Flaunting Western hospitality and copious amounts of Champagne Powder®, Steamboat Ski Resort is one of the penultimate Colorado ski towns. Not only will the tree skiing excite the most adventurous powder hound, but the mountain is also ranked as one of the best family resorts in North America. Tourists and locals alike love “The Boat” for that effervescent dry powder that tickles your nose like champagne bubbles.
Don’t believe us? Check out the stats: Steamboat has produced more Olympians than any other town in the USA!
Resort Name: Steamboat Ski Resort
Resort Address: 2305 Mt. Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Date First Opened: January 12, 1963
Resort prices for tickets: The lift ticket prices at Steamboat vary depending on the time of year you ski, the number of days you plan on skiing, and your age. Updated prices can be found at Steamboat.com.
Adult season pass: $1339; Youth 13-17 season: $769; Youth 6-12 season: $539; Senior 70+ season: $679; Fulltime College Student season: $749; and Kids Ski Free (12 and under, with purchase of adult season pass).
Skiers can also purchase the Rocky Mountain Super Pass for $529 which grants unlimited days at Copper Mountain, Eldora and Winter Park, as well as six days at Steamboat and three days at Crested Butte. View Liftopia deals.
Acres: 2,965 acres
Vertical Feet: 3,668 feet
Number of Trails: 165 named trails (14% beginner, 42% intermediate, 44% expert)
Number of Lifts: 16 total lifts: (1) 8-passenger gondola, (1) high speed six person, (5) high speed quads, (1) conventional quad, (6) triple chairlifts, (2) double chairlifts.
Terrain park? Pipe?: Steamboats hosts multiple terrain parks, ranging from beginner to expert with the aptly named Lil’ Rodeo, Sunbeam, Rabbit Ears, Lower Mavericks and Mavericks. Mavericks is also the home of the superpipe, a 450-foot long and 56-foot wide pipe with 18-foot high walls.
Average snow: 349”
Snowmaking: 375 acres
This year’s improvements: Thunderhead Lodge at the top of the gondola received a makeover this summer with new color schemes, carpeting and a custom-designed Red’s Bar.
Even better? Coming off its inaugural season of night skiing and snowboarding, Steamboat will add two additional nights during the week so riders can frolic on the slopes under the lights. Night riding will be offered from Thursday-Monday evenings from 5:30-8:30.
Ski School Offerings: The Steamboat SnowSports School offers a variety of ski school group classes including: KVC (ages 6 months-6 ½ years), Kids (ages 6 ½-15), and Adult. Racing, freeriding, privates, and women’s specific courses are also available.
Activities Other Than Skiing: Snowbiking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing, and scenic gondola rides are offered. Additionally, Steamboat’s First Tracks program allows access to intermediate and advanced runs before the mountain officially opens.
Year Round Offerings: Locals love to say that you come for the winter but stay for the summer because there is so much to do year-round! Hot air balloon tours, mountain biking and horseback riding are just a few of the activities offered.
Average On-Mountain Lunch Price: $10-15
Best Place to Park: Meadows Parking Lot. It’s completely free and there is even a free shuttle that will drop you off at the base of the ski area.
Resort Trivia/Random Facts: Not only has Steamboat produced more winter Olympians than any other town in the USA – 88 and counting!—but the director of skiing is none other than Billy Kidd. Kidd was the first American male to win an Olympic medal in skiing!
First Chair/Run You Should Ski: According to local Megan Westerkamp, Vagabond is a great warmup run to get the blood pumping in the legs. Pop into the trees to experience that great Champagne powder!
What time to be first tracks on a pow day? All bets are off on a powder day! Press glass and be there when the Gondola opens if you want to catch the fresh stuff.
Best Powder Stashes: Locals are reluctant to give up their secret stashes, but Westerkamp gave us this tip: hit up Hot Cakes or Wake Up Call to find some good pow!
Best Tree Runs: Steamboat is known for their tree skiing so the options are limitless. In particular, check out the Shadows and Closets for some evenly spaced trees. And while you won’t find this trail name on the map, the 2:30 trees are local favorites. Look for the runs called Two O’Clock and Three O’Clock; you’ll find 2:30 right in the middle. (Clever huh?!)
Secret Hike-To Spots: There is not a ton of hiking at Steamboat, but if you’re looking for a short hike, check out either East Face or North St. Pats.
Around the Resort:
Most Convenient Airports: The closest airport is the Hayden Airport which is only 22 miles away. However, flights can be pricey so many tourists choose to fly into Denver International Airport, a solid three-hour drive.
Best Place for Apres: T-Bar is still the place to be seen at the end of a powder day. The old ski patrol building-turned-bar is located at the base of the mountain, making ski-in/ski-out a breeze. Not only do they make some fantastic mac ‘n cheese, but you’ll want to be present when the bell is rung inside: free shots for everyone!
Best Nightlife: As it does anywhere, the bumpin’ location depends on the night! Sun Pies is a local favorite known for both its location on the Yampa and its potent alcoholic beverage, the Hurricane. Other favorites include Carl’s, OTP or The Tap House.
Best Place to Eat: Considering its isolated location, Steamboat has surprisingly tasty dining options! Sake2U (formerly Saketumi) is the go-to option for sushi, and Mahogany Ridge is a great choice for American fare with frequent live music. Harwigs and Vaqueros round out the top choices.
Best Value Play for Food & Drinks: Harwig’s is a steal with fulltime $6 Gray Goose martinis. Mahogany Ridge rocks an enticing happy hour too: half-price apps, $1 off beers, and $5 double-tall well drinks.
Most Interesting Place to Eat: Red Bowl is the new kid to the Steamboat dining scene but reviews are favorable. This restaurant cooks up fresh curry weekly, and word on the street is that they will soon serve kangaroo meat!
Best Place to Recover: Hands down, the favorite is Strawberry Park Hot Springs! This beautiful natural hot spring is located in the woods, so it isn’t easy to reach in the winter. However, the privacy is unparalleled and the multiple pools offer a variety of temperatures to enjoy. Brave locals will even take a quick dip into the nearby Yampa River for a shot of cold water. Local tip: be aware that clothing may be optional after dark.
Who are you? Heather Balogh, a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in outdoor adventure and travel.
Where do you come from? I’m a Colorado native, born and raised!
Why do you know the resort so well? After spending a year in South America, Heather returned to Colorado only to move up to Steamboat. She spent two seasons in the old west town—one as a ski instructor!—and The Boat still holds a cherished place in my heart.