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Steamboat Ski Resort Profile
Summary: Nestled off the beaten Colorado path, a four-hour drive from Denver and far enough off the I-70 corridor to eliminate most weekend day-trippers, Steamboat Springs is a great family ski destination.

Steamboat has a look and feel different than many of the resorts to its east, such as Winter Park, Vail, or Copper. First, Steamboat is an authentic ski town, complete with main street, locals whose livings are not tied to skiing, and year-round activities catering to the community. Second, Steamboat lies at the north end of the Gore Mountain Range, giving it a unique landscape from those resorts along the I-70 corridor. As a result, it is a lower-elevation resort with trademark "champagne snow". Third, because of its distance from the major metro of Denver, more of the ski traffic is made up of those who are visiting for several days or locals, unlike the other resorts which can have spikes in day-skiers on weekends or holidays.

Skiing Steamboat offers ample terrain for all skill levels, including plenty of beginner runs for kids or those just learning to ski. For intermediates and more experienced skiers, the place to be is

The layout of the Steamboat area includes two focal points. Instead of the ski mountain dominating the resort, Steamboat Springs has a real, historic downtown with the mountain being on the edge of town. Transportation from the downtown area to the ski mountain is provided by free shuttles and takes about 5 minutes. While downtown is great for dining and shopping, the majority of lodging will be found in the mountain village area. Within a 5-10 minute walk of the lifts, there are choices of hotels and condos available for visitors, including ski-in, ski-out accommodations.

Because of its authentic town feel, skiers at Steamboat have many dining options to suit different tastes. The ski village area has more traditional resort fare, with a choice of pizza, burgers, or other comfort food that you would expect to find at a busy resort. One notable restaurant in this area is La Montana, a Mexican-Spanish establishment about a block away from the ski village which is known for excellent dishes and a slightly more upscale atmosphere. In town, a 5-minute ride away, diners have plenty of options ranging from casual to formal. One of our favorites is the Steamboat Smokehouse, a western bbq restaurant offering excellent entrees and a nice beer list in a casual setting.

The layout of Steamboat's mountain makes for great family skiing. Unlike some resorts where skiing into the wrong area can take you to a series of remote lifts far from other members of your party, Steamboat has much more of an "all roads lead to the bottom" feel. A gondola can get you out of the base area quickly, taking you half way up the mountain in nine minutes. From there, you can either ski some easy terrain back down or catch the Storm Peak (to the left) or Sun (express) high speed quads to make your way further up to intermediate or advanced skiing. Way off to the left is the Pony Express, a high speed quad servicing some fund advanced-intermediate runs and usually an area with fewer skiers.

Steamboat has a well-regarded ski school curriculum and staff to make ski lessons productive and enjoyable. Based on the number of kids and adults joining the instructors for lessons each day, Steamboat has one of the more active ski school programs that we've seen.

On anyone's list of top family ski resorts, you'll find Steamboat Springs, and we're no exception. The combination of varied terrain, great family programs, and a fun ski town make Steamboat a top choice for families (or otherwise) looking to plan a memorable ski vacation.

Lodging Choices: Wide range of lodging choices, ranging from budget to luxury. Plenty of ski-in, ski-out accommodations, in addition to hundreds of units available in condos and townhomes within a 10 minute walk of the slope.

Terrain / Highest Elevation / Vertical Drop: 2,965 acres / 10,500 feet / 3,700 feet

Activities for Non-Skiers: Steamboat Springs is a real town – complete with a main street, shops, and restaurants. There is an ice arena, hot springs, and several other activities which don’t require one to hit the slopes.

Ski School: Many group options available for ages 2-6. Prices range from $110 / day to $500 / week. 2 and 3 year olds have the option of a combo ski school & daycare program. Individual lessons also available.

Day Care: Half and full day care available for infants through Kindergarten age. Prices range from $78 - $104 depending on duration and time of year. Steamboat has done a good job of holding their prices steady in recent years.

Getting there: The Hayden / Yampa Valley airport is 22 miles, or about 35 minutes, from Steamboat Springs. Airport code is HDN. Direct jet flights from Minneapolis, Chicago, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Denver, and Salt Lake City

Insider Tip: Consider renting a car in Steamboat. While Steamboat has one of the better intra-city shuttle services we've seen, the prices that taxi's and shuttles charge to get to/from the airport is sky-high (or at least was 2 years ago during our last visit)