If you are looking to book a ski vacation at a Colorado resort, Steamboat should be at the top of your list. Not as remote as some other ski areas in the state, Steamboat is more easily accessible being only 157 miles from Denver International Airport, but it still feels like it is a world away. In the northwest region of Colorado, at an elevation of 6,732 feet and with 6 individual peaks and the ever popular Steamboat Ski Resort, this Ikon Resort town has been officially dubbed “Ski Town, U.S.A.”
Located right in the town of Steamboat Springs, Steamboat Ski Resort is one of the premier family ski resorts in the country. When you purchase a 5‑or-more day adult lift ticket, any kids under 12 ski for free. To keep your kids entertained, Steamboat has a great ski school and also a “Kids Vacation Center” so everyone’s parents can have some alone time on the hill. Looking for a mountain that offers champagne powder days but is also kid friendly? Steamboat’s 3,000 acres and 165 trails offer something for every member of the family. For beginners, green runs off of the gondola, like “Why Not” stretch nearly 3 miles long, swerving through scenic aspen forests. Looking to get out of the woods and work on your goggle tan? Not to worry, because the “Sundial” green run is bright and wide open, allowing you to get a nice tan off of the appropriately named Sunshine Express lift.
Intermediates and experts won’t miss out on any fun at Steamboat Ski Resort, either. For those looking to hit some bumps but keep things relaxed, “One O’clock / Two O’clock” are the best options. Their bumps are well spread out and they offer an accommodating pitch. Expert skiers can get an extra workout in by hitting some of the hike-accessible terrain Steamboat offers. “No Names” offers narrow glades and is best accessed from the top of Mount Werner, just a 15 minute hike from Morningside Lift. Make sure you head into this run with fresh legs, though, because you will have to get back to the resort by hitting “First Chance” or “Last Chance,” which are long and flat runs.
Looking to spend time away from the slopes? The greater Steamboat area offers a plethora off-hill activities. The “Springs” in Steamboat Springs is there for a reason. Steamboat is almost just as well known for its geothermal hot springs as it is for its skiing. If you want to bring the whole family along for a turnkey experience, Old Town Hot Springs has been modernized with swimming and soaking pools, as well as water slides for the kids. If you want a more natural experience, you can’t miss a visit to the Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs, either. Located within the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs isn’t located directly in town, but you can get there easily by car and will enjoy a quick but beautiful drive on the way.
If snowshoeing or hiking is more your speed, you can start on foot right in town and follow signs to Fish Creek Falls for some beautiful hiking trails that lead to waterfall views. If you are a mountain biking junkie who wants to get some riding in during winter, most of Steamboat’s local bike shops rent fat tire snow bikes. You can head to Emerald Mountain in the winter to hit single track, groomed fat bike trails. If you happen to find yourself in Steamboat in the beginning of February, make sure you check out the annual Winter Carnival festivities. Created by locals as a way to celebrate winter during the middle of the season, visitors can enjoy sleigh rides, fireworks, and a real “skijoring” competition right on Main Street.
So you have skied, snowshoed, hiked, biked, and hopped in the hot springs. You will need some great food to refuel! As far as great restaurants go in resort towns, Steamboat is no exception. While Steamboat has a traditional Western downtown area surrounding Main Street, you can start off with Apres right on the mountain base and hit up Rye. An indoor/outdoor establishment, complete with outdoor firepits, Rye has a great whiskey and wine menu. During the winter season, Rye has a happy hour that runs from 2pm-5pm, offering $4 draft beers, a selection of $4 glasses of wine, and $5 “Jack and Cokes” for the mixed-drink aficionado. Delicious small plates and sandwiches are also featured at this tasty establishment.
After hitting Apres, you can make the short drive or bus ride down to the greater Main Street area of Steamboat Springs. For a more upscale option, don’t miss out on Table 79 Foodbar, located right in town on Lincoln Ave. and offering a chef’s counter so you can watch your contemporary American cuisine be prepared. If you’re craving a pasta night, Mambo Italiano is located just down the street and offers housemade pastas as well as seasonal Italian dishes. If you want to take a morning or two to sleep in and let the kids skip ski school, you can’t miss out on legendary local café, Freshies. A few minutes drive off of Main Street but on your way to the resort from downtown, Freshies has some of the best breakfast/brunch options imaginable. Be sure to share one of the homemade cinnamon rolls for the table and come with an appetite!
With great beginner to expert ski runs, a laundry list of off-hill activity options, and great dining, make sure you add Steamboat to your ski vacation wishlist.
Steamboat Ski Resort: www.steamboat.com