Steamboat Ski Resort plans to open a few days early, on Saturday, November 21, thanks to healthy dose of new snow from recent storms. The resort will stay open on Sunday, November 22, as well before closing for a few days and reopening on Wednesday, November 25. This is the first time Steamboat has opened early since 2002, and although only about 1,100 vertical feet off the Christie Peak Express chairlift will be available, the resort should be able to open the Gondola area and possibly the upper mountain on the 25th.
You can read about every Colorado ski resort in the Edge, our winter sports guide, as we roll it out online. Each description lays out what's new, what the signature experience is, what to splurge on, how to go cheap and, of course, what to drink. Now, head for the trees.
STEAMBOAT SKI RESORT
What’s new: The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club — now in its second century, and with a whole lot of Olympians to show for itself — opens a new training and competition venue on the mountain this season. Lift tickets and season passes have been upgraded with QuickTrack radio frequency IDs for hands-free scanning (go ahead and keep your gloves on). Also look for major renovations to the Rendezvous Saddle Lodge and Gondola Joe’s base-area bistro, and increased snowmaking and grooming capacity on the mountain.
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Signature experience: “Steamboat’s legendary (and trademarked) Champagne Powder® snow is what you’re here for, so splurge for the $39 First Tracks ticket, which will put you on the gondola as early as 8 a.m. to link up with the Sundown Express lift,” says Steamboat spokesman Mike Lane. “By the time everyone else is just getting started, you’ll already be ripping freshies in the Priest Creek, Sunshine and South Peak areas.”
Splurge: “Spring for the snowcat ride and Italian dinner at the new Four Points Lodge. Four Points features panoramic views of the Flat Tops and Zirkel Wilderness Areas,” Lane says. “Another Steamboat classic, especially after a couple of days in deep snow, is a trip to the Strawberry Hot Springs paired with a private massage — starting at $70 an hour — in a pool-side cabin built into the rocks.”
Ski bum tips: “Take your skiing to another level with a free bump clinic with Olympic Bronze medalist and World Cup Champion Nelson Carmichael,” Lane suggests. “Join Nelson at Four Points Lodge for a trip down his namesake trail on select Sundays throughout the season.”
Drink locally: Steamboat Springs is now home to four breweries: Mahogany Ridge, Storm Peak, Butcherknife Brewing and the BARley. “Crafts and drafts abound,” Lane says. “With so many individually designed brews, including seasonal specialties, you’ll have just as hard a time deciding which to try first as you do on what trail to tackle on a powder day.”