Steamboat is a skier’s dream |

Steamboat is a skier’s dream

Susan Cunningham

— Steamboat Springs is known for its champagne powder, a term that was coined before the ski resort even began.

As legend has it, a rancher gave the snow its name, said Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Now, skiers and boarders from across the country come to the resort, hoping to catch a powder day.

“One of the things that makes Steamboat very unique is the snow we get,” Wirth said. “It’s actually a skier’s dream.”

Combine the powder with Steamboat’s famous tree skiing, and skiers and boarders find themselves riding down some of the best runs on the continent.

“You catch the trees on a powder day, there’s nothing else like it in North America,” Wirth said.

The resort has 2,939 acres of groomed runs, all open to skiers and snowboarders of varying ages and abilities.

There are 142 named trails for more than 65 miles of fun, and almost 3,700 vertical feet. More than half of the trails are considered best for intermediate skiers, and about a third are at an advanced level, making the entire resort a good spot for families, people new to the sport and professional skiers.

A full day of skiing and riding is best topped off with some on-mountain dining and a stop at the retail outlets.

Steamboat lifts open between 8:30 and 9 a.m., with the gondola taking its first passengers at 8:30 a.m. Many lifts stop service at 3:30 p.m.

Trails and lifts reflect the timelessness of Steamboat’s Western tradition, famous Olympians and founding families.

Buddy’s Run was named for Steamboat Olympian Buddy Werner, who was killed in an avalanche in Switzerland in 1964. Pioneer Ridge trails pay tribute to early settlers and resort pioneers with such runs as Fetcher Glade, Perry Park and Nash Junction.

The Olympic and ranching heritage combine to give the town a unique, authentic feel.

“There’s no other mountain resort community in North America that comes close to Steamboat Springs. … It’s a real community and a real town,” Wirth said.

“What separates us from the rest of the pack is the general friendliness that people run into whether they’re in town shopping or up on the mountain skiing.”

The ski area consists of Sunshine Peak, Storm Peak, Thunderhead Peak, Christie Peak and Mount Werner, which, at 10,568 feet, rises above the other peaks.

The main ticket office is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Late ticket arrivals start at noon and late, late arrival tickets start at 2:15 p.m.

Ski season begins on Nov. 26.

Each year, the resort gets an average of 337 inches of snow. Longtime locals know that since the resort opened 41 years ago, changes in the area have not touched the resort’s legendary “champagne powder.”

Special events include the fifth annual Steamboat Musicfest Jan. 4 to 9, when Texas and Americana music comes to the Rockies for a week of sport and song, as well as the 30th annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill on Jan. 20, when rodeo cowboys compete in a ski rodeo.

Vacationers can get the most bang for their buck with vacation packages through the resort that offer discounts on lift tickets and lodging. Opportunities to save up to 45 percent on lodging are available.

The Mavericks Superpipe was added to the ski resort two years ago. At 650 feet long, the superpipe is the longest in North America with a 75-foot quarterpipe kicker at the end.

Skiers and boarders can find Mavericks in Bashor Terrain Park, where a myriad of hips, tables, rails, mailboxes and a miniature version of the superpipe, promises plenty of action. The outdoor sound system gives skiers and boarders the chance to do their tricks to popular songs.

Any questions about the ski resort can be answered at the Information Center in the heart of Gondola Square or by calling 970-871-5444. Snow reports are available at 970-879-7300 and

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