Ski Steamboat Springs - Customize your Steamboat Springs ski vacations with Ski.com
The low down
Steamboat Springs (aka the boat) is a family ski resort with lots of lodging options that will make you grin – mostly because they are very well-priced compared to what you may find in other resorts. There are direct flights into the local airport, Hayden, which is a 17-mile trip from Steamboat. There is also a Steamboat airport, but no commercial flights intentionally terminate there. The Steamboat ski resort is basically your easy-to-navigate and friendly Western resort. Over the last five years the resort has seen an investment of close to $30 million, which has brought a lot of great new things. So, if you haven’t skied there recently, it’s time to check it out again.
There are no pretentions here, but what you see is what you get and has been for the more than a century-old town. Steamboat is broadening its appeal and has added lots of upscale restaurants and bars. The Steamboat ski mountain is about two miles from the town of Steamboat Springs. Most accommodations are found in the resort and that’s probably the best place to stay; it has lots of actual or near ski-in/ski-out accommodations and a nice range of options from hotel rooms to very upscale condominiums and homes at some very good prices. Your Ski.com Mountain Vacation Specialist understands the economics of these resorts and will match you with the best value for your budget and hopefully you’ll be happily surprised.
The terrain is varied and offers plenty to entertain skiers and snowboarders. There is some really cool tree skiing here that I would rate as intermediate (don’t look at the trees, look where you want to go) and lots and lots of other tree-free intermediate terrain as well. I would not go here looking for a week of extreme skiing, as you may be disappointed. But if you’re looking for an easy family ski vacation that will keep your family or group happy with its skiing and snowboarding choices, this is the place.
Steamboat is in a micro-climate that seems to get more snow than most other Colorado resorts, which results in some amazing skiing and snowboarding (and amazing walking paths and roads, which some years have snow banks so high that one has the impression of walking through a tunnel). Anyway, there are 16 lifts, including six high-speeds and an eight-person gondola, and close to 3,000 acres of terrain, including a superpipe and a terrain park, so it is sure to keep anyone busy on the slopes for a ski vacation! Another thing to consider is that the base of the resort is lower than most other Colorado resorts (6,900 feet), so this is also a great destination for those who are known to be affected by elevation.
What to expect
Steamboat Springs resort, where you’re likely to stay, is well laid out and has everything you would expect and more: restaurants, ski shops, a mall, hotels and condos with pools and hot tubs, and some fun après ski, to be sure. The town of Steamboat, has even more, including lots of restaurants, bars, shopping and most in the Western style. You’ll find some nice dining choices in the town and a few on the mountain. There is also a ski jump right in town (there is another mountain there) and you’ll see some pretty brave individuals launch themselves into the air. Most people watch, I suppose, to see the “agony of defeat” ending, but this isn’t Nascar (or Nastar) and these kids are well-coached and great at what they do. Steamboat is the home of Olympians Johnny Spillane and Todd Ludwick, both of whom are Nordic combined athletes (jumping and cross-country skiing/skating technique) and medaled in the 2010 Olympics. Also, ski history buffs may know Billy Kidd, a silver medalist in the 1964 slalom, who you’ll often find on the slopes skiing in his trademark cowboy hat and who lends his name to Steamboat’s Race Camps.
Other things to do
Strawberry Park Hot Springs, which offers hot natural plunge pools (and cold ones), is on the edge of town and worth a visit. Don’t expect a private experience, as it’s often crowded, but it’s a unique Steamboat Springs (thus the name) experience. They also offer massages. Another cool or hot activity, albeit one that is a bit more costly, is the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, where using a fleet of Lexus cars and SUVs, guests spend a half day learning about driving on slick roads and breaking via class-room instruction and a couple of hours in cars. Then, of course, there are what you can now reliably find at almost every resort serviced by Ski.com, yoga, spa services, great shopping, a great local feel, and more.
Another Steamboat Springs choice, and something that may be of interest—especially for the uninitiated—is a visit to one of the Dude Ranches that rings the town. These are basically bed and breakfast type accommodations with much nicer rooms and lots of activities on site. It’s a different kind of winter vacation, but one worth considering if you’ve never experienced it. Meals are included and can be very gourmet. I stayed at the Home Ranch in Clark, a 25-minute drive to Steamboat. They have on-premises cross-country skiing and a shuttle to the resort to alpine ski.
This is one of the resorts we represent that is not crowded - mainly because they do not cater to day skiers. You won’t find lift lines here like you might in some resorts. Of course, Ski.com makes it easy. Hayden airport, which has been nicely upgraded, has commercial scheduled service from eight cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Newark) and is only about 30-minute drive from Steamboat. Some accommodations really require a car and some don’t. Let your Mountain Vacation Specialist at Ski.com guide you when it comes to transportation.
Who should go
Families of skiers or riders on all levels will find this is a fun and easy, low-stress resort. It's not so big that everyone will spend the week lost and unable to find each other, but it's big enough to have a wide variety of skiing options. The options for accommodations are also wide with lots of choices, including everything from luxury to basic, all found scattered throughout the resort and town. Because of the vast amount of intermediate runs and easy access to them, this is just a great family and group resort. It’s also perfect for twenty- and thirty-somethings.
As mentioned above, there are some really great choices for those interested in taking a Steamboat ski trip, especially travelers who are looking for upper to high end at discounted (compared to other resorts) prices. Families and groups looking for larger units will especially be happily surprised since there seems to be an abundance of these larger, high-end units, most extraordinarily well-priced. There are some real bargains in town for those who want to save every penny so they can spend it at the town bars and restaurants (not the worst idea in the world).
What to bring/what to not bring
I know I’m saying this for every resort, but with the challenges of flying to Hayden (probably an extra flight), just rent skis or a snowboard; the rentals you'll get are better (likely) and save you the hassle of hauling that stuff to and from home. It's always nice to check out the latest gear since skiing seems to evolve, in terms of equipment, at light speed. That said, if you have relatively new ski or snowboard boots and they fit, bring them! Second, as noted above, plan to leave stress at home.
Your Steamboat Springs Ski Vacation
Make your Steamboat ski trip reservations and let us help create an unforgettable ski vacation today to a remarkable ski resort. Ski.com can provide you with lodging accommodations, air travel, ground transportation, discounted lift tickets, ski or snowboard rentals, activities to events around town and more. We know how to customize a Steamboat ski vacation package just for you that will truly be an unforgettable ski vacation experience. Ski Steamboat this winter and see for yourself.
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Steamboat Springs Snow Conditions
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- 354" of annual snowfall
- 2965 total skiable acres
- Top elevation 10568 feet, base 6900 feet
- 14% beginner, 42% intermediate, 44% advanced, 0% expert
- Projected opening: 11/21/2012
- Projected closing: 4/15/2013