Steamboat Springs

Colorado, USA

Steamboat is located in northwestern Colorado about a 4-hour drive from Denver. Don’t let the more isolated location turn you off – it works in its favor since it creates a town with a unique character, away from the weekend hoards that flock to resorts closer to Denver. And with endless intermediate terrain, tons of extra activities, and a fantastic après scene, Steamboat makes a great choice.

Scout Loves

  • Steamboat’s famous champagne powder and perfectly gladed tree runs.
  • Perfect Bloody Marys - there's an actual yearly competition to see which is the best!
  • Strawberry Park Hot Springs a magical experience especially on a starry night. 
  • Authentic mountain town feel of downtown Steamboat.
  • Freshly brewed coffee & maple-glazed donuts from Moose Watch Cafe are to die for.

Scout Tips

  • If you see a guy skiing in a 10 gallon hat it’s probably Olympian Billy Kid – the resort’s official “mascot”. You can join him on guided tours of the mountain.
  • Most of the accommodation is up in the mountain village, right in the heart of the action.
  • Endless restaurants, bars, and eateries scattered throughout the historic downtown.
  • Enjoy apres with the locals at T Bar – a ski-in ski-out bar just below Christy III lift.
  • The resort is incredibly family friendly.
  • Over 74% of the terrain is rated Advanced to Expert!

Scout Review

Steamboat Springs is one of our favourite ski resorts in Colorado. The resort itself is comprised of six peaks and is one of the largest ski resorts in Colorado - from run rolling groomers to steep chutes, the resort definitely caters to all ability levels. What makes this resort so special is its roots deep in Western Heritage, making it feel relaxed and authentic. The locals are friendly and even the mountain seems kind to most skiers. There are fewer crowds thanks to its relatively isolated location and it’s not full of hard-core, ego-skiers, despite the fact there’s some fantastic challenging terrain at the top of the mountain (and excellent champagne powder snow!).

It's a popular choice for local and international families, as the resort offers first-class facilities and great ski school, rentals, and kids activities. The resort is dominated by big condo complexes, with plenty of configurations and options to suit basically any family structure. You can find some great ski-in/ski-out options (can be a little pricey) or many options a little further away from the hill, but still barely minutes on the free resort shuttle. The resort base has undergone some major re-developments over the past few years, with great restaurants and bars, fun spots for apres, and easily accessible amenities all in the one location. The resort hosts live music events throughout the season, which turn the base area into a lively festival-like space. 

The resort has really upped it's game for dining and apres at the base of the mountain. Slopeside Grill is a good spot to sit on a deck chair and watch the last few skiers make their turns, or jump on the gondola up to the Oasis Sundeck for sunset apres. Gnarley Charly's, new this coming season, offers drool-worthy pizza, while Gondola Joe's serves up the best coffee on the mountain. We loved how easily accessible the cafes and restaurants on mountain are, meaning you can grab a quick bite and get back to slaying some incredible powder snow in no time.

Downtown Steamboat boasts an authentic mountain town vibe - the historic buildings lining the main street are charming and, against the backdrop of the mountain resort, the streets are incredibly picturesque. There are some fantastic restaurants that line the main street, as well as back onto the Yampa river. You can't go past Mahogany Ridge for Happy Hour, with half price tapas, or Cantina for some authentic Mexican fare. The majority of the nightlife happens in downtown Steamboat, with some fantastic bars - from fancy cocktails and margheritas to countless craft beers on tap at one of the many pubs. Take a stroll along the fairy-light lit streets and take your pick from the best 'the Boat' has to offer!

Steamboat Springs Skiing

Steamboat is an excellent all-rounder resort for skiers and snowboarders, catering to all ability levels. You're sure to find your favourite run in no time, with plenty of options spread across 6 different peaks (offering over 2965 acres of terrain to explore). If you're a fan of tree skiing, you won't be dissappointed with a trip to Steamboat. 

Steamboast has fantastic terrain for beginners, and the runs are progressive allowing for fast and easy learning. Intermediate skiers and snowboarders will love the variety of groomed trail, each with varying pitches and perfect for long cruising runs. We love that there are blue-black mixed trails, which allow intermediates to take the next step into powder skiing, with plenty of exit points.

For advanced skiers, there are a ton of black diamond trails to explore, however, it's the tree-skiing that is really spectacular at Steamboat. Perfectly gladed aspen trees, slopes with many different pitches, and a good amount of snowfall each year means the trees are the go-to option on a powder day. A short hike from the lift (and we mean short, barely 5 minutes) brings you to a great array of steep terrain, including some gnarly chutes.

The resort's location in the Northern Colorado Rockies means snowfall is incredibly light and dry, making Steamboat famous for it's "champagne powder". Receiving on average 9 metres of snow per season, there's plenty of opportunities for face-shots and fresh tracks throughout the day. The lift infrastructure servicing the resort is relatively good, with some fast quads, 6-person lifts, and a gondola to make powder days a little less crowded, however, there are a stack of older lifts scattered throughout the resort that can be a little frustrating (especially on a good snow day). The one downfall to Steamboat is the price of lift tickets, which has risen over the past few years to make them one of the most expensive lift tickets in Colorado.

Steamboat Springs For Families

Steamboat is one of our go-to resorts for families. It's is incredibly well organised and the facilities are world-class. The majority of the amenities are centrally located in the Gondola building or nearby Gondola Square, right at the base of the resort. This makes it super easy to have your rentals, lessons, and lift tickets ready and organised to get you onto the slopes. 

The Ski School at Steamboat is internationally reknowned and has fantastic options for ski & snowboard lesson, including group and private lessons, and multi-day programs. The Kids Vacation Center in the Gondola building has programs tailored to kids from the age of 2.5 and up, combining child-care with on-snow lessons. They also have GPS tracking on all kids, so you can follow the progress of your little ones. 

For lodging, staying on-mountain is the easiest option and has the most accommodation choices for families. Condos, townhouses, ski-in/ski-out, take your pick - Steamboat has every style and type of accommodation to suit your needs. The resort runs a reliable ski shuttle also, so you can stay a little off the hill and still be incredibly close to the action. The Porches is a popular choice for families, with spacious vacation homes and great value for the larger group or family. 

On non-snow days, take a trip to Howelson Hill in town, where the kids can spend an afternoon snow tubing. Saddleback Ranch also offers excellent snow tubing and horse riding, and provide a transfer for you from your accommodation. In the main Gondola Square, you'll find family oriented activities including slingshot bungee jump (always popular among kids) and mechanical bull. The Old Town Hot Springs in downtown Steamboat is very family friendly, and parents can relax in the thermal pools whilst allowing the younger ones to enjoy the swimming pool and waterslide.

Steamboat Springs Accommodation

While you are spoilt for choice in Steamboat, almost all the accommodation is located in the main mountain village. There are several ski-in ski-out condo complexes and hotels, and many others scattered further beyond the resort base, all within walking distance or a short stint on the shuttle bus. Steamboat Grand is a fantastic choice for those wanting to be right in the heart of the action, and offer a full-service hotel option for families. One Steamboat Place is also an excellent choice at the base of the resort, barely metres from the slopes, and a good choice for those wanting a little luxury.

There are a few lodging choices in the downtown area, including budget lodges and motels, and only a 7 minute ride on the free shuttle bus to the base of the resort. 

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Resort Activities

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There are plenty of activities on and off the mountain to keep everyone entertained and happy. Ski jumping, fishing, sleigh-ride dinners, snowmobile tours, hot-air balloon rides, hot springs, powder cat skiing and ice skating – the list goes on and on. If you want to be true to the Western heritage you can even slap on some chaps and take a horse ride through a winter wonderland.

A must-visit when in Steamboat is Strawberry Park Hot Springs - an incredible natural thermal springs, located about 15 minutes from downtown. Perfect after a long day on the slopes, these hot springs are a Scout favourite, and you'll enjoy relaxing in the natural rock setting and surrounding pine forests. Easy to get to if you have your own vehicle, or there are a few shuttle companies in town that can provide transport to and from the hot springs. It can get crowded in the afternoon and evenings during peak season, so it's recommended to head there during the day. Note: bathers are optional once the sun goes down! Also, since they don’t have lights, be careful walking around in the dark.

Getting There and Around

Despite its location, Steamboat is easy to get to. The Yampa Valley Airport is about 22 miles (35km) west of Steamboat and several airlines have non-stop flights from eight major cities. Alternatively, there are plenty of connecting flights via Denver. There are several shuttle services available and prices start around $35 one way.

You can drive to Steamboat from Denver – it’s a 3 hour 30 min though, as always, allow more time in winter. A good idea is to go the longer way via Fort Collins (just over 4 hours) thus avoiding the notoriously slow i70. If you decide on this option make sure to check that the Rabbit Ears Pass is open first, as it can be closed due to accidents, avalanche, or for snow clearing.

Steamboat is easy to get around on foot. For those without their own transportation, the City of Steamboat Springs offers free transport between the ski area and downtown, and it's only 7 minutes journey. Most hotels in the village area also have shuttles for dropping you off at the resort base or downtown.

When To Go

Steamboat ski resort is open from late November until mid-April. The most reliable conditions are generally during February. The Winter Carnival is a fun time to visit, though accommodation prices can be higher and more booked out. Ask us about this seasons' dates.

Other busy holiday periods are:

  • Christmas and New Year.
  • Martin Luther King long weekend
  • President’s Day long weekend

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 6900ft / 2103m Gondolas 1 Beginner 14%  
Summit Elevation 10,568ft / 3224m Express Six Seater 1 Intermediates 42%  
Vertical Drop 3668ft / 1118m Express Quads 5 Advanced 44%  
Skiable Area 2965ac / 1200ha Quad Chair 1      
Annual Snowfall 349in / 8.9m Triple Chairs 6      
Longest Run 3.0 miles / 4.80km Double Chairs 2      
Snowmaking 375ac / 152 ha Surface Lifts 2      
Operating Hours 8.30am –4.00pm Lift Capacity per hour 41,465 people      
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