Steamboat Ski Resort

Steamboat Springs Colorado has a reputation for the best snow in Colorado. Legendary champagne powder covers the trails, nestles between the trees, and dusts the roads in the charming ski town of Steamboat Springs. Steamboat Springs ski vacations are a perfect introduction to Rocky Mountain powder skiing.

Steamboat ski town is located in the Yampa River Valley in northwestern Colorado. The valley is riddled with natural hot springs. Steamboat Springs was named after one such spring. (The spring is no longer extant. It bubbled to the surface near the library in present-day Steamboat ski town until 1908, when underground explosions during the construction of a railroad altered the water's course.)

Skiing at Steamboat Springs ski area has a long and rich history. Founded in 1914, Howelsen Hill Ski Area, the only other resort near Steamboat Spring Colorado, is North America's oldest continuously operating ski station. Howelsen remains a quaint place to ski Steamboat and is worth a visit on Steamboat Springs ski vacations; it has just four lifts and fifteen trails, but its natural ski jumping complex, the largest in North America, is a training ground for the U.S. Olympic squad.

Streamboat Ski Resort is much larger; its 3,000 skiable acres spread across six mountains makes it one of the largest in Colorado. The terrain is varied and skiers and snowboarders of every level should find something to suit them, but intermediates and advanced will be most entertained.

Tree skiers will love to ski at Steamboat Spring Colorado; almost the entire mountain is one big skiable forest. Even first time tree skiers will find manageable woods off Longhorn trail near the Pony Express lift. Expert backcountry skiers and snowboarders will want to head to the Christmas Tree Bowl, the No Name Chutes or the sparsely wooded trails off the Sundown Express lift.

Less tree-lined, but no less harrowing and exciting, are the long, narrow black diamonds on Pioneer Ridge off the Pony Express lift. Middle Rib to Outlaw to Lariat is a good winding route.

Intermediates will find some more traditional cruising runs off the Sunshine Express lift. Tomahawk trail is a nice long groomed run, perfect for warming up. It has some more challenging side runs to the right as well. Although they are near the mountain base, the runs off the two Christie chairs are often surprisingly quiet, with some fun but short rides over well-maintained snow.

Beginners may be somewhat disappointed with Steamboat Ski Resort. Except for near the base area, most of the green slopes are narrow catwalks that intersect often with faster trails. First-time skiers have a good learning area near the base, and there are some nice groomed runs off the Christie chairs, but a destination resort like Vail or Aspen may be suitable for skiers and snowboarders off a less then intermediate level.

Some of the best things about Steamboat Springs ski area vacations are away from the actual mountain. Though the original hot spring has vanished from Steamboat ski town, there are still many extant springs in the Yamba Valley. The two closest are the natural pools at Strawberry Park, about 10 miles north of Steamboat Ski Resort, and the hot spring heated pools at Steamboat Health and Recreation Center. Other activities at or near Steamboat ski town include cross-country skiing, snowcat rentals, ice skating, dogsled rides, a winter driving school, an indoor climbing center, varied shopping opportunities, and two movie theaters.

Steamboat is about 160 miles from Denver; take I-70 to U.S. 40. There are shuttles from Denver International Airport to Steamboat and Yampa Valley Airport, 20 miles from Steamboat Ski Resort, has flights to over 100 locations in the United States.

Steamboat Springs ski vacations are about more than just the incredible snow. This is a true winter wonderland.

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