Guide for relocation to Steamboat Springs, CO

Outdoor businesses shine in Steamboat

With an educated workforce, easy airport access, and product-testing grounds right out the office door, it’s no wonder Steamboat is home to a barrage of outdoor businesses. Following are a few whose products you’ll likely see on local trails, slopes and waterways.


One of Steamboat’s newest outdoor companies, PowerICE is a frozen, hydrating ice bar designed to enhance performance by cooling core body temperature while replenishing lost electrolytes.

“It helps athletes recover more quickly,” Director of Sales Blair McNamara says. No one knows this better than Steamboat local and five-time Olympian Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick, who serves as a company spokesman.

“It works,” he says. “And I’m pretty selective about how I replenish my electrolytes.” A 1.7-ounce bar contains 30 calories and no high-fructose corn syrup, stimulants, artificial colors or artificial flavors. In its first season in business, the company is available in 100 retail locations in 24 states, with the bars available individually or in packs of up to 18.

Recreation_BigAgnes2Big Agnes

Founded in 2000, Big Agnes is an award-winning tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad manufacturer headquartered in downtown Steamboat Springs. In 13 short years, it’s won multiple Editor’s Choice awards and has more than 600 North American retailers, including EMS and REI, where it has become the co-op’s No. 1 outsourced tent brand. Employing nearly 40 people locally, the company also is in 10 international markets throughout Asia and Europe.

“Steamboat is a great place to be based,” says co-founder Bill Gamber, whose company recently acquired a new warehouse facility on the city’s west side. “You couldn’t ask for better testing grounds right out our back door.”

Outdoor_stingerHoney Stinger

Big Agnes is only half of the company based in the little red house on Oak Street. Founded in 2002 by Big Agnes co-founder Bill Gamber, energy food company Honey Stinger has grown to 35 local employees and is making waves around the world. While the company’s original line of honey-based energy gels arose as a natural, long-lasting energy source for endurance athletes, it now also produces bars, chews, waffles and gels. The company’s best seller, the Stinger Waffle, improves upon the popular Stroopwafel racers use in Europe. The company is on track to double its sales in 2014, Marketing Director Len Zanni says.

“It’s another great company to be based in Steamboat,” Gamber says. “We use the product every day.”

Outdoor_032512_MootsOne_t620Moots Cycles

Founded in Steamboat in 1981, Moots has been hand building titanium road, mountain and cross bikes locally for more than three decades. Its success owes itself to its designs as well as a staff that lives and breathes cycling.

“We’re fortunate to be surrounded by such great riding,” Marketing Manager Jon Cariveau says. “It inspires all of us personally and professionally.”

Moots recently won top honors at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show for its new Trail Maintenance Bike, and recently was selected as a Colorado Company to Watch by the State Office of Economic Development. Supporting the town it loves, the company sponsors numerous community and industry advocacy movements, from local trail workdays to cycling teams.

“We strive to lead the way in designing and building the most innovative high-performance titanium bikes in the industry,” Cariveau says. “We’re proud of the bikes we create, the team that builds them, and the character of the town we’ve called home for so long.”

OutdooreBiz_SweetwoodSweetwood Cattle Company

Founded by former NFL player and Under Armor co-founder Ryan Wood, Sweetwood Cattle Company prides itself on providing the highest quality, all-natural, handcrafted jerky, steaks, sausage and more from its ranch on the Elk River just outside Steamboat Springs. Recently receiving the Editor’s Choice award from Backpacker magazine, its meat comes from cattle who are naturally raised on grass and the highest quality grains and protein, with no antibiotics or added hormones.

“We want our ranch to be a gold standard for how beef is raised in this country,” says Wood, whose ranch was the first in Colorado to receive a “verified green” award from the USDA.  “We’re getting back to the roots of how it all started out here. Our cattle are born and raised here, where there’s great air, water and grass. It’s the same quality-of-life reasons we’re here.”

Sweetwood also makes philanthropy and community involvement a priority and is proud to support local charities and fundraisers every year.


Based out of the Steamboat Springs Airport, SmartWool is a merino wool apparel brand born on a simple belief: keeping feet comfortable on the slopes. It since has expanded that concept into a complete apparel line, all made from soft and high-performance New Zealand merino wool. Owned by VF Corp., the company has received multiple Editor’s Choice magazine awards and continues to lead the merino wool sock and apparel market. Its Steamboat headquarters employ 62 people with another 12 in Boulder and 11 in Great Britain. Its more than 400 sock and apparel products — which use enough yarn each year to circle the earth 500 times — enjoy worldwide distribution through more than 6,000 retailers in 35 countries.




Point 6

Founded by Peter and Patty Duke, who founded sock giant SmartWool in 1994, Point 6 is another local company putting Steamboat on the world’s sock map. The company uses merino wool fibers combined with state-of-the-art spinning and knitting techniques to create soft merino products built for optimal comfort and performance. It currently has about 15 employees working out of its Steamboat headquarters, serving more than 800 retailers and 20 distributors in 15 countries.



Outdoor_BOA-GaryBoa Technology

Founded in 1998 by Gary Hammerslag, Boa Technology builds dialed, reel and steel cable closure systems for tightening everything from recreational footwear to medical supplies. The system can be found on a third of the world’s snowboard boots as well as 100 brands in more than 15 categories. The company recently received an investment influx from Glenbrook Consumer Partners, which will help it launch deeper into the medical industry.

“Boa exemplifies all the elements we seek in a partner, with a highly differentiated product offering, scalable business model, large market opportunity and an extremely talented team,” Glenbrook Managing Partner Peter Breck says.

With offices in Steamboat and Denver, Boa recently moved into a new 23,000-square-foot complex in Denver, with plans to add to its 70-employee workforce.

Outdoor_Creek-Company-red-boat-catching-fishCreek Co.

In 1982, Steamboat locals Dave Gowdy and Chris Timmerman invented the Quick Float to inflate float tubes for fishing in high-Alpine lakes. In 1986, they added the open-front float tube U-Boat to its offerings. Recently celebrating its 25th anniversary, Creek Co. now is a market leader in the high-end personal flotation craft category, manufacturing pontoon boats, float tubes, tackle bags and fly-fishing, hunting and camping accessories.

“Having our business located in Steamboat has been a great inspiration for all we do,” says Gowdy, whose office and warehouse is just a fly cast away from the Yampa River. “When it comes to R&D, we can test our product in a matter of minutes.”

Outdoor_HalaHala Gear

Design. Adventure. Better. That’s the premise behind local stand-up paddleboard company Hala Gear, founded in Steamboat Springs in 2010. The young stand-up paddleboard company quickly is standing out in the crowd for its innovative line of inflatable SUPs and accessories, testing its watery wares daily on the Yampa River.

“The idea arose from a simple premise,” founder Peter Hall says. “We wanted to make a better paddleboard that was more stable than others on the market yet also performed well. The result is a four-shape collection — including the Hala Atcha, Nass, Straight Up and Hoss BT — fast taking the SUP world by storm. The company also debuted the patent-pending Butterknife paddle, designed as a double-bladed kayak and conventional SUP paddle. Hall manufactures the boards overseas, with distribution centers in Steamboat, Seattle and California. The key to them, he adds, is their versatility, thanks to extra thickness and rocker.

“They’re stable enough that they’re perfect for everyone from grandparents to the younger generation,” he says.

Outdoor_HogIslandHog Island Boat Works

After earning its flotation certification from the U.S. Coast Guard, Hog Island Boat Works, based along the Yampa River, introduced the world’s first rotomolded drift boat to the fishing market in 2007. The company now produces a full line of rotomolded drift boats, available with trailer, anchor and other accessories as well as a new line of equally accessorized rotomolded, motorized skiffs.

“Our design mantra has always been based on making performance rotomolded boats that can go anywhere,” Hog Island founder Johnny St. John says. “And it’s great to be able to do it all out of Steamboat, where you can go wet a line right during lunch break.”

Spiffy Dog

Founded in 2002 by local climbers Edward Watson and John Cardillo, Spiffy Dog bills itself as being home of the world’s most comfortable dog collar. The founders’ experience in designing climbing and kayaking gear out of lightweight and quick-drying material provided the impetus for pet products, and the result is one of the country’s leading dog collar and other pet accessory companies.

“Being based in a dog-friendly town gives us a great location to test our products,” says Brand Manager Kyle Nelson, whose line has expanded to include collars, leads, bowls, harnesses and more.

The company’s award-winning Air Collar line, featured in Vogue magazine, now includes 25 styles and matching leads. Other products include the fully adjustable Air Harness, which recently won Dog World Magazine’s Editors’ Choice award.

“We continue to grow both domestically and internationally,” Nelson says. “Our products are perfect for water dogs because they’re quick drying.”

 Outdoor_kent-EriksenKent Eriksen Cycles

Kent Eriksen, 57, played a pivotable role in introducing mountain biking to the country as well as his hometown of Steamboat Springs. Owning bike shop Sore Saddle Cyclery in the 1970s, he founded Moots in 1981 and was elected into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1996. An endless tinkerer, he later founded Kent Eriksen Cycles downtown, a company specializing in titanium bikes. His company recently won the Best Titanium Construction award for the fifth year in a row at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

“Steamboat is already a special place to live, and its wealth of biking options make it even better,” Eriksen says. “The quality of life here is wonderful. It’s easy to balance work and fun in a town with so many outdoor activities available.”

Cogma Bikewear

CogmaCogma Bikewear is fueled by passion for pedaling. Founders and competitive cyclists Karen Tremaine and Clint Ball began as bike apparel makers in 2011, producing comfortable and “slightly rebellious designs.” “Ours is a lifestyle brand,” says Ball. “The foundation we build from is that we actually live the mountain town lifestyle. Product ideas come from our daily experiences and friends. We get to play and work outside in our backyard every day. We feel lucky to be here.


TALON Grips targets law enforcement officers and other gun users desiring enhanced grip for their firearms. The company has grown from a basement operation in 2012 to now having five employees with 75 U.S. retailers and three international distributors. Offering 126 different gun model grips in two textures, business is, well, booming. “We never could have imagined it would grow so quickly,” says president Mike Morris, whose company is expanding into iPhone grips as well. “Steamboat’s a great place to be based. The mountain lifestyle and community are hard to beat.”

Why They’re Here

“Steamboat is an ideal outdoor environment to test and develop new products…there’s a romantic credibility of being located here.” — Chris Timmerman, The Creek Company

“It is a natural fit for our outdoor-focused cycling business. It’s easy to balance work and fun in a town with so much outdoor activity and industry to offer.” —Kent Ericksen, Kent Eriksen Cycles

“We make mountain products, so where better to be situated than in the mountains? It’s a fantastic community for our employees to live in. The right individuals come to us because they want to have a career and live the life they want to.” — Mark Satkiewicz, SmartWool