Adventures await you in Colorado in wintertime. Of that you can be sure! A recent ski trip with my Cincinnati Ski Club delivered many memorable moments; beautiful vistas, challenging ski runs, awesome meals, and comfortable, convenient accommodations. Read on for details that will help you plan your own ski vacation. As always, I would be pleased to help you.
Steamboat Springs Ski Resort is famous for its champagne powder days and tree skiing. I think I made more tracks in the trees than I ever have before! It would have been great to explore the mountain further, but on my third day I went down in a knee-twisting fall, ending my opportunity to discover more runs to challenge me. It happens (ski injuries), although it was the first knee injury in my long history of athletics. Regardless, it was a wonderful week spent with good friends.
Our lodging at Canyon Creek was both convenient to the base and reasonably priced. The beds were a little soft for my taste, but our 3-bedroom condo was well-equipped. (They offer 2,3 and 4-bedroom units) Note: this property does not provide housekeeping during the week, but they do have a washer and dryer, so bring your own soap if you like fluffy, fresh towels.
There’s a heated pool and a nice hot tub for après ski, coffee in the lobby, and we loved the convenience of the Resort Lodging Company‘s free shuttle service. Give them a call, and in a few minutes, they appear with their large and comfy van. Gratuities are at your discretion, and they run their routes from 8am to 10:45pm. It was a great way to transfer not only to the gondola if you didn’t want to do the short walk or were carrying your skis, but also to downtown for shopping, dining and evening entertainment.
Should you be interested in visiting a cannabis dispensary for medicinal or recreational goodies, have them drop you at Dude and Dan’s sports bar (GREAT burger and fries at happy hour for $10!), then take a free public bus from there down a few blocks to Golden Leaf. The knowledgeable “bud tenders” will assist you in choosing flower, edibles, oils or salves to help you ease the aches and pains acquired during your quest to tame the mountain. Enough said! There are three dispensaries, all on the same stretch of road.
The club gave us three suggestions. I chose Steamboat Ski and Bike Kare. The mountain store is steps from the gondola, and they include storage overnight. Your boots are warmed for you in the morning. The staff, especially Taj (hope that spelling is correct), is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. I have never had such stellar treatment at a ski shop before. It might have mattered to them that I bought the most expensive demo package, but all of my friends who used them were equally impressed. I recommend the best package so you can try different skis for different conditions. And when I was hurt and couldn’t finish, they credited me for the two days of my five-day rental that I was unable to use. No questions asked, and sympathies were expressed.
Note if you are in a group: They will discount 30% for your rentals, and offer 50% off for “bring your own” storage. The racks are kept right outside and locked up at night. It’s brilliant to not lug those skis back and forth from the condo, or to wear your boots to and from.
Ambassador Tours are offered for intermediate and above every day at 10:30am. Meet the bright yellow jacket at the top of Vagabond trail.
Steamboat Mountain Masters are for 50+ who enjoy cruising together on blue or black trails. It’s free and is led by local guides. Reservations are required and meet at the top of the gondola at 9am.
Snowshoe Tours will get you to areas even the best skiers cannot access.
Cross Country Skiing is wonderful! There are several options for skate and Nordic in the area.
Fat Biking You will enjoy a tour across a scenic course around the resort and county.
And don’t forget the snow machines are for rent!
I tend to the simple food while traveling, and we had great luck with a grocery store called City Market. Since we stopped here with the shuttle in from the airport (only about 30 minutes from Hayden), the store offered reasonable prices on the Kroger brands we are used to here in Cincinnati. This allowed me to eat in for breakfast every day and make sandwiches for lunches on the slopes. And right next door is the liquor store! Bonus.
I already mentioned the great burgers at Dude and Dan’s. The downtown Italian restaurant Mazzola’s pleased everyone in our group. If you eat meat, I highly recommend the meatball appetizer. I was able to get two meals out of it. Deliciousness!
At Mai Thai I ordered a vegan curry dish that was incredible. You will certainly find something you love here.
For a complete list of Steamboat resort dining, check out this link.
We enjoyed gallery hopping one afternoon. Tucked among the typical souvenir and clothing stores, you will find amazing art stores. There are some very talented photographers and painters who hail from this area. Perhaps the most famous gallery is Mangelsen. We also loved the Art Museum.
If you haven’t totally worn yourself out on the mountain, you’ll find some quaint bars with good entertainment. We had the pleasure of hearing a duo at Dude and Dan’s on Saturday night, and on Friday we listened to a talented up-and-coming singer-songwriter at a bar called The Press. Check out who’s playing while you are there.
Be sure to check out Strawberry Hot Springs, a wonderful après ski spa experience. You will want to book in advance with a tour company unless you have a car rental, as it is located quite a bit outside of town, but we truly enjoyed this experience. Be aware that after dark you may see a full moon (or three). Fair warning!
Steamboat is a real town, unlike many ski resorts in Colorado. That may be a huge reason I loved this trip. The last time I was here was in the 80s with my young kids. It has changed a lot since those times and yet, perhaps because of the longer distance from Denver, it remains very authentic and a place that this aging nature lover could call home very easily. I hope you enjoy it as well!