There is truly no “off season” in Steamboat Springs, as summer means hiking, biking and kayaking, and in the winter, it’s time for snow sports. And the winter sports are superior here, mostly due to the famous Champagne Powder® that covers Steamboat Ski Resort. Named for its light, dry quality, the powder provides the ideal conditions for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and much more. In fact, there are a few winter activities on here that might surprise you — like ice fishing and helicopter tours.
Use our guide for an adrenaline-pumping experience in Steamboat Springs this winter!
Steamboat Springs is home to one of the best and largest ski resorts in the state, Steamboat Ski Resort, which is home to more Olympians than any other ski resort. But it is also one of the most family-friendly ski resorts in Colorado, offering more than 4.6 square miles of skiable terrain, 169 named trails, and 18 lifts. That means there is something for every type of skier and snowboarder, including easy learning trails, rollers, moguls, steeps, cliffs, fast groomers, chutes, terrain parks and more.
Plus, Ski & Resort Corp. recently announced plans to expand the ski area by 355 acres, install a second gondola, and a new base that will include shopping, dining, and improved navigation — all part of a plan that would make Steamboat one of North America’s largest ski resorts.
In addition to the ski resort, there’s also Howelsen Hill, which is the oldest continuously operated ski area in Colorado. Conveniently located in downtown Steamboat, Howelsen Hill offers free skiing every Sunday all season long, which typically extends from late November through late March!
Don’t worry — your favorite summertime activity is possible all year round in Steamboat, as long as you have the right equipment! That’s right. You can go biking through the snow at Lake Catamount, Stagecoach State Park, Howelsen Hill, and many other areas, as long as you have a fat bike to maneuver the slippery, snowy terrain. And if you don’t have one, no problem! You can rent fat tire bikes at Ski Haus in downtown Steamboat — plus several other bike shops in the area. Click here for more details about fat biking in Routt County, including best practices, where you can go, where to rent bikes, and more.
Embark on an exhilarating adventure by dog sledding throughout scenic backcountry trails in Steamboat. There are two dog sledding companies in the area, each offering different — but equally amazing — experiences for riders. Grizzle-T offers half-day adventures along a scenic 12.5-mile backcountry trail, where you can learn how to “mush your own team” of Alaskan huskies. And Snow Buddy offers two options: the opportunity to drive your own team or a fully guided experience, if you’d rather let someone else take the reins. You’ll travel through Dunckley Pass in the Little Flat Tops, deep in the Routt National Forest!
Fly fishing the Yampa River is a favorite pastime amongst locals and visitors alike. And you don’t have to store your fishing poles for the winter! Take in the serene winter landscape by going ice fishing at one of the many state parks in the area, including Stagecoach State Park, Pearl Lake State Park, and Steamboat Lake State Park.
There’s nothing more quintessential than ice skating in the winter! And there are plenty of opportunities to do so in Steamboat Springs, including both indoors and outdoors. Head to the Howelsen Hill Ice Complex, an Olympic-size indoor rink that hosts figure skating to hockey leagues, broomball to bumper cars, birthday parties to hockey tournaments, private rentals to public skating, and more! And during the winter, the volleyball courts at Howelsen Hill are converted into two outdoor community ice rinks, where you can skate for free all season long! The city will install a complete rink system, including liners, brackets, sideboards, and other accessories.
Saddle up for a 1.5-2 hour horseback ride over the hills and through the trees of snowy Saddleback Ranch! Along the way, you’ll gaze at the Flattops, Sleeping Giant, and Mt. Werner, and after the ride, you’ll warm up with a cup of hot chocolate and a freshly baked cookie. The ranch offers winter horseback rides every day except Sunday; check the calendar for availability!
This one might not have been on your Steamboat Winter Sports BINGO card! But we can’t think of a better vantage point for viewing the spectacular winter scenery in Steamboat than up in the clouds. Take your adventure to new heights by going on a hot air balloon ride with Wild West Balloon Adventures, which takes you over the Steamboat area, the Flat Top Mountains, and an inactive volcano to the north called Hahn’s Peak. Keep in mind that all flights are weather permitting and you will not be able to fly in windy, rainy or snowy conditions. And if you’d like to take a speedier aerial tour of the area, opt for a scenic helicopter ride with Zephyr Helicopter Company, which offers scenic tours of the Steamboat area year-round.
As the name implies, Steamboat Springs is a mecca for hot springs. After all this activity, you can take a dip in these relaxing, natural springs, either right in the heart of town or a bit off the beaten path. Old Town Hot Springs is a historic, family-friendly recreation facility in downtown Steamboat with several outdoor soaking pools — plus water slides and a lap pool. And Strawberry Park Hot Springs are all-natural, spring-fed pools on the edge of the Yampa Valley that provide a more rustic, natural feel.
Also known as cross-country skiing, Nordic skiing is an excellent way to sightsee in the winter, while getting an incredible workout in the process. And you can get the whole family involved with a snowshoeing adventure! For either sport, head to the Haymaker Nordic Center, which has rentals, guided tours, and snowshoe and cross-country trails ranging from beginner to advanced. And once you’re done exploring, warm up inside with some hot food and drinks!
If you’re looking for a more relaxing adventure through the stunning scenery of Steamboat, look no further than a sleigh ride. The Haymaker Sleigh Ride Dinner will take you on a peaceful 25-minute sleigh ride through the snow to reach your Colorado-inspired four-course meal. Before the ride, enjoy specialty drinks and appetizers and once you return, enjoy a distinctive menu of either Colorado lamb, prime filet, free-range chicken or fresh seafood, followed by housemade desserts and hot coffee. The sleigh ride dinners are offered every Wednesday through Sunday evening from mid-December through March!
Get your adrenaline pumping by exploring the backcountry by snowmobile. Don’t have your own? Don’t worry — most people don’t, and there are several rental companies in the area, including Thunderstruck Adventures, Saddleback Ranch, and Steamboat Snowmobile Tours. Each company provides a different experience and level of autonomy, with options for every skill level.
Snow tubing is one of the most exhilarating experiences for all ages. And the best place in Steamboat for tubing is at Saddleback Ranch’s Yee-Haw Hill, which features a state-of-the-art tube-tow lift system that transports you to the top after your ride. From there, you’ll speed down the hill on a large inner tube provided by the ranch. Between rides, you can warm up in the Longhorn Warming Lodge and grab a bite to eat or a warm drink from the concession stand. The tubing hill is open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from mid-December through late March.
What winter sport are you excited to try in Steamboat? Tell us in the comments below!