With 2,965 acres of legendary Champagne Powder® snow, a beautiful location in northwest Colorado’s Yampa Valley and famous Western hospitality, it’s no wonder that Steamboat Resort has a legendary status among skiers. Check out our list of favorite things to do at the mountain paradise.
Ski with an Olympian (for free!)
Steamboat’s enduring authenticity attracts an impressive roster of world-renowned winter athletes, including Olympians. Intermediate and advanced skiers and riders can gain advice from 1964 Olympic silver medalist and World Champion Billy Kidd, who serves as Steamboat’s director of skiing, during the Ski with Billy Kidd program. Or join the aptly named Nelson on Nelson’s mogul clinic hosted by Olympic bronze medalist and World Cup Mogul Champion Nelson Carmichael on select Sundays at Nelson’s Run.
Other complimentary programs built into the price of your lift ticket include free guided snowshoe and cross-country ski tours.
Soak away your sore muscles
Unwinding in a steamy, natural hot springs amid falling snowflakes is one of our state’s most quintessential winter experiences. Take a dip in stone-lined pools flanked by the Routt National Forest at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, 7 miles from downtown Steamboat; or relax in eight mineral pools at Old Town Hot Springs, conveniently located right downtown and also equipped with two water slides and a fitness center.
Ride North America’s longest mountain coaster
The longest of its kind on the continent at 6,280 feet, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster’s dips, turns and 360-degree spins satisfy thrill riders of all ages year-round. The ride is part of the Land Up Adventure Zone in the base area, where other grin-inducing fun includes a bungee trampoline and climbing wall.
Sample delicious Steamboat brews
Butcherknife Brewing Co. uses water from Continental Divide snowmelt to brew their offerings, like the refreshing Amputator IPA, while Storm Peak Brewing Co.’s inviting taproom has a wide variety of rotating brews, including IPAs and sours. You can pair a pint of the smooth Locals’ Lager with seasonal dishes cooked in their wood-fired oven at Mountain Tap Brewery (we recommend the Neopolitan-style Rancher pizza made with local Italian sausage); or try one of Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill’s juicy hand-packed Angus burgers with the Alpenglow, a full-bodied amber ale.
Eat (and eat and eat)
Delicious Steamboat dining options abound, so satisfying your cravings all day long is a no-brainer. Start the day off with a breakfast burrito from The Paramount, or choose from 13 types of eggs benedict at Creekside Café. Lunch is divine at Hazie’s, where the stunning mountain vistas and lump crab mac and cheese will warm your body and soul, and Freshies, featuring farm-to-table fare that’s the perfect fuel for your next adventure. With tasty cocktails and comforting bites, Tbar and Laundry are both excellent go-tos for après ski or happy hour.
For dinner, reserve a table at Cafe Diva to savor specialties like peanut butter and bacon sandwiches with Asian-braised pork belly, or opt to sear your own local buffalo steak over a 500-degree lava rock grill at 8th Street Steakhouse. Those seeking late-night bites can indulge in pub grub at Slopeside Grill or pasta and pizza at Mazzola’s Italian Diner — both of which have nighttime happy hours.
Explore the area on horseback
Horseback riding is one of the best ways to encounter northwest Colorado’s enchanting snow-dusted aspen woodlands and appreciate Steamboat’s celebrated ranching heritage. Book a two-hour trail ride with Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch, an outfitter that has led excursions for all abilities through the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area for six generations. Other local outfitters offering winter horseback tours include Saddleback Ranch and Elk River Guest Ranch.
Stay up late with night skiing and riding
The resort’s Christie Peak is equipped with future-forward Ultra-Tech™ Lighting, giving guests access to five trails and 1,100 vertical feet of terrain after dark. Night skiing is available five nights a week from mid-December through late March, and the SnowSports School also boasts lessons under the lights. Bonus perk: Guests who fly into Steamboat/Hayden airport enjoy free night skiing the day of their arrival.
Take an extra-special ride to dinner
Steamboat has several opportunities for unforgettable sleigh-ride suppers. Haymaker offers a sleigh ride through the area’s rolling hills and a three-course Colorado meal of prime rib, free-range chicken or seafood, while Ragnar’s treats guests to a dazzling nighttime gondola ride, a snowcat-driven sleigh ride under the stars and a five-course Scandinavian-inspired dinner. Saddleback Ranch whisks families to Double Dollar Ranch via sleigh for a home-cooked meal and calf-roping lessons, and Four Points Lodge includes an excursion in a luxe snowcat to a five-course culinary experience on the mountain at 9,716 feet.
Soar in a hot-air balloon
Capture rare, aerial panoramas of the ski resort and the Yampa Valley on a flight with Wild West Hot Air Balloon Adventures, which offers 45-minute tours in the air. All flights, which can accommodate up to 10 people, include a continental breakfast, special certificate and champagne ceremony.
Hit the slopes at the oldest ski area in the West
Open since 1915, Howelsen Hill is Colorado’s oldest ski area in continuous use and is also home to the most complete natural ski-jumping complex in North America. The training grounds of 89 Olympic athletes, Howelsen’s intimate slopes are steeped in skiing history. Power down 17 runs, check out 21 kilometers of Nordic trails or survey the mountain on a fat bike (select hours only).
Photo credits: Mountain Tap Brewery, Mountain Tap Brewery; all other photos, Larry Pierce/Steamboat Ski Resort