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Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Your Guide to a Family Ski Vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Cool off on the slopes and warm up in the hot springs at this Rocky Mountain resort.

Tucked away in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, cozy Steamboat Springs offers modern amenities with an authentic flair. The historical ski resort town is best known for its copyrighted Champagne Powder Snow (meaning it’s light and dry, like your favorite bubbly), but parents who visit with their kids know the city for its variety of eateries and events to keep all ages entertained.

What to Do

Channel your inner Elsa and let it go on the steep and snowy slopes of the Steamboat Springs Mountain Range. With six mountain peaks and nearly 3,000 acres of varied terrain, there is ample room for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities. Lift ticket prices vary depending on season, but kids 12 and under always ski free with a parent or guardian. If your littles need a lesson, the Kids Vacation Center offers all-day programs for kids as young as 2 (with child care included if you want to hit the Main Street shops while the kiddos hit the slopes).

A visit to Strawberry Park Hot Springs is the best way to warm up and sooth your ski muscles. The natural outdoor pools are maintained at a steamy 104 degrees. Sit back and relax in the water or book an aquatic therapy massage. Adults, $15; youth, $8; children 3 and younger, free.

If you’re planning a trip in January, the annual Cowboy Downhill kicks off with a hot air balloon glow. Walk among the massive balloons or settle into a booth at a mountainside restaurant to watch the amazing glow from afar. The fun continues when rodeo enthusiasts in town for the National Western Stock Show trade in their clodhoppers for ski boots and slalom down the mountain in chaps and hats. The free event offers a petting zoo and the chance to meet some Denver Broncos cheerleaders.

Steamboat’s other claim to fame is producing more U.S. Winter Olympians than any other town in the country.

Where to Eat

Wildflowers, stained glass and a changing display of local art adorn the brick walls at the Creekside Café. The cafe is legendary for its eggs Benedict and an amazing bloody mary, but Mom and Dad will also appreciate the assortment of breakfast and lunch options on the children’s menu, all for $5 each.

At Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, the gourmet menu and craft cocktails are served in a laid-back, kid-friendly atmosphere—the owners have two kids of their own. Be sure to make reservations; the restaurant’s hopping during happy hour thanks to $1 tapas-style appetizers.

Where to Stay

Trailhead Lodge is a master-planned resort community with studios and multi-bedroom condos (so the kiddos have their own space), plus ready transportation to and from the base of the ski area, indoor hot tubs and a pizzeria within walking distance. Rooms from about $174 per night.

If you’re looking for luxury, try The Steamboat Grand. The Grand offers a full-service spa, four restaurants and ski valet. The pool, heated year-round, is a godsend for parents needing to keep the family entertained after the lifts close for the day. If you’re in the mood for a winter experience, have the concierge book a sleigh ride for you. Rooms start at around $96 per night.

This article was originally published in January 2018.

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