Apres Ski in Steamboat

Steamboat Village

Steamboat consists of a small ranching community that sits happily side by side with a thriving ski resort.

Seven thousand feet (2,134 m) up in the Colorado Rockies, nestled at the foot of Rabbit Ears Pass below one of the largest ski mountains in North America, is a small ranching community that sits happily side by side with a thriving ski resort. Never far from its ranching roots-cattle are still reared in this genuine cow town-Steamboat remains firmly linked to a Western tradition that sets it apart from other ski resorts.

Steamboat Springs lies three miles (5 km) from the purpose-built ski base area, and has both the look and feel of an old Western town: its long main street (dominated now by Dodges and S.U.V.s rather than horses and stagecoaches) is lined with frontier and Victorian architecture. It’s a small, bustling town that 9,000 people call home. In fact, long before people strapped on skis for fun, Steamboat residents in the late 1800s were using skis and snowshoes in their daily lives. No visit to Steamboat would be complete with a stroll down the town’s authentic Main Street. Be sure to stop at F.M. Light & Sons. This old-time wild west store first opened its doors in 1905 and has been a local landmark ever since.

The base area “Mountain Village” is a typicall purpose-built development, dominated by the Steamboat Grand Resort & Conference Center and also the site for condo-style lodgings, the ski school meeting area, ski rental and sports accessories stores, and the Bear River Bar & Grill and Gondola base complex. New for 2010, One Steamboat Place raises the bar for slopeside luxury at Steamboat. Located adjacent at the top terminus of the new Wildhorse pulse gondola and a short walk from the main gondola, this new mixed unit development has rejuvenated the slopeside village.

Steamboat Apres-Ski, Restaurants & Bars

In line with its Western atmosphere, going out in Steamboat involves steaks, microbrews and live music.

With over 80 restaurants and 20 lively bars to choose from, Steamboat’s night-time scene has something for everyone. Steamboat Brewery & Tavern offers microbrews and food specials, with a non-smoking happy hour, while the Old Town Pub (non-smoking) bar and restaurant has live music and a Western atmosphere. Tugboat is a good bar in which to listen to live music and dance the night away. Levelz is Steamboat’s premier nightclub for the younger crowd.

There are plenty of more down-to-earth steakhouses in downtown Steamboat Springs, as well as restaurants and bars. A few of our favorites are The Cabin at the Steamboat Grand and the Steamboat Smokehouse downtown.

However, by far our favorite bar is the Boathouse, where on Wednesdays you can play Rock, Paper, Scissor against the bartender for your drinks. Win and the drinks are free; lose or tie and you pay up. Truly the best skitown bar promotion we’ve ever seen. Call ahead to check the days and time.

Steamboat Apres-Ski

Steamboat’s apres-ski scene has something for everyone, with over 100 bars and restaurants.

The Bear River Bar & Grill is always busy after a great day on the slopes. It’s located at the base of the ski area, as close to the slopes as you can be. Live daily entertainment happens on the outdoor deck, with comedy shows on the weekends. The Comedy Club attracts nationally renowned stand-up comedians. Slopeside is a big hit, featuring afternoon specials and a location where you can ski right up to have a drink.

The minimum age for consuming alcohol is 21; proof of age required. Children can accompany parents in bars and other places serving alcohol unless the establishment has a minimum entry age, but this is not usually the case until later in the evening. Bars close at 2:00 am.

Steamboat Activities

Steamboat has lots to offer, including snowshoe, snowmobiling and powdercat tours, fly-fishing, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning, and rock and ice climbing, but it’s the hot springs that sets Steamboat apart.

Steamboat “Ski Town U.S.A.” has lots to offer aside from great alpine skiing and riding. You can cross-country ski over 75 miles (120 km) of groomed trails, or explore the backcountry on guided snowshoe tours. Snowmobiling tours are also available, and Blue Sky West offers powdercat guided tours on Buffalo Pass. Other outdoor options include fly-fishing, horseback riding, hot-air ballooning, and rock and ice climbing.

Alternatively, after a hard day’s skiing you can relax in the local natural hot springs at Strawberry Park or in downtown Steamboat-the waters are said to help ease rheumatism and skin complaints. We suggest you leave the driving to the professionals if you wish to venture up to Strawberry Park. The road is winding, unpaved and barely marked. Sweet Pea Tours is your best bet for door-to-door service. (www.sweetpeatours.com)

Indoor activities include ice-skating at an Olympic-sized rink, indoor tennis, heated pools and a water slide, as well as a fully equipped fitness center and an indoor climbing gym. More leisurely pursuits on offer are movies and museums, art galleries and a wide variety of stores.

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