After spending 3 days in Steamboat Springs last weekend, I was reminded of all the reasons I love that place. At about 6,500 feet, it’s much lower than where I live and seems to always be much warmer. There’s lots of good food (including my all-time favorite pizza place, Beau Jo’s), a cute downtown, two hot springs, a great river, a ski resort, and the oldest operating ski hill in the country. Here are my 3 favorite things about Steamboat.
Steamboat Springs Ski Resort
This was my second winter snowboarding at Steamboat, and both were incredible. I might just hit this mountain on good powder weekends, or maybe it dumps perfect fluff 6 months a year there…I don’t know. But I’ve definitely experienced some good snow on this mountain. Steamboat is known for its super-light champagne powder, and when you glide through that stuff it feels like floating. This year, we hit the chutes of Steamboat and were greeted with thigh-deep powder and self-inflicted white outs. At one point I had a powder mustache from all the snow flying back off the front of my powder. Sidenote: As a snowboarder, I feel obligated to tell you that areas of Steamboat’s chutes will lead you straight into miserable catwalks that seem to go on for miles. Yes, I bitched about this part. To avoid this, stay high and to the left at the top of Morningside lift. Other than the powder, the thing that really makes Steamboat mountain unique in my mind is the aspen trees. I’ve never been to another resort that boast aspen groves all over their runs. Riding or skiing through these glorious forests is mystical; the white snow and the white tree trunks blend together and suddenly you think you’ve just died and gone to heaven.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Summer, Fall, Spring, or Winter. Take your pick of season, and let Strawberry Hot Springs do the rest. This hot springs maintains a natural feel, with gravel-bottomed pools set into an aspen-crowded hillside. Right on the banks of Strawberry Creek, the pools range in temperature. The hottest is at the top and the coolest is closest to the stream. You can visit for $10 a day or stay overnight in a campsite, covered wagon, or train caboose. This is a family-friendly spot in daylight hours, but clothing is optional after dark.
Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory
You’ll definitely feel like a kid in a candy store when you walk into Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory in downtown Steamboat. Colorful bins of jelly beans, chocolates, and seasonal treats greet you here, along with countless bins full of the most unique gummy candy varieties I’ve every come across. Try grapefruit slices, gummy teeth, or giant gummy bears. A visit to this candy store has become a Steamboat winter tradition for us.