Steamboat Resort, Colorado has been recognized as the “Premier Family Ski Resort” by Jetsetter and consistently ranks in the top 10 family ski resorts by Ski Magazine and Forbes Magazine. Its gentle, rolling slopes, world-class ski school, and soft powder make it the perfect ski resort for kids to find their ski legs while parents can put it on cruise control and enjoy everything this gem has to offer.
Now that you’re swayed, start mapping out your Steamboat family ski vacation with the help of our expert-vetted, five-day itinerary.
Day 1: Check into your accommodations and check out Steamboat’s night skiing
Steamboat is full of family-friendly accommodations—truly. Few other resorts can compete with Steamboat’s array of slopeside lodging options, which is an especially convenient feature for getting the kiddos on the slopes in the morning and reducing the equipment schlep factor.
Recommended family-friendly Steamboat lodging
Located less than 250 yards from the Gondola Square, Steamboat Grand caters to families due to its close proximity to the lifts, unique collection of room types, and an assortment of amenities. Families can opt for standard hotel rooms, hotel rooms with lock-offs, studios, penthouses, and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom condos with home-away-from-home amenities such as full kitchens. In addition, the Grand’s onsite dining makes getting the kids fed a cinch, and parents and kids alike will love playing and relaxing in the heated, salt-water pools and hot tubs.
Steamboat Night Skiing
After you’ve checked into your room or unit, bundle up, grab your ski gear, and don’t forget your lift ticket before heading out into the beautiful, crisp winter night to experience one of Steamboat’s most popular on-slope draws: night skiing. Open for night skiing on weekends, Steamboat’s night skiing is the perfect way for families to kick off their ski vacation. You’ll want to plan ahead for this and book your flight schedule accordingly. To save yourself time that night and the next morning, be sure to reserve any equipment rentals along with lift tickets in advance. Conveniently, Steamboat’s night skiing takes place just above the main base area, the Gondola Plaza, which is where you’ll find the lift ticket office and equipment rental shops if you need them. Ask a Mountain Travel Expert to build your vacation package so you can experience night skiing on your arrival day.
Day 2: Get your kiddos in snowsports school and explore the mountain
In addition to Steamboat’s prevalence of conveniently located accommodations, the Kid’s Vacation Center makes family ski trips easy, breezy. Located in Gondola Square underneath the gondola building, the Kids’ Vacation Center is a one-stop facility where families have lessons and equipment rentals at their fingertips. Children age two to Kindergarten will learn to ski or ride at the on-premise learning area. Kids in first grade through age 15, will also meet at the base area in front of the red schoolhouse. No matter what your kids’ age, they’ll be heading to the same place in the morning.
For the littlest ducklings, age six and under, Kid’s Vacation Center offers a fully licensed daycare facility (limited capacity in 20/21). Children up to age six can enjoy a snowsports school and daycare package. Depending on the child’s age they’ll do an hour or two of skiing in the morning and in the afternoon. When they’re not skiing, they’ll be playing and learning indoors under the supervision of fun, professional child-care providers.
While your youngsters are enjoying expert instruction and making friends, take the opportunity to ski at your own pace. If you’re looking for a couple warm-up laps or some good cruisers, head over to the Sunshine lift. If your clan isn’t opting for snowsports school, the Sunshine area is also a great place for the whole family to enjoy some turns together. This zone features the lion’s share of green and blue cruisers, fun glades, and even a couple blacks. Everyone can ski or ride their stripe of slope and meet back up at the lift and ride together. If you’re on the hunt for Steamboat’s lauded Champagne Powder® check out the gladed, powdery tree skiing off the Sundown lift.
Whether you’re skiing as a family or have gone your separate ways for the day, lunch at Rendezvous Saddle, located halfway down High Noon run, is a great way to reconnect. Enjoy pizza, pasta, sandwiches, soups and even Norweigan specialties at the reservation only, Ragnars.
Day 3: After skiing, go snow tubing followed by a sleigh ride dinner
Cap off another great day of skiing with an unforgettable family evening. Head over to Saddleback Ranch for some classic winter activities. Located 15 miles outside of Steamboat Springs, Saddleback Ranch is an 8,000-acre, fourth-generation, family-owned and -operated working cattle ranch, where you can enjoy snow tubing at Yee-Haw Hill, followed by a cozy, 45-minute Belgian Draft-drawn sleigh ride to Double Dollar Lodge. Upon entering the warm, Western lodge, families are welcomed with hot chocolate and apple cider, and dinner is served shortly thereafter.
Transportation to and from Saddleback Ranch is provided. Sleigh Ride Dinner guests are required to call Saddleback Ranch at least 48 hours prior to your sleigh ride to confirm the dinner menu and your pick-up location.
Another great snow tubing option includes Howelsen Hill. Located in downtown Steamboat Springs, Howelsen Hill tubing is accessed via magic carpet. Kids and kids at heart will love the thrill of zooming down this historic snow tubing hill. Howelsen Hill is a small ski area in Steamboat Springs, with a series of ski jumps and facilities, which has produced more than 70 Olympians in alpine and Nordic events.
Day 4: Ski a half day as a family and enjoy a hot spring soak in the evening
If you haven’t skied as a family yet, reserve at least a half-day to explore Steamboat’s world-class terrain together. Be sure to snap a family pic at the top of Sunshine Express lift—which offers some of the most stunning on-resort views of the surrounding Yampa Valley. If your family has a competitive streak, make your way over to the NASTAR Race area off the Bashor lift. Race one another and see who the king of the hill is in your family.
In the afternoon, set aside a couple hours to enjoy soaking in the therapeutic waters of Strawberry Hot Springs—one of Steamboat’s most popular attractions. The water is a soothing 101° to 105°. Sign up for transportation to the hot springs via The Hot Springs Shuttle. Afternoon pick-up times for families with children under 18 include: 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Guests need to bring their own towels, swimsuits, warm clothes and beverages, but no glass containers, food or alcohol. Passes are $20-$40 (depending on age and the day of the week).
Day 5: Hit up downtown Steamboat Springs for souvenirs and treats and enjoy Western-style family dinner
On your last day in Steamboat Springs, spend some time exploring the charming, historic downtown Steamboat Springs, where many quaint shops dot both Lincoln and Yampa streets. The kids will love the colorful treats inside the local’s favorite candy store, Fuzziwigs. If you’re looking for some keepsakes, there is an official Steamboat Resort merchandise store located in the center of downtown on Lincoln Street.
When dinnertime arrives, make sure you have reservations at Hazies (temporarily closed for 2020)—an on-mountain dining experience the whole family will love. Located at the top of the gondola, Hazies will make the whole family happy as they gaze over the lights of the Yampa Valley.
Ready to take your family to Steamboat this winter? Get started by filling out a form for a free, custom quote.