Our family has visited Steamboat Springs the last several years for our annual family ski trip. It has become a family favorite for us and we just keep wanting to coming back. Steamboat Springs, also known as Ski Town USA, is famous for its' champagne powder and being home to the oldest running ski resort in Colorado, Howelsen Hill. Our family loves visiting this true Colorado ski town located 3 hours from Denver, and here is why we think you should choose Steamboat as your next ski trip destination.
You can visit Steamboat via Denver International Airport (DEN) or Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN). Yampa Valley Airport is Steamboat Springs local airport and is perfect for visitors wanting to avoid the 3 hour drive from Denver. Many major cities around the United States offer direct flights on major airlines such as United, American Airlines, Jet Blue, and Southwest to Yampa Valley Airport. If you choose to fly into Hayden you do not need a car! You can schedule a shuttle transport to your destination in Steamboat. Almost anywhere you are staying in Steamboat you can easily catch a shuttle and take it to the grocery store, downtown, or even to the base of the mountain. Due to flight costs we personally have always rented a car and driven from Denver. The ease of having a car with kids in tow is great but it is not a necessity when visiting Steamboat.
If you are traveling from Denver make sure you rent a car with four-wheel drive.
One plus side of Steamboat being a three hour drive from Denver is that it is not overwhelmingly crowded during the holiday season. Steamboat is known to be one of the most reliable for its early season conditions making it a great location to choose around Christmas and New Years. If your family is like ours that is your main skiing week of the year!
Fresh powder and fewer crowds than you would see at another resort in closer proximity to Denver is a win win!
Like all ski towns, there are several ski rental shops located around Steamboat. If you are looking to rent skis our go to place is Fleischer Sports. Fleischer Sports is conveniently located at the gondola base. As you walk into the store you are greeted by friendly staff quite possibly offering you a drink from their in store bar. This laid back and fun store is filled with lively music and knowledgable staff eager to help make your experience there truly great. Ski rentals through Fleischer come with overnight storage as well as boot storage while you are on the slopes, no need to hunt for an additional locker!
Once you have your skis it is time to hit the slopes. Haven't skied before? Have no fear, Steamboat Ski School is top notch. Our oldest has loved attending their ski school year after year! It is hard to believe that our once beginner skier is now skiing blacks without hesitation. All the credit goes to the top notch instructors who keep the kids engaged and instilling a love of skiing at an early age. A full day of ski school would not be complete without a hearty lunch in one of the restaurants on the mountain and a hot chocolate refuel after a full day on the slopes. You know your child has had an excellent day when you pick them up with a hot chocolate mustache and a smile from ear to ear! Ski and snowboard lessons are available for children ages 5 and up. For the non experienced adult skier they offer adult lessons as well.
If you have children are not old enough for ski school they offer childcare at Happy Camp. Happy Camp is open for children ages 12 months - 4 years. Reservations are required and do fill up around the holidays! I advise booking well in advance. Our youngest has loved Happy Camp over the years. As a Happy Camper you get to play indoor games and activities as well as take wagon rides in one of Steamboats' signature wagons.
Apres ski anyone? After a long day on the slopes we love to stop at either Timber and Torch or Wild Plum and grab an adult beverage or hot chocolate! On a night you do not want to cook visit Timber and Torch, Apres Burger Bistro, or at The Cabin for a delicious meal. All restaurants are family friendly and may even have live music entertainment. Reservations in advance are highly recommended!
On a day you have free time be sure to visit downtown! To get a true feel for Steamboat and its history take a walk downtown. Situated on the Yampa River, the quaint downtown is filled with local gift and art shops, restaurants, and breweries.
Whether you are looking for the perfect Steamboat t-shirt or a beautiful piece of artwork there is something for everyone. Ohana is my new favorite store in downtown Steamboat. It features unique books, clothing, and other items designed in Colorado with inspiration from the great outdoors.
Grab a bite to eat while you are downtown or something to go for dinner at one of our favorite spots:
Taco Cabo - We found this spot past when we hunkered down during a snow squall. We couldn't have found a better place to have a margarita, play some games, and watch the snow fall!
Take a step back in time when visiting Old Town Pub. What is now Old Town Pub was once the towns first hospital, a general store, and even a movie theater! Come in for lunch, dinner, or just a drink. This casual restaurant serves classic pub fare but is a local favorite!
Clyde's Pies features some of the best wood-fired pizza I have ever tasted! We love ordering from here for an easy dinner after a day wandering around downtown or a day of skiing. Their Basil Pesto and Sausage pies are our go to's, but I do not think you can go wrong with anything you order.
Steamboat is a not to be missed ski town. If you have not discovered Steamboat I highly recommend you do on your next ski trip!