Yampatika Winter programs offer guided snowshoe and ski tours | SteamboatToday.com

Yampatika Winter programs offer guided snowshoe and ski tours

A free and popular Yampatika Snowshoe Tour takes place at the Uranium Mine Trail every Friday.
Yampatika/Courtesy photo

Yampatika Winter programs are here, trekking in guided snowshoe and ski tours.

Over the past week with the arrival of snow in the Yampa Valley, Yampatika has begun all of its winter programming. Yampatika is a nonprofit that promotes outdoor and environmental education through camps and year-round programming.

The winter programs are in full swing and filling up quickly. Two classic mainstays of the schedule are the Uranium Mine and Howelsen Hill tours.

The Uranium Mine tours start at the Fish Creek Falls trailhead. They run every Friday from now until March 11, beginning at 10 a.m. Registration is required and costs $20, which includes a snowshoe rental.

At a cost of $25, the Howelsen snowshoe tour is also extremely popular, and interested parties should register early. The tour begins at 10 a.m. every Saturday through March 12 and takes participants above the oldest continuously operating ski area in North America. Weather permitting, the hike features a ride on the chairlift.

Also back is Ski with a Naturalist, a free, walk-in program at Steamboat Resort. The tour takes place every Tuesday and Thursday through March 10, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the top of the gondola.

It’s generally a quieter program, which is why Lexi Stine, director of Adult Programs at Yampatika, enjoys it so much. The tour travels down “Why Not,” a green trail that winds down the mountain past old bear dens and claw marks.

“I love Ski with a Naturalist,” Stine said. “It’s a great time of day to take a break. It’s 1:30 p.m. in the day; you’ve been skiing all morning. … It’s just a really fun program. It’s usually a little more quiet, which is kind of nice because you get this one-on-one experience with a naturalist.”

New to the program in the 2021-22 season is the Mountain Side Snowshoe Tour at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center.

The two-hour tour utilizes the trails at the touring center not far from downtown. This would be a great option for beginners or those coming from lower elevations.

Uranium Mine: $5 fee; Fish Creek Falls Trailhead

Buffalo Pass: Free; Dry Lake Campground area, 6 miles northeast of downtown Steamboat Springs

Emerald Mountain/Howelsen Hill: Pass required if on Nordic trails; downtown

Haymaker Nordic Center: Pass required; offers rentals; 5 miles south of downtown Steamboat Springs

Rabbit Ears Pass: Free; 15 miles east of Steamboat Springs

Prospector Trail/Trilby Flats: Free; 30 miles north of Steamboat Springs

Sarvis Creek/Routt County Road 18: Free; 10 miles south of downtown Steamboat Springs

The Steamboat Ski Touring Center offers snowshoe rentals, which can be used on-site or anywhere in the valley.

Another kid-friendly and beginner-friendly option is the Winter Wander, Discover Snowshoeing tour based at the Yampatika Legacy Ranch. There’s no elevation gain, but there are sweeping views of the valleys. It’s open every Saturday until March 12.

Winter Recreation in the Yampa Valley

Programs fill up, but Stine always suggests people add themselves to the waitlist since cancellations are common. For private tours or information on any winter program, Yampatika.org/winter-programs.

Additionally, there are less-frequent special programs, including moonlight snowshoe tours, snowshoe through history and winter landscape photography tours.

Justin Dillie, owner of Love Climbing Adventures, leads Emily and Devin Sandlin on a climbing excursion at Fish Creek Falls early Thursday morning.

Love Climbing Adventures also offers snowshoeing and skiing tours, as well as ice climbing tours, guiding newbies and seasoned climbers up Fish Creek Falls. Availability and booking can be found at SteamboatClimbing.com.

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