Ski & Snowboard Holidays, Destinations & Deals

Steamboat resort, colorado

Steamboat Resort is one of our favourite Colorado resorts. We love the cowboy ambience, the intimate size of the resort, and the nearby historic western town of Steamboat. Don’t be fooled by its intimate charm. Steamboat packs a punch, with terrain and variety to suit everyone. It is easy to access from both the west and east costs of the States with non-stop daily direct flights from 12 cities, including the key hubs – Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN) Chicago (ORD), Atlanta (ATL), New York (EWR), and Houston (IAH).

WHY Steamboat?

We adore the authentic western heritage — there’s really nothing else like it in Colorado. Steamboat Resort is built around a truly iconic cowboy town, where you can strut in your stetson, and boot-scoot in your cowboy boots, just like the locals do.

Steamboat offers up 165 named trails; iconic glade skiing that we have experienced first-hand. This resort does deliver on their reputation for “champagne powder®”.  This is the destination is more relaxed than glamourous;  more country chic; and ticks the box for family-friendly vacations, couples, or a road-trip.  It’s a great mountain to ski and ride, and for the foodies, Steamboat is a go-to destination for culinary connoisseurs, for travelers seeking some real western flavor.  It’s more than a ski resort – it’s a ski town.

More than a ski resort - Steamboat is a ski town. Photo: Larry Pierce/Steamboat Resort
Steamboat is a ski town. Photo: Larry Pierce/Steamboat Resort

Après ski more your scene? There’s no shortage of options with more than 100 bars and restaurants, to enjoy true western hospitality. This cowboy town is also the place for horseback riding through the snow; a romantic sleigh ride; or relax in the local thermal hot springs.  Adventurers can sign up for the ultimate mountain high experience – a breathtaking hot air balloon tour.

Steamboat is one of our top three preferred family destinations in Colorado, along with Aspen and Vail. Its cowboy character, ski-in, ski-out accessibility, and snow quality and terrain, is why families and couples come back to Steamboat year after year. We seriously encourage you to add it to your bucket list too.

FUN FACT –

THE SNOW

THE SNOW

The abundance of “champagne powder®” is a result of Steamboat’s “eye of the storm” location within the Northern Colorado Rockies.  Steamboat is actually a complete mountain range; it is the first significant barrier in the pathway of the Pacific north-west storms tracking eastwards. As the clouds encounter the mountains, they first lift, then cool, and ultimately lose their ability to hold moisture, and down comes the snowflakes, known as Champagne Powder®.

Courtesy:  provided by the John Wade, Steamboat Real Estate Agent

Champagne Powder® snow is a trademark of the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. Local rancher Joe McElroy coined the phrase before the ski area even opened. Out skiing one sunny day in the early 1950’s, on what terrain that eventually would be the ski area, he turned to a few friends and said the stuff tickled his nose like champagne…Champagne Powder snow.

“Steamboat gets the snow with the lowest water content in the United States,” says Ian McCubbin, Manager of Steamboat’s Storm Peak Laboratory, which conducts ongoing snow studies. Steamboat’s powder averages six percent density.

More on the geography – Steamboat sits below the tree-line, and we rave about the tree-skiing.  Fair to say, there are no alpine bowls, but that’s more than compensated for the light, dry, fluffy Champagne Powder®. We call it hero snow.

The resort historically averages an annual snowfall of around 349 in / 886 cm. There are ample groomed runs, as well as challenging mogul tracks, and terrain parks on offer across 2,965 ac / 1200 ha, delivering diversity for all levels of ability and adventure.

THE VILLAGE

Steamboat is not just a resort, it’s a ski town. The choice of accommodation is yours – on-mountain ski-in, ski-out at the ski resort; or downtown at Steamboat Springs. There’s an easy-to-access bus and shuttle system to jump on, back and forth between the two locations.

Steamboat Mountain Village on snow is ultra-convenient, with the resort’s infrastructure conveniently centred around the base of the Gondola.  Much of the accommodation is mid-high range condos and hotels, providing the oh-so convenient ski-in, ski-out access, planned out, in a semi-circular shape. Condos, townhomes and larger homes, stretch up either side of base are, overlooking the Yampa Valley. There are more modest and moderately priced on-snow options, but they may not be true ski-in, ski-out location.

There are enough restaurants, bars and retail services at the resort base, in and around Gondola Square & the Steamboat Promenade,  however we do recommend visitors head down to Steamboat township to truly experience western hospitality at its’ best.  Download Base area map.

 

DISTANCE
It takes approximately 10 minutes to walk (in ski boots) around the village.

OUR ADVICE
Deeply proud of its ranching roots, Steamboat is an iconic and authentic historic western experience, combined with the best of Colorado’s champagne powder snow. The resort is big in terms of personality and terrain, and yet intimate to enjoy and discover. We recommend at least 5-7 days to really immerse yourself and experience good old western hospitality at its best. See y’all there soon.  Book Now!

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WHERE TO STAY

 

We like Steamboat because of the broad variety of accommodation options to suit all budgets, available both on-mountain at the ski resort, or just a 5-10 minute drive downtown to at Steamboat Springs.  From luxury condos and hotels, to more moderate motels.   Some are ski-in, ski-out; spilling straight onto the ski runs.

To better understand the accommodation options that will work best for you, it helps to visualize the mountain village, and it’s location to Steamboat Springs. Download map.

Why leave your pets at home when you can bring them along on your Steamboat vacation? Steamboat Springs was named Dog Town USA in 2013 by Dog Fancy magazine proving there is no shortage of activities that include fun for Fido. Nothing better than seeing a pooch in powder.

Downtown – Steamboat Spring Hotel / Rabbit Ears Motel / Nordic Lodge Motel

On Mountain – Ski Trail Lodge 1 & 2 (ski-in, ski-out)

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TOP 5 REASONS TO VISIT STEAMBOAT

#1.  Steamboat is famous worldwide for its authentic western atmosphere, genuine friendliness, The American west is alive and well and living in Steamboat Springs. You’ll also find the spirit of the West in the tip of a hat.

#2.  Avoid the crowds – With 26% more trails and 10% more lifts than the average Colorado ski resort, you’ll spend less time in lift lines, and more time out on the slopes. Steamboat is one of the largest ski resorts in Colorado with 2,965 acres (1,200 ha) of terrain, 165 named trails, and 3,668 vertical feet (1,118 m)   of vertical.

#3. Sensational tree skiing – Rated the “Best Trees” by Skiing magazine, Steamboat Resort’s glades are particularly lauded thanks to the magical combination of perfectly spaced aspen trees, ideal slope angle (steep, but not too steep) and, of course, the resort’s famous and ample Champagne Powder®. This perfect blend makes for a tree-skier’s (or rider’s) paradise.

#4. The Winter Carnival – fireworks & festive parades are expected at ski resorts on a regular basis. Steamboat does is cowboy style.  Imagine, adults on shovels being pulled by horses down the snow covered Main Street of Steamboat.  Yes, that’s exactly what you will witness at this extravaganza. Take it to another level, with skiers, jumping through hoops ablaze with fire.  Held early February each year.  More details

#5. One of North America’s top family resorts, awarded Best Family Resorts over multiple years.  Steamboat is recognized as the “Premier Family Ski Resort” by Jetsetter and has ranked within the top 10 family ski resorts by Ski Magazine and Forbes Magazine 2014.

RESORT FACTS

DESIGNATED TRAILS:

   Steamboat  #Total Trails Beginner Intermediate Advanced
165+ 14%  42% 44%

Steamboat Alpine Trail Map

Annual Snowfall:

Steamboat  349 in 886 cm

TERRAIN: RESORT AREA

Steamboat 2965 ac 1200 ha

VERTICAL DROP:

3668 ft / 1118 m                    Longest Run: 3 miles / 4.8 km

Summit Elevation 10568 ft / 3224 m
Village Centre   6900 ft / 2103 m
Vertical Drop 2894 ft / 882 m

NUMBER OF LIFTS & UPHILL CAPACITY:

Sun Peaks 16 41,026 people per hour

NORDIC SKIING:

A choice of 2 Nordic centres for our cross-country enthusiasts:

The Steamboat Ski Touring Center offers 15 km of trails groomed for classic and skate skiing for novice to advanced skiers, plus 10 km of snowshoe trails. Our trails wind across meadows, into Aspen groves and along Fish Creek, offering some of the most enjoyable and accessible winter recreation in the Yampa Valley.

The Haymaker Nordic Center, 1.5 km south of Steamboat Springs has 8km of cross country ski and skate ski trails, snowshoe trails, as well as 10K of dedicated fat bike trails. Cross country ski, and snow shoe, and fat bike rentals are available onsite

NIGHT SKIING:

Yes, Steamboat Resort offers night skiing 5 nights per week across 5 trails and 1,100 vertical feet.  Ski and ride under the stars – two beginner, two intermediate and one advanced trail.

SEASON DATES & OPENING HOURS

Sun Peaks is usually open from late November to mid-April each year.

WINTER HOURS OF OPERATION: 8:30 am – 4 pm. (Night 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thu-Mon) Note: These times are provided by the ski resort and can vary based on external conditions, day of the week, school, and public holidays.

 

TERRAIN PARKS

Steamboat boasts some of the best terrain parks in Colorado. Four parks, each designed for different skill levels, feature jumps, rails, boxes, half-pipes and more for you to improve or show off your skills

LIL’ RODEO

In keeping with the authentic western theme, Lil’ Rodeo is the resort’s entry-level park, located off Christie Peak Express. Designed to build confidence for beginners to the sport, with small boxes, jumps, and a mini half-pipe, it’s sure to please. This park is the perfect playground for kids, and beginners of all ages.

RABBIT EARS

Is the next step up, for riders with a little more confidence. It’s a great all-round park for beginners to intermediates, with more than 20 assorted jumps, bonks, jibs and rails.

MAVERICKS & SUPERPIPE

This park and the superpipe are serious fun. Are you ready for the big league? Mavericks is the resorts largest terrain park, with jumps 50 – 70 ft, – this park is no joke. Check out the Bashor Pavilion for lunch, and amazing views of the largest park and pipe in the ‘Boat.

GETTING THERE


Steamboat Resort is 160 miles (276km) northwest of Denver (DEN), Colorado’s major airport hub. It’s approximately a 3 hour drive, depending on weather conditions.

The closest airport is Hayden, just 22 miles (35km) from the resort. It is also known as the Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Eagle Airport is another option, 95 miles (158km), and air gateway to Vail and Beaver Creek.

The town of Steamboat Springs lies just 3 miles (5km) from the base of Steamboat Resort.

FLY:

It is easy to access Steamboat/Hayden (HDN) from both the west and east costs of the States with non-stop daily direct flights from 12 cities, including the key hubs – Los Angeles (LAX), Denver (DEN) Chicago (ORD), Atlanta (ATL), New York (EWR), and Houston (IAH) during the winter months.

Together with their code share partners, these airlines offer straightforward connections from the USA, UK, Australia and Asia.

Airport transfers are available from both the Steamboat/Hayden Airport and Denver International Airport making travel very convenient.

DRIVE: From Denver

Steamboat Springs, Colorado is approximately 157 miles Northwest of Denver or an easy 3 hour drive. Take I 70 West through the Eisenhower Tunnel to Silverthorne, Exit 205 (67 miles). At the exit, follow  CO 9 North towards Kremmling (37 miles). In Kremmling, head West along US 40 to Steamboat Springs (53 miles).

For the latest information about road conditions, closures, travel advisories and webcams, please visit the Colorado Round Conditions.

SNOW HOW TIP: Elevate your driving skills at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, the only purpose-built, terrain-based school of its kind in the country.

Their array of winter driving programs, for all abilities, give participants hands-on training from professional coaches. And there’s no doubt it’s a blast, too. Read more on the program in this article from Forbes. America’s only Winter Driving School. High performance driving on ice. Safety and racing courses available.

GETTING AROUND STEAMBOAT & DOWNTOWN:  Getting around Steamboat is easy. You don’t need a vehicle, as the city of Steamboat Springs offers a comprehensive system of free transportation between the ski area, downtown, as well as most hotel, condominium, restaurant, grocery and entertainment locations. The ski area is located 3 miles (4.8 km) southeast of downtown Steamboat Springs.

The SST runs continuously from 7:00am until 1:45am daily, stopping at each location approximately every 20 minutes. More info….

Many local lodging properties offer private shuttle service.

TAXI: 

Local taxi service is operated by GoAlpine. The also provide ground transportation between Denver International Airport and Steamboat Springs, and Yampa Valley Regional Airport (Hayden, CO) and Steamboat Springs.

BIKES: Fat Biking is the latest craze in Steamboat, with rentals available from a couple of locations.

Kamloops is also accessible via Greyhound Bus  and Via Rail Services.

 

SNOW SCHOOL

 

We love the fact that Steamboat’s SnowSports School has more Olympians and Olympic coaches on their team, than any other resort in the USA. That’s pretty impressive – no need to feel intimidated, as these champions are dedicated to improving your skills, and having fun.  Whether you are part of a corporate group, or wanting a private lesson, the Olympian Program is ideal if you would like to ski or ride with one of Steamboat’s Olympians.

Rated as one of the best Snowsports Schools in the country, Steamboat consistently delivers a broad range of classes and clinics to suit all ages and ability levels. The kid’s centre, ensures every child is equipped with their Steamboat Mountain Watch tracking device while in the program. Safety is paramount at Steamboat.

We are impressed with Steamboat Snowsports exceptional list of specialty programs. For example, the Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports program. STARS provides adaptive ski and snowboard lessons for clients with disabilities on the mountain. STARS serves youth and adults with autism, cognitive and physical disabilities, injured Veterans and their families. Trained staff and volunteers provide personalized instruction to help each individual reach their highest potential.
Steamboat has an extensive selection of improvement lessons and programs. Here are a just a few.

Heli-cat Warm Up Camp

KIDS PROGRAMS

Since 1982, Steamboat has allowed kids 12-and-under to ski free with a paying parent or grandparent when the adults purchase a 5-day-or-more lift ticket. Kids Ski Free is available all season long

For the little ones, the Steamboat Kids Vacation Centre provides the ultimate snow playground for kids, 2.5 years and older. There’s a wonderful variety of programs, to inspire, encourage and entertain.

The Kiddie Corral Daycare is a home-away-from-home for children from 6 months to 6 years. Babysitting services are also on offer.
2016.

 

FUN FACT

Steamboat Springs is home to more Olympic skiers than any other town in North America. From veteran winter athletes like Todd Wilson, Billy Kidd, and Ray Reid, to young guns like halfpipe snowboarder Taylor Gold, this award –winning mountain is home to more Olympians than any other town. Steamboat’s record 88 Winter Olympians have represented 12 countries or territories and made more than 151 Olympic appearances at 19 Winter Games. In fact, at Steamboat Resort, you can even ski with an Olympian. Sign up for one of Billy Kidd’s (1964 Olympic Slalom medalist) 3-Day Race Camps—held on select dates throughout the winter

RENTALS

We often recommend bringing your own boots, but save the stress of travelling with your own skis and boards. At Sun Peaks you have a great choice of rental gear with more than a handful of different outfitters — providing the latest technology; the best in boot-fitters; and every conceivable accessory and gadget you may need.
From skis, snowboards, snowblades to swimsuits and goggles; from wax and scrapers; to t-shirts and boots; from jackets and pants to mugs and batteries, they have it all. Some of the stores are true ski-in, ski-out, which makes it, oh so convenient.

SNOW HOW TIP:  The Sun Peaks Grand Hotel offer ski-in, ski-out, ski valet and storage, including heated dryers for your boots.

 

RETAIL THERAPY

Sun Peaks’ village exudes a European ambience. In keeping with that atmosphere, the pedestrian snowbound village, makes for a relaxing stroll amongst the interesting variety of quaint stores, galleries, restaurants, bars and cafes.

Get your sweet fix at the Candy Vault and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, or browse the Lone Wolf Gallery for local artisan pieces. Of course, you have plenty of choice for sporting and outerwear, souvenirs, along with groceries and a liquor store.

Retail stores with apparel and equipment for skiers and snowboarders, après ski gear, gifts and  souvenirs

Equipment hire and rentals – skis, snowboards, snowshoes, Nordic gear, helmets, clothing, snow bikes

Boot fitter – expert team guarantee comfort & fit     √
Art Gallery with local artisan goods
Kids gear, candy store and souvenirs
Repairs and tuning open daily
APRÈS SKI

The intimate size of Sun Peaks Village, is no barrier to the choice of après ski dining and entertainment options around the resort.  The resort is seriously family-friendly — everything from traditional Italian Mediterranean kitchen, to sushi and a steakhouse.

Certainly the marque event on the culinary calendar is the Sun Peaks Okanagan Winter Wine Festival which spans 10 days in the latter half of January each year.

Enjoy an outdoor BBQ and watch the world go by from the comfort of a sun lounge in the main street of the village. Maybe a sleigh ride through the forest finishing in a fondue dinner appeals?

The mid-mountain Sunburst Lodge is the perfect place to refuel, with stunning sweeping views across the mountains. At Voyageur Bistro in the Village, you can savour superb Canadian game, locally themed produce and ingredients; Bison, berries, bannock and local fish are all featured on the menu; paired with award winning local Okanagan wines.

The Bluebird Market has a ready supply of all your grocery needs, prepared take-away meals, deli specialties and local produce.

THINGS TO DO

ON MOUNTAIN

Here are a few of our favourite on-mountain activities:-

Dog Sled Tours Before heading out on your exhilarating dog sled adventure at Sun Peaks, you will learn everything you need to know about dog sled tours in Canada. All sleds are guided. Guests may be given the option to drive the sled, daylight and safety permitting.
 Sun Host Mountain Tours  Sun Peaks is home to some lucky local outdoor enthusiasts, who volunteer to share their local knowledge with visitors. Join a complimentary tour, and get the low-down on the resort’s vast terrain as well as interesting facts and history about Sun Peaks. They’ll be happy to share their favourite secret stashes. Tours depart twice daily for all ability levels.
Snow Biking, Fat Biking and Segway Tours Enjoy the fast growing sport of snow bike during your next visit to Sun Peaks Resort. No experience necessary, join a tour led by experienced guides. Suitable only for guests 12 years and older due to the size of rental snow bikes available. Lift tickets are not included, guests are required to provide their own Alpine Lift Tickets valid for the day of their tour.

Explore the winter wonderland of Sun Peaks Resort, and enjoy the fresh mountain air on an eco-friendly off-road off-piste guided Segway tour or fat bike.  Fat bikes are intended for off-road cycling with wider, oversized tyres to handle the snow.  Fat Bikes are permitted on the Nordic trails that have been specially designated multi-use.

 More information regarding these and other activities, available here.

OFF MOUNTAIN

For those days when you feel like a change of pace, or perhaps you have non-skiers and riders in your group, here are a few of our favourite ideas:-

Ice Hockey Tour This is a must-do evening activity! Get up close to the action with the Kamloops Blazers, the local Western Hockey League team. The resort organizes everything — game day tickets, and transportation to the indoor ice rink in Kamloops. The arrangements allow time for you to arrive at the arena an hour before the puck drops, so you can dine at one of the many downtown Kamloops restaurants.  These games sell out, book early.

SNOW HOW TIP:  Locals always call it “hockey” never “ice hockey”.

Guided Ice Fishing Tours Your local guide is certain to deliver a uniquely Canadian experience on one of the many frozen mountain lakes surrounding Sun Peaks. Everything from pick-up to drop-off is included — door to door transportation to and from the lake; a heated ice fishing tent; a hot beverage and all the fishing gear you need. The most valuable part is the knowledge of an experienced guide, making it easy for anyone to learn as they go, with absolutely no experience required. With a little luck and a little skill, you may well catch your dinner.
More information regarding these and other activities, available here.
Q & A

Can I buy groceries?

Yes, there is quite a large grocery store at Sun Peaks called the Bluebird Market.

I’ve heard Sun Peaks is a wedding destination. Please tell me more?

Sun Peaks’ snow-covered majestic mountains will provide the perfect backdrop for your special day. Create a celebration that captures the ideal blend of nature, romance and sophistication.

Magical memories are made at the snow covered, mid-mountain, Sun Peaks Chapel, the perfect wedding venue. Photo Sun Peaks
Magical memories are made at the snow covered, mid-mountain, Sun Peaks Chapel, the perfect wedding venue. Photo Sun Peaks

Exchange your vows high in the hills at the resort’s mid-mountain chapel; or on the mountainside with the snow beneath your feet; or at one of the European inspired hotels or lodges.  It’s all about the two of you, so choose a venue that is the essence of you. Wedding planners are available in-resort.

What is the average temperature?

December to February:  Low: -12°C / 11°F   High: -5°C / 23°F
March to May:                  Low: -8°C / 19°F     High: 5°C / 42°F

 

AWARDS & ACCOLADES

Sun Peaks Resort has achieved an array of well-deserved accolades. Here are a few that affirm this resort is such a favourite for guests from all corners of the world.

Top Three North American Ski Resorts by Net Promoter Score
– Presented by The Ski Club of Great Britain, 2016

Best Village Location and Atmosphere, #1
– Presented by Holidays with Kids, 2016

Best for Beginners, #3 and Best Kids’ Ski School, #3
– Presented by Holidays with Kids, 2016
Top Ten Family Ski Resorts in North America, #8
– Presented by Condé Nast Traveler 2014

Best Overall Resort, #2
– Presented by Editors’ Choice Awards, SBC Resort Guide, 2013

Top 2 Ski Destinations in Canada
– Presented by Canadian Living Reader Poll, 2013

2nd Best Ski Resort in Canada (13th in North America)
– Presented by Condé Nast Traveler Reader Poll, 2010

Winter Festival of Wine Awarded #1 Winter Day Trip in British Columbia
– Presented by Westworld Travel and Active Living Magazine, 2010

Top 20 Ski Resort in North America, 3rd in Canada
– Presented by Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Poll, 2009

Best Race Training Centre
– Presented by Ski Canada Magazine, 2009

Best Kids’ Terrain Park
– Presented by Ski Canada Magazine, 2009

Best Ski-in/Ski-out Village
– Presented by Ski Canada Magazine, 2009

BC Hydro Power Smart Excellence Award for Outstanding Energy Efficiency Project
– Presented by BC Hydro, 2007

National Winner of the Industry Recognition and Excellence Award
– Presented by the Canadian Ski Council, 2007

#1 Resort in Western Canada for Best Weather
– Presented by Ski Canada Magazine, 2007

Environmentally Responsible Tourism Award
– Presented by Tourism BC, 2006