While Steamboat’s iconic Champagne Powder® and family-friendly amenities and attractions are certainly a big draw for many ski and snowboard vacationers, it’s not the only thing that seduces the resort’s army of devotees. The resort and historic cowboy town host a collection of annual marquee events—as well as some new events—that keep visitors coming back year after year. In addition, Steamboat Springs has recently undergone a craft brewing and nightlife renaissance of sorts, which has only further solidified its appeal to a wider demographic. While Steamboat will always be beloved by families seeking hot springs soaks and exhilarating snow tubing sessions, it’s also achieved a greater balance for off-mountain experiences in recent years.
To help you enjoy these top Steamboat events and experiences, both new and old, we comprised a list.
Top 2017 Steamboat events
1. Cowboy Downhill
Jan. 15 – 16, 2017
This famed, two-day event started more than 40 years ago when Billy Kidd, Olympian and Steamboat’s Director of Skiing, and Larry Mahan, six-time All-Around World Champion cowboy, decided to invite a few of the ProRodeo stars to Steamboat for a day of skiing. The cowboys had such a great time that an annual alpine race event was born. These days, the Cowboy Downhill has become the most popular event of the season with more than 100 of the best professional rodeo cowboys competing in the most unique ski rodeo in the country.
Cowboy Downhill Schedule
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017
- 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Hot-air balloon display at the ski area base
- 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.: Cowboy-up party (Bear River Bar & Gill)
Monday, Jan. 16, 2017
- 11 a.m.: Festivities kick off in Gondola Square with an afternoon of Western celebration featuring an animal petting zoo, a learn-to-rope clinic and more
- 1 p.m.: 43rd Annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill – Timed Event Slalom followed by the Free Bud Light Concert- Gondola Square (TBD)
- 7 p.m.: Cowboy downhill Awards & Banquet at the Top of the Gondola (Pre-purchase tickets only)
2. 104th Winter Carnival
Feb. 8 – 12, 2017
The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, one of the largest and oldest winter sports clubs in the U.S., hosts the 104th Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, the oldest continuing Winter Carnival west of the Mississippi.
Learn more about the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club>>>
During the four-day festival, the entire town is over run by events, including a parade featuring Steamboat’s skiing High School band, racing, ski jumping, the famous ski jöring events down Lincoln Avenue and the spectacular night show featuring the legendary Lighted Man and the largest firework display in the country!
Full schedule of events coming soon.
3. Steamboat Winterwondergrass
Feb. 23 – 26, 2017
Music and brews will collide in the Yampa Valley mountains for Winterwondergrass. Now in its fifth year, Winterwondergrass has found the ideal Colorado location in Ski Town, U.S.A.® . The event will include microbrewery beer tastings and bluegrass concerts, plus new features including a free welcome party, Farm-to-Table dinner, special mid-mountain sessions and music and libation workshops.
In past years, Winterwondergrass has sold out, so be sure to reserve your tickets soon.
Top après-ski + nightlife spots in Steamboat
Beer Town, U.S.A.
Home to nearly 230 established breweries, the words “Colorado” and “microbreweries” are frequently used in the same sentence. In fact, more than 10 percent of the nation’s craft breweries can be found in Colorado, which is quite an impressive statistic given that the state is home to less than two percent of the country’s population. When it comes to Colorado’s mountain towns, Steamboat Springs is a growing leader in the microbrewery space. Now home to five breweries and one in nearby Hayden, Steamboat Springs is a top destination for the skier or snowboarder who likes to kick back after a day on the slopes with a hand-crafted brew.
4. Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill
Serving handcrafted beers ranging from wheat and blonde to red, stout and pale ale, Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill (435 Lincoln Ave.), has been a popular drinking and eating establishment for nearly 15 years. Before it was Mahogany, it was the Steamboat Brewery & Tavern, of which current co-owner, Charlie Noble was the brewmaster. Come hungry, too, Mahogany serves up cuisine for every predilection—literally. Enjoy everything from wings, chips & salsa and ceviche to soups, salads, pasta, Asian noodle bowls, burgers, sandwiches and more!
5. Butcherknife Brewing Company
Located at 2875 Elk River Road, Butcherknife Brewing’s taproom offers patrons a hip, laidback vibe for socializing and a selection of tasty in-house brews to sample in a flight or pint by pint. Many of Butcherknife’s beers have lower IBUs, or lower alcohol levels, which is a welcome relief for visitors un-acclimated to Colorado’s elevation.
6. Storm Peak Brewing Co.
Storm Peak Brewing Co. is a great place to enjoy an après-ski beer. Grab a taco across the street at Taco Cabo and then take in the scene while you sip the suds of your choice in the sunny, bright taproom. Storm Peak is especially ideal if you enjoy hoppy beers, like IPAs.
7. Steamboat BräuHaus
For a wide European selection (100+ beers) and handmade pretzels, i.e. the perfect après-ski combo, head to Steamboat BräuHaus, located at 2500 Village Drive. The Bavarian-inspired scene features not one but two happy hours. From 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., the BräuHaus offers $4 drafts.
8. Mountain Tap Brewery
The newest addition to Steamboat’s lineup of local breweries, Mountain Tap Brewery, opened its doors in July 2016. Owner and brewmaster, Rich Tucciarone has enjoyed a two-decade long career of making beer at some of the U.S.’ finest microbrews, including Breckenridge Brewery and Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii. Visit their convenient Yampa Street location, a former electricity building, and see if their beers—and kitchen—live up to their good reputation.
9. Yampa Valley Brewing
Located just 25 minutes from Steamboat Springs in Hayden, Yampa Valley Brewing (106 E Jefferson Ave.) is another newcomer to the area. While you enjoy one of their hefeweizens, pilsners, IPAs, stouts or blondes mingle with local hunters, skiers, cowboys and fisherman and other visitors coming or going to the Yampa Valley Regional Airport, which is just two miles away.
Top Steamboat bars
10. T Bar
Located just north of the gondola in an old ski patrol trailer, T Bar is one of Steamboat’s most popular après-ski spots—especially on a sunny afternoon. Post up in one of the plastic chairs or picnic tables and indulge in a cold beer or gnosh on a surprisingly gourmet borscht or Panini.
11. Slopeside Grill
Coined Steamboat’s après-ski “beach,” Slopeside Grill is located in Gondola Plaza and serves lunch, après, dinner and late-night happy hour specials. Soak up the sun on the outdoor patio while you sip your drink of choice and recount the day’s on-slope adventures with fellow skiers and riders.
12. The BARley
A Steamboat Springs newcomer, The BARley is a “Colorado craft and draft” bar that true aficionadas will love. Situated right on Lincoln have between 6th and 7Th Street, the BARley has around 30 rotating drafts on tap. If you like to pair something salty with your beer, The BARley offers a variety of munchies like homemade pretzels, smoked salmon, olives and pickles.
13. Carl’s Tavern
A great place to catch a game or live music, Carl’s Tavern is a restaurant, sports bar and late-night pub all rolled into one. Located on 700 Yampa Avenue, Carl’s Tavern also offers lovely views of the Yampa River.
14. Old Town Pub & Restaurant
Saddle up for a bite, pint and live music at the legendary Old Town Pub & Restaurant, located at 600 Lincoln Avenue. The Old Town Pub services up a draft list featuring all Steamboat’s local breweries—so you can try them all in one spot!
15. Schmiggity’s Live Music Dance Bar
Serving up Steamboat’s best sound and darn good—and strong—drinks, Schmiggity’s is the place to go for late-night dancing. Come on the early side and take advantage of daily happy hour specials from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Read to experience Steamboat’s many off-mountain events and attractions this winter? Start by filling out a form for a free, custom quote.
Director of SEO + Content
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.