjoying snowboarding. I got in some great powder days but I also didn’t ride as many days as I’d like. I lived in Leavenworth so the commute to the mountain each day was 45 minutes to an hour. I also did part-time instructing and full-time ski school administrative work at Stevens Pass. But I did manage to take some worthwhile vacations that would benefit me later.
When March came around, I knew a vacation to Colorado would be worth checking out and seeing if Colorado was a place to live. I knew my friend in Steamboat Springs that would let us crash at his place and airplane tickets to Steamboat were reasonable. So we took a long weekend from work and came out to visit. I had some doubts from the trip, but I saw a lot of good things that made me really like Steamboat Springs. We only got one day of riding on the mountain (Lift tickets are expensive compared to Washington) and even though the conditions were not the best, the mountain is huge and the freeriding was what I liked best. Plus Steamboat Springs is a beautiful place to live.

I went back to Washington knowing that we were moving to Steamboat Springs one month later. The hardest part was leaving my family and friends back in Washington. I think they thought I was only going for one year and would return…hopefully they still don’t believe that. I finished out the 05-06 season at Stevens Pass, spent a week in Whistler for Telus and got ready to move. Only a certain number of friends knew we were moving, mostly those that needed to know. Others would find out after we arrived in Colorado.

It took 1 day to cram everything I could into a uhaul on the back of my truck. The trip to Steamboat would take 3 days drive leaving Saturday and arriving in Steamboat on Monday. We had two dogs with the trip so pit stops were necessary and we stocked up on 2 cases of redbull. The last night in Washington, we stayed at my parents house. The next day we left Washington in the afternoon ready for Colorado and a bit relieved to leave Washington.

We moved to Colorado with enough money to last a month without any income. We hadn’t found jobs yet or a place to live. Luckily our friend would put us up until we did find a place. The drive is not the most exciting or beautiful from Washington to Colorado. We stayed at two motels on the way and made pretty good time with hauling a heavy uhaul and 2 dogs that needed to run around a lot.

When we arrived in Colorado on Monday, we were tired but excited that we had made it. A week later, we had an awesome house on the mountain to move into with the two dogs. All we needed was a 3rd roommate to share it and that was easy to accomplish. Within the next couple weeks, I got really lucky and found a great job working for the mountain year round.

Two months later, the relationship ended and I found myself in a much better place.  Now 16 months later, I still love Steamboat Springs and am so glad that everything worked out for me to move here. I’ve made 5 trips back to Washington mostly small ones for special occasions or snowboard trips. After the first trip back, It was pretty clear that I call Steamboat Springs my home. I’ll save my love for Steamboat Springs on an entirely new blog in the future.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. $teve
    August 22, 2007

    Very nice blog yourself. I enjoy the many pictures of your tongue ring as well. I can’t wait for winter to start so that I can go skiing. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. Dan
    April 19, 2009

    Hi Shay, I know this is a really old blog, but it’s great reading none the less. After this season, I too have experienced a desire to leave my home mountain for something new. I currently live an hour west of Tahoe, and it would make the most sense to live there after I get done with college next month, but something keeps telling me to branch out of California.

    Moving somewhere where you don’t know anybody is kind of a scary thing, but you seem to have made the transition well. That is very reassuring. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Shayboarder
    April 20, 2009

    Hey Dan,

    Definitely an old post, one of my first but still a big one. I’ve been in Colorado 4 years now and no regrets at all. In fact moving has been one of the best things I’ve done.

    The unknown is always scary and some people never take the risk but if you do and try it…it’s better than not trying it.

    One thing I moved in a relationship and it wasn’t until the relationship ended that I found friends who are as passionate as me about riding and really started to love the town. It took some time, but I’ve met some great people in my journey and CO for me opened a lot of doors.

    Good luck with your journeys and finding your place.