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If it were easy to get to, everyone would be there…

Kathi and I have gone out west for a ski trip almost every year for the last 15. We ended up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado back in 2010 and I honestly can’t remember why we chose it the first time*. But it ended up being the first destination we returned to the following year, and since then we’ve been back for two more trips.

*Note: Our friend Merideth reminded us that she was the one who recommended Steamboat. Her uncle had been here and recommended it. So we owe Merideth and her uncle a debt of gratitude!

We definitely love the mountain and that’s a clear reason we kept going back. It’s BIG in terms of skiable acreage and yet has a beautiful flow that makes it easy to traverse the entire mountain (not all mountain resorts are like this we’ve discovered).

As important as it is, we’re obviously looking for more than just skiable terrain in a place to live…

 

Quaint, Quiet, and Skijoring?

Some might call Steamboat quaint compared to some other resorts like Vail and Breckenridge which welcome nearly 2x the visitors every year. Because Steamboat is a 3-hour drive from Denver, fewer weekenders make the trek to Steamboat and instead visit the closer resorts.

The smaller crowds give Steamboat more of a local ambiance and less touristy feel overall. It also makes the lift lines shorter, parking easier, people friendlier, and all the other pleasant things that generally go along with less crowded places!

Basically, Steamboat fits the bill for the slower pace we’re aiming for which is one of the main reasons why we’re going in the first place.

Denver Steamboat Springs route

Steamboat Springs is also known for its western vibe. You’ll see cowboy hats and a winter festival with Skijoring (how bad do you want to click that link?). These oddities to us midwestern suburbanites were not at the top of our list of reasons to live there, but they definitely add to the overall appeal and character of the town.

Here are a few other highlights explaining why we chose Steamboat Springs:

  • The town of Steamboat Springs is in a valley so the base elevation is much lower than the bases of other popular resort areas. That means less of all the bad stuff that comes with high altitude. Very practical, I know. But the high elevation can be a deal breaker for many people so it shouldn’t be overlooked.
  • Similar to the appeal of many resort towns, Steamboat Springs has a downtown area full of shops and restaurants with small-town character (one is on our top 10 list for restaurants).
  • In smaller rural towns near ski areas, you can’t always expect stellar school systems. Even though Steamboat Springs is under 13,000 people, its school district has high ratings and a solid reputation – a key factor for us since we’ll have a 1st grader in the family. Not to worry boys and girls – there are extra winter breaks and lots of snow days!

Enough trying to explain it – check out this video of Steamboat in the warm season and you’ll get the idea.

See it for yourself – Come and visit!

We’re hoping to have a lot of visitors while we’re in Steamboat so if you’re reading this (and are Facebook friends at minimum!), you’re invited! Come for rest, come for fun, come for skijoring!

It’s not easy to get there, but that’s no excuse, right?

Flights to Denver are cheap from anywhere in the country and it’s a pretty amazing three-hour drive to Steamboat that everyone should travel at least once. Keep in mind there are shuttles or rideshares available and winter weather could make it impassable for days at a time.

For a more expensive flight, you can fly direct (or connect in Denver) to Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN) which is only 30 minutes away from Steamboat Springs.

And last but not least, you can hop in your motor vehicle and “road trip it” to Steamboat Springs.

See you there!

Bonus Nugget: Why do they call it Steamboat Springs you ask? Trappers settled there in the late 19th centry and heard noise that sounded like a Steamboat approaching. They found out the sound was a nearby hot springs. This story is on Wikipedia and confirmed by an old lady on the gondola a few years ago. Everything Wikipedia and old ladies say is true! And yes, the hot springs are still hot and not too far away.