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10 Things to Do During the Winter in Steamboat Springs

Todd Sledge December 12, 2023

Steamboat Springs is an excellent place to be all year long, but it’s during the winter when it truly comes to life — when you can participate in a number of winter sports, from skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Not to mention, there are so many non-sport activities to do during the winter months, like going on a scenic gondola ride, relaxing in a hot spring, sipping on cocktails by the fire, or attending a winter festival.
If you’re visiting this popular resort town this winter (or you’re lucky enough to live here), here are just a few of our favorite winter activities in Steamboat Springs.

Hit the Slopes

One of the first things you think of when you think of Steamboat is skiing — and rightfully so! This resort town is especially renowned for its exceptional skiing — and it’s not slowing down any time soon. 
Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. announced plans to expand the ski area by 355 acres, install a second gondola, and a new base that will include shopping, dining, and improved navigation — all part of a plan that would make Steamboat one of North America’s largest ski resorts. Use our guide to winter sports in Steamboat Springs for some ways you can take advantage of that famous Champagne Powder®. For an especially unique experience, consider going night skiing!
After dark, you can ski under the lights from Christie Peak, which has five thrilling trails, including Sitz, See Me, Vogue, Stampede, and Lil’ Rodeo.

Go Ice Skating at Howelsen Ice Complex

There’s nothing more quintessential than ice skating in the winter! And there are plenty of opportunities to do so in Steamboat Springs, including both indoors and outdoors. Head to the Howelsen Hill Ice Complex, an Olympic-size indoor rink that hosts figure skating to hockey leagues, broomball to bumper cars, birthday parties to hockey tournaments, private rentals to public skating, and more! And during the winter, the volleyball courts at Howelsen Hill are converted into two outdoor community ice rinks, where you can skate for free all season long! The city installs a complete rink system, including liners, brackets, sideboards, and other accessories.

Go on a Sleigh Ride Dinner

Photo Courtesy of Bar Lazy L Ranch
Embark on a magical journey with Bar Lazy L Ranch‘s Sleigh Ride Dinners! You’ll be conveniently picked up at one of the many locations in Steamboat for a 20-minute ride to the ranch in Elk River Valley. Horse-drawn sleighs await to take you along a river, a peaceful pasture, tree groves, and back down to the meadow where their remodeled barn awaits. Here, you’ll enjoy warm drinks, entertainment, and Western artifacts adorning the space. A hearty ranch-style dinner is served, accompanied by traditional Western music, and after dinner, enjoy additional entertainment in the barn while you let your meal settle. Reservations are a must for these unforgettable sleigh rides, where the perfect blend of quality food, captivating entertainment, and Western charm creates a unique and unforgettable experience.

Soak in Hot Springs

As the name implies, Steamboat Springs is a mecca for hot springs. After all this activity, you can take a dip in these relaxing, natural springs, either right in the heart of town or a bit off the beaten path. Old Town Hot Springs is a historic, family-friendly recreation facility in downtown Steamboat with several outdoor soaking pools — plus water slides and a lap pool. And Strawberry Park Hot Springs are all-natural, spring-fed pools on the edge of the Yampa Valley that provide a more rustic, natural feel.

Go on a Hot Air Balloon or Helicopter Ride

We can’t think of a better vantage point for viewing the spectacular winter scenery in Steamboat than up in the clouds. Take your adventure to new heights by going on a hot air balloon ride with Wild West Balloon Adventures, which takes you over the Steamboat area, the Flat Top Mountains, and an inactive volcano to the north called Hahn’s Peak. Keep in mind that all flights are weather permitting and you will not be able to fly in windy, rainy, or snowy conditions. And if you’d like to take a speedier aerial tour of the area, opt for a scenic helicopter ride with Zephyr Helicopter Company, which offers scenic tours of the Steamboat area year-round.

See Mountain Views on a Scenic Gondola Ride

Let the exploration continue with a ride on a Scenic Gondola Ride. Hop on this comfortable eight-passenger gondola to encounter breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the Yampa River. This is a unique and scenic way to reach the top of Mount Werner, where you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and sightseeing. The gondola is open for the summer and winter seasons, typically from mid-June through September and December through April. This is the perfect alternative to reaching the summit during the winter months if you’re not skiing or snowboarding! Also, keep in mind that with an adult ticket purchase, you will receive a $10 dining voucher loaded directly onto your lift ticket card. Your ticket also includes unlimited rides for the date on the ticket!

Sip on Wine or Cocktails at Foxes

Photo Courtesy of Foxes
On a cold wintery day, there’s no better place to be than a cozy, dimly lit lounge, where you can sip on a comforting drink. Foxes is a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge and wine bar in the heart of Steamboat adorned with cool artwork, warm purple-pink lighting, and comfortable seating. But perhaps more importantly, they serve a wide selection of globally inspired wines and creative cocktails, perfect for enjoying after a long day spent in the elements. They are also known for their carefully considered caviar menu, with options ranging from creamy and buttery to briny and complex.

Embark on the Steamboat Brew Trail

As you can tell, Steamboat is known for its outdoor recreation, which goes hand in hand with sipping on a refreshing beer. And you can even combine the two by traveling along the Steamboat Brew Trail, a 2.7-mile trail that passes by four local breweries. Walk or bike the path and make stops at Mahogany Ridge Brewery, Mountain Tap BreweryStorm Peak Brewery, and Yampa Valley Brewing, sampling some of their best beers along the way. Click here to learn more about each of these breweries, including which beer locals recommend trying!

Attend a Winter Festival

Photo Courtesy of Steamboat Springs Chamber
We often think of summer as the optimal time to attend a festival — but Steamboat has something exciting happening each month during the winter. In December, don’t miss A Very Steamboat Holiday Festival, where you can visit with Santa, enjoy hot cocoa, and participate in holiday crafts. The Music Fest at Steamboat takes place each January, offering six days of world-class music and skiing. And in February, the 111-year-old Steamboat Winter Carnival celebrates Steamboat’s western heritage and the tradition of winter sports with a unique winter parade (which includes people being pulled on shovels behind horses and skiers jumping through fiery hoops). Finish the season strong in March with the Winter Wondergrass Festival, a celebration of bluegrass music and beer featuring 20 Colorado craft breweries and more than 25 bands.

Hike to Fish Creek Falls

Fish Creek Falls is one of the most popular destinations near Steamboat — and thankfully, it never has an off-season! During the springtime, the spectacular 280-foot falls are roaring with snowmelt, and in the summer, it has a peaceful flow surrounded by lush greenery. During the fall, colorful foliage amplifies the hike, and in the winter, ice climbers can climb the surface and hikers snowshoe the trail. You can reach the lower falls with a short ¼-mile walk down a gravel path or consider a more moderate hike to Upper Fish Creek Falls and Long Lake, which takes you deep into the Routt National Forest.

Have a Blast!

We hope you enjoy your time in Steamboat Springs this winter! If you’re looking to make your visit to Steamboat a bit more permanent (or purchase a vacation home here), we can certainly help with that.
Contact our team in Steamboat to get started with your search for the perfect home!

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