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158 miles NW of Denver, 194 miles E. of Grand Junction, 335 miles E. of Salt Lake City, Utah
One of my favorite Colorado resort towns, in part because it's a real town in addition to being a resort, Steamboat Springs fuses two very different worlds -- a state-of-the-art ski village with a genuine Western ranching center. This historic town, with a population of just under 10,000, is a pleasant laid-back community where ranchers still go about their business in cowboy boots and Stetsons, seemingly unaware of the fashion statement they are making to city-slicker visitors.
At an elevation of 6,695 feet, Steamboat Springs's numerous mineral springs and abundant wild game made this a summer retreat for Utes centuries before the arrival of white settlers. The bubbling mineral springs also caused many a mid-19th-century trapper to swear he heard the chugging sound of "a steamboat comin' round the bend" -- hence the name. But prospectors never thrived here as they did elsewhere in the Rockies, though coal mining has proven profitable. Ranching and farming were the economic mainstays until tourism arrived, and agriculture remains of key importance today.
This area is perhaps best known as the birthplace of organized skiing in Colorado. Although miners, ranchers, and mail carriers used primitive skis for transportation as early as the 1880s, it wasn't until Norwegian ski-jumping and cross-country champion Carl Howelsen built Howelsen Hill ski jump here in 1914 that skiing began to be considered a recreational sport in Colorado. In 1963, Storm Mountain was developed for skiing, and Steamboat's future as a modern ski resort was ensured. The mountain was renamed Mount Werner after the 1964 avalanche death in Europe of Olympic skier Buddy Werner, a Steamboat Springs native. Today the mountain is managed by the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation and, more often than not, is simply called Steamboat. Howelsen Hill, owned by the city of Steamboat Springs, continues to operate as a facility for ski jumpers, as well as a fun little downtown ski area.
With American Airlines flights to Steamboat Springs, you can be in Ski Town USA quickly and easily. There are a number of fun things to do in Steamboat Springs, not the least of which is enjoying the Steamboat Ski Resort, located within the Park Range of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. You can enjoy six peaks (Mount Werner, Sunshine Peak, Storm Peak, Thunderhead Peak, Christie Peak and Pioneer Ridge) with ski trails for every level of expertise. Steamboat is especially well known for its Champagne Powder -- in fact, the term was coined here.
If you're coming in the winter during ski season (which generally runs from Thanksgiving through early April), one of the can't-miss activities in Steamboat Springs is a lesson from the Steamboat Ski & Snowboard School. Staffed with world-class professionals, this school gets you ready for the mountains with all the knowledge you'll need to have fun safely. In addition to skiing and snowboarding at Steamboat, you can also enjoy tubing, sleigh rides, snowmobiling and snowshoeing, among other outdoor pursuits.
There is also a wide range of things to do in Steamboat Springs during the summer, including biking, hiking, rafting, fishing, horseback riding and even cattle drives. Steamboat Springs retains its Old West sense of place, with a charming downtown filled with dining options and shops (pick up some authentic western wear while you're here). And every July Fourth, the town holds an annual Ranch Rodeo, where local ranches compete against one another.
And, of course, one of the most relaxing activities in Steamboat Springs is exploring the natural hot springs found in and around town. First discovered by Native Americans, these hot springs are prized for their soothing and restorative properties. Old Town Hot Springs is located in downtown Steamboat Springs, making it one of the most easily accessible spots to unwind. There's even a slide that kids love. If you're looking for a more "outdoorsy" experience, visit Strawberry Park Hot Springs, located about seven miles outside town. It's the perfect way to pamper your sore muscles after a day spent on the mountains, whether you were skiing in the winter or biking in the summer.
American Airlines makes it easy fly to Steamboat Springs with flights into Hayden, Colorado, so you can discover all that Steamboat and its mountains have to offer.
|Cugino's Pizzeria||Italian||Around Town||1||2|
|Harwigs/L'Apogée at 911 Lincoln Avenue||French||Around Town||2||3|
|La Montaña||Mexican||Around Town||3||2|
|Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill||British/Irish/Scottish||Around Town||2||2|
|Slopeside Grill||American||Around Town||2||2|
|The Tugboat Grill & Pub||American||Around Town||1||1|
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