Ski Country is chock-full of acclaimed mountain towns, but nothing is quite like Steamboat Springs, Colorado—especially for the nostalgic skier or snowboarder who is passionate about snowsports culture. Steamboat blends a longstanding legacy of snowsports athletic excellence, an enthusiastic local community and perfect snow conditions. We comprised a roundup of all the exceptional attributes that make this Colorado mountain town worthy of their self-proclaimed, trademarked title: Ski Town, U.S.A.®
1. Champagne Powder®
In the early 1950s, local rancher Joe McElroy coined the term “Champagne Powder®”. He was out skiing one sunny day on terrain that would eventually become Steamboat Resort. At one point, McElroy turned to a few friends and said the light, fluffy snow tickled his nose like Champagne. In fact, his description was pretty accurate—Steamboat’s snow averages six percent water content, which is nearly half of most other ski destinations. Much like the airy bubbles in Champagne, Steamboat’s snow has more air in it, and that’s why the resort trademarked Champagne Powder®.
2. Winter Olympians’ hometown
From veteran winter athletes like Todd Wilson, Billy Kidd, Ray Reid and Deb Armstrong to young guns like halfpipe snowboarder Taylor Gold, Steamboat Springs is home to more Olympians than any other town. Steamboat’s record 88 Winter Olympians have represented 12 countries or territories and made more than 151 Olympic appearances at 19 Winter Games. In fact, at Steamboat Resort, you can even ski with an Olympian. Sign up for one of Billy Kidd’s (1964 Olympic Slalom medalist) 3-Day Race Camps—held on select dates throughout the winter.
3. Home to one of the oldest operating ski area’s in the West
Howelsen Hill, the small ski area located in downtown Steamboat Springs, is the oldest ski area in continuous use in Colorado and one of the oldest in the West. Howelsen Hill was recently acknowledged as a “Pioneer Ski Resort” by the International Skiing History Association and the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame. Howelsen Hill opened in 1915, by passionate Nordic ski jumper Carl Howelsen, and since then has been the homebase of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Offering 50 acres of terrain and 13 miles of Nordic trails, Howelsen Hill is the site of the largest natural ski-jumping complex in North America and also features training terrain and facilities for a variety of other snowsports disciplines. Read more below.
4. Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
Founded more than a century ago as a committee for the annual Winter Carnival, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is the oldest ski club west of the Mississippi River. On Howelsen Hill, the Club provides athletic training for alpine, cross-country, freestyle, freeskiing, Nordic combined, special jumping, telemark, snowboard freestyle and alpine snowboarding, as well as strength and conditioning, cycling and skateboarding. In 1932, the Club sent its first Olympian to the Winter Games, and went on to send 87 more athletes over the years.
5. Winter Carnival
For more than 100 years, the annual Winter Carnival has celebrated winter-time fun with a long weekend of festivities—and many of the events and celebrations are much the same now as they were in 1914. Top events include a parade, fireworks and skijoring challenges, where kids are pulled on skis behind a horse along Main Street. Other events include Club athletes showcasing their stunts and skills on jumps and features. The most anticipated—and spectacular—event, is the Night Extravaganza on Howelsen Hill. Fireworks light up the night sky and Club athletes dazzle the crowd as they descend down the snowy, white hill with red, roman candles. This year, the Winter Carnival will be held from February 8 – 12, 2017.
Ready to experience Ski Town, U.S.A.® this winter? Book your complete ski vacation package to Steamboat today. Get started by filling out a form for 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.