Steamboat, United States

The ultimate guide to Steamboat ski holidays in 2015 & 2016.

Ski holidays in Steamboat

With its own mountain range and signature champagne powder, Steamboat resort is seriously world class (a record number of Olympians call it home). Ski Town USA - the legendary Cowboy town of Steamboat Springs - is a few miles down the mountain and we love its friendly locals, proper pubs and unpretentious vibe.


At a glance:
Legendary Champagne Powder Friendly town Quieter Colorado resort

Great for:
Families Groups Powder skiers

Steamboat ski resort

Tucked out of sight in the Yampa Valley, Steamboat might not have as big a name as other Colorado resorts like Vail but the area is known worldwide for its champagne powder (a term coined by Steamboat) – some of the driest, lightest and fluffiest you’ll find and more than a dream to ski. The vast ski area is one of the biggest in Colorado and covers Steamboat’s very own mountain range, which spans the 6 peaks of Thunderhead, Werner, Christie, Sunshine and Storm mountains.

The mountain resort is almost fully pedestrianised, containing everything you’ll need for a day on the hill. You can reach the town by taking the 3 mile shuttle from the resort. Steamboat Springs is a proper Wild West mountain town and remains a classic in the ski world – it was nicknamed “Ski Town USA” in 1947 and the name has stuck. Downtown features everything from over 250 shops, more than 70 restaurants, as well as bars and nightlife, art galleries, ice skating rinks, hot springs and even a ski jump.

You might be mingling with the fur clad elite in resorts like Vail but in Steamboat you’ll get to know real life cowboys – the locals are super friendly and the vibe’s terrifically down to earth. There’s a load of wild-west activities; the tradition of rodeo has been around for ages and nowadays the pro rodeo is the most successful in the whole of the US.

Home to the largest number of Winter Olympians in history, Steamboat sent 17 athletes to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics alone. This pedigree of athletes bodes well for the ski area, with the diversity of events entered proving the scale and variation of terrain – the marketing slogan of “When athletes go to Sochi in 2014, it’s called the Winter Olympics. When Olympians gather in Steamboat, it’s simply called Friday” says it all.

stats & faq

Where:US, Colorado
Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Denver International Airport267km, 3 hours
Winter Skiing: November – April
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 23
    runs 14%

  • 69
    runs 42%

  • 73
    runs 44%

Top Altitude:3224m
Bottom Altitude:2103m
Resort Altitude:2052m
Longest run:Why Not (4.8km)
Slope Orientation:W/N
Vertical Drop:1118m
Skiable Vertical:1062m
Night Skiing:Yes

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 64cm
  • Base
  • 56cm
  • Forecast
  • 5cm

Web Cam

Steamboat web cams

View our detailed Steamboat snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Steamboat snow history.

Downhill Runs:165 trails
Beginner slopes:14%
Advanced slopes:44%
Ski pass:$476 - $678 (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Vail, Winter Park

Skiing in Steamboat

With 2,965 acres, Steamboat’s extensive ski area holds a fine balance between the difficulties of its runs and they’re all in tip top condition thanks to nearly $30 million of investment in recent years.

Beginners are well catered for with the ski school, which is known for its fantastic customer service and high quality of tuition. Headwall is a great area for learning and should allow for quick improvement as it’s reserved wholly for beginners, meaning you won’t have speedsters nipping past you at every turn.

Intermediates have a plethora of terrain available – this resort grades more difficult intermediate runs as blue diamond, allowing more confident mid-level skiers a great transition from blue squares to black diamonds. The Sunshine Express provides you with some great options for blues and blue diamonds and it will probably take at least a day to explore every run in this section of the mountain.

Experts will revel in the trees that cover the mountain. If you’re looking for the more difficult terrain, you need to head to the top and back of the ski area which houses some of the best tree runs around. In addition, if you’re lucky enough to have a flurry of champagne powder the night before, check out the trees between Mount Werner and Storm Peak, and bowls and chutes from the hike over to the Mount Werner Side for potentially one of the best skiing experiences around.

Freestylers will enjoy the 3 parks and Superpipe made available to them in a steady progression, from the Lil’ Rodeo Park to the large features in Mavericks Terrain Park, allowing safer and easier improvement and additions to your trick bag. If you don’t fancy stopping for the day, night skiing is usually available, including a park and range of green, blue and black runs for the super keen.

Steamboat après ski

Harwig’s & L’Apogee is one of the most luxurious eateries in town, with a menu that will have you salivating in seconds and a wine cellar to match. If you’re looking for something a little more down to earth or have a tighter budget, try out Old Town for classic, hearty pub grub. Blue Sage Pizza serve some of the best pizza in town, with goliath deep dish pizzas resembling a pie more than anything else. For a beautifully prepared breakfast, we love Winona’s for some of the best pre skiing sustenance available.

Providing more of a pub scene than late night clubbing scene, Steamboat isn’t the place to go if you want to be raving all night, every night. However, pubs and bars like the T Bar and Bear River have an excellent après atmosphere, whilst Carl’s Tavern and the Sweetwater Grill will keep things going later into the evening. Carl’s Tavern is a local’s favourite which opens later than most and the Powder Room at the base of the lifts provides a classy selection of drinks and a sophisticated atmosphere, for something a bit more upmarket.

Those looking for something other than filling their stomachs with solids and liquids will find numerous non-skiing options available. Tubing (great for families) is available on Howelsen Hill for everyone to enjoy during the evening. Alternatively, try an unforgettable experience with Grizzle T Steamboat Dog Sledding, a spectacular way to see the surroundings. If you want to try something a little different, give the Bridgestone Winter Driving School a go for a fun and informative day (and practical if our country gets its usual 5cm this winter...).

When is best to ski Steamboat?

With its altitude of between 2100 and 3230m, Steamboat’s ability to keep snow year round is pretty darn good. Couple this with one of the highest average annual snowfalls throughout Colorado at 886cm, and you have yourself a winner. That’s not to say that the snow is guaranteed – you have to pick the right time to be in with a chance of finding that champagne powder.

Typically, between January and March are the best times to hit this ski area. In 2008 January had only five days with no snow, with the rest dumping between 2 and 35cm – the total snowfall for January and February was close to 6 metres. Even if you do get a poor snowfall during your stay, the 375 acres of artificial snowmaking technology will allow you access to a portion of the ski area.

In addition, you rarely get major queues to the same extent you’d find in the big resorts during the peak dates.

Peak dates

At any location, Christmas should be a jolly and fun experience. Christmas in Steamboat is magical, especially when their signature champagne powder sprinkles its way down for that all important white Christmas. Browse Steamboat Christmas ski holidays ‣

With a huge range of options, from parties, eating, drinking and free, family friendly events, it’s easy to see what makes people come from miles around to spend New Year’s in Steamboat. Browse Steamboat New Year ski holidays ‣

With no equivalent holiday in the US education system, skiing half term in Steamboat is a dream. At the peak time of year with regards to snowfall and weather, the likelihood you have exceptional, fluffy snow is high. Browse Steamboat Half Term ski holidays ‣

Colorado has always been famed for its fantastic spring skiing, and with its height, typical snowfall and geography, spending Easter in Steamboat is an exceptional experience. The range of possibilities in town mean that even if the conditions are poor, you’re more than likely to stay super busy for the duration of your stay. Browse Steamboat Easter ski holidays ‣

top Steamboat accom

Steamboat Grand

Steamboat Grand

Ptarmigan Inn

Ptarmigan Inn

Rabbit Ears Motel

Rabbit Ears Motel

Steamboat reviews, 4 star rating and resort and ski area information is collated by SNO man from staff experience and customer feedback.
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