Steamboat Springs, Colorado is where cowboy life meets shredder life. Ranching, rodeo and skiing have been the cowboy way there for as long as ranching has existed in Yampa Valley. It’s intertwined into the narrative of the town, where young cowboys learn to ride horseback as early as they learn to ski.
This year marks Steamboat Ski Resort’s 50year and the town of Steamboat’s 100th year of Winter Carnivals. The Winter Carnival is a spectacular festival featuring equestrian skijoring (horses pulling skiers), cross-country racing and jumping, tobogganing, nighttime ice-skating and the tradition of the Lighted Man ski jumper on Howelsen Hill.
With a history of some of the best snowfall in the Rocky Mountains – surpassing 300 inches of champagne powder this year – and a long tradition of skiing, Steamboat has managed to produce more winter Olympians than anywhere else – 79 to date. But, you don’t have to be an Olympic skier to enjoy all that powder. Steamboat has terrain to suit every level of skier/snowboarder.
What we like best about Steamboat:
- The Gondola. It’s a beautiful ride from the base of the mountain at Gondola Square to 9,080’. An easy way to start your day with green, blue or black runs back down to the base, or access one of several other lifts to explore more of the resort.We like the gondola at the end of the day too, when we’re too tired to make it all the way back down on our own.
- Ragnar’s for lunch. A finer dining restaurant where ski and snowboard boots are required. It’s the only way to get there during the day. And it’s worth the trek. If only for the best Bloody Mary on the mountain. And you can’t beat the views!At night, take a snow-cat driven sleigh ride to Ragnar’s for a five-course Scandinavian-inspired dinner.
- Hazie’s Western BBQ for dinner. Take the gondola to dinner at Hazie’s for a tasty Western BBQ buffet and live entertainment. The kids will especially love the spoon-hanging contest and learning the Chicken Dance.
- Historic Downtown. Western charm and a laid back attitude is what you’ll find as you stroll down Lincoln Ave. The western mercantile store, FM Light & Sons has been a regular stop to shop for authentic cowboy hats, boots and western gifts for 107 years.Also located downtown is kid-friendly, Old Town Hot Springs which features two water slides and a lap pool.
- Free concerts. There’s always live music playing somewhere in Steamboat, “the Music Capitol of the Rockies.” Whether downtown or at Gondola Square, it’s always a party in Steamboat.
- The Steamboat Grand. Walk across the street to the base where you can retrieve your skis, snowboards and boots in the morning at a convenient location. Then, drop them off at the end of day and walk back across the street to your room in warm, comfortable shoes. Perfect with kids who are too tired to carry their gear at the end of the day.
There is so much more to winter in Steamboat than we were able to explore in our short two days there. Looking forward to snow tubing at Howelsen Hill, horseback riding at Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch and experiencing the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks display upon our return!
Chris is the Director of Design for TravelingMom.com, a WAHM and pilot’s wife living in Aurora, Colorado. She writes about family travel standby as Standby Traveling Mom as well as at MamaBirdsBlog.com. Follow Chris on Pinterest and on Twitter as @BirdBanter.