Steamboat ski resort
Steamboat Springs is an atmospheric cowboy town that plays on its Wild West heritage to bolster its year-round tourist appeal. It is filled with themed shops, hefty steakhouses and good ol' drinking saloons, including some that have been trading since the 19th-century days of Stetson hats and cattle lassoing.
Its reputation for abundant, fluffy light powder snow and tendency for producing more US Olympic skiers than any other resort has also birthed its marketing slogan: 'Ski Town USA'.
Despites its encouraged affiliation with the Old West, the ski resort is a thoroughly modern affair, with high-speed chairlifts whisking skiers up to its prime terrain overlooking the rolling Yampa Valley. The expansion within the resort base has been so rapid in fact that it has grown into one of America's larger ski centres with a vibrant community of its own, compromising of an ever-improving collection of shops, restaurants and slope-side lodging.
Throw into the mix Steamboat's varied terrain, offering numerous runs for all ability levels, and the unconventional allure of night skiing, and it's understandable why some call Steamboat Springs the hog-killin'-est ski resort this side of the Mississippi, partner.
Steamboat is located to the northwest of Denver in the state of Colorado in the USA. The resort is within the Rocky Mountains range.
SteamboatResort Elevation: 2103m
Top Elevation: 3224m
Base Elevation: 2103m
On the slopes
Steamboat has excellent terrain for all ability levels, from easy slopes for beginners and cruising pistes for intermediates, to double black diamond chutes for experts.
The runs are well linked, thanks to the modern lift system dominated by high-speed chairs and the gondola that departs from the village at the base of the slopes.
Advanced skiers will love the challenge of heading downhill amongst the trees (for which Steamboat is famous), especially when there's deep 'champagne powder'. In fact, skiers can spend all day hardly touching a groomed piste. The toughest runs are from the top of Morningside Park, which has a choice of black and double black diamond chutes and bowls.
Intermediates can flash around on the easier Sunshine Peak runs or the moderately challenging Morningside Park pistes. Many of the 'advanced runs' here are also suitable for confident intermediates. Beginners, meanwhile, are well served by the nursery slopes at the base.The ski school here is highly rated too as it includes the services of former Olympic silver medallist Billy Kidd. Intermediate and expert skiers can venture out with Billy on three-day race camps or join him for a free clinic at 1300 on days he skis. In addition, skiers that enjoy the moguls can join Olympic medalist Nelson Carmichael at 1300 on select Sundays for free tips down the black diamond run that bears his name, Nelson's Run.
Unusually for a resort in the Western USA, Steamboat also offers night skiing, and the season typically runs from late November until mid-April.