Here are some links regarding the "official" runs and lifts. Steamboat's Champagne Powder is legendary and offers some of the best tree skiing in the world. Ski safe!
BASIC MOUNTAIN INFO and SOME SAFETY INFO
For those coming to Steamboat and have not skied "out west" before, please keep in mind that blue runs for the most part are significantly steeper than they are used to or may be ungroomed. Your resort would probably call these black runs. Black runs will almost always contain moguls, be ungroomed, have trees or other obstacles. Double Blacks are steeper never groomed and present significant risk of injury if you fall. There are several areas on the mountain that if you get hurt, may take a very long time before you get to a patroller, for them to find you and get you out. DO NOT SKI IN AREAS THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW OR ARE ABOVE YOUR SKILL LEVEL. DO NOT LEAVE THE BOUNDARIES OF THE RESORT. Every season Search and Rescue has to find and extract lost or stranded skiers in the Fish Creek Canyon area. It is very easy to get lost there or get "cliffed out". We want you to keep coming back! Have a blast but ski with care.
TREE WELLS In general, you have about 15 minutes to be extracted before death. Do I have your attention now? If you are not familiar with tree wells, you need to take some time to understand where they are on the mountain, how to avoid them and what to do if you fall into one. Rule #1, don't ski alone. Just 20-30 feet into the trees, no one will hear you if you yell and if you do fall into a tree well, they will not be able to find you. Ski with a whistle and cell phone.
MOUNTAIN OVERVIEW: It is very easy to get around the mountain for the most part and you can access blue or green runs in most areas and still find challenging trees in the same area. Beginners should stay at the base area until they can comfortably ski those runs and feel comfortable getting on and off lifts. They should be comfortable with some blue pitches.
Access to the mid mountain is via the "Gondi" at the base however, on crowded days, take the "Christie 6-Pack" to the top, ski off the front to "Jess's Cutoff", to "Yoo-Hoo" and over to the "Thunderhead Quad" to the mid mountain Thunderhead Lodge. From there, you have access to anywhere on the mountain. For most skiers, there is no need to go any lower than Mid-Mountain.
On powder mornings get there early for first chair! We call it "pressing glass" because the entrance to the gondola has plexi-glass doors. For those who want an early jump on freshies, sign up for the FIRST TRACKS program getting you up the mountain about an hour earlier. Its a great deal for just $35.00.
The most popular area is Sunshine. Sunshine is a great area that offers some beautiful views to the South and Southwest. From 3 lifts, Sunshine, Sundown and South Peak, you can ski mellow greens to tight, steep evergreens as well as The mountains famous Shadow, closets, "O'Clock" and Priest Creek trees. You can also easily access Morningside Park off the back of "Sundial" Via "Hot Cakes". It will help to have some local knowledge on how to get into some incredible trees in this area but If I'm around, I will be happy to take anyone who can demonstrate the ability to confidently ski trees. This is where you will find the iconic "Rolex" bumped run. If you are lucky, you can catch Rolex on a morning after its been groomed and a storm dumps on it. Its a "must do" if possible. Nothing like steep deep powder runs! HINT: to the left and right of Rolex are some secret trees that are for experts or advanced skiers comfortable in tight steep terrain. Do not ski these alone.
Sunshine is also the area that has some of the best (and very fun) intermediate and beginner tree skiing. The tree'd areas between Tomahawk, Flintlock, Quick Draw and High Noon offer some fun and pretty mellow lines. Also look to the cut-offs off tomahawk for secret powder stashes and short put steeper runs. Perfect for those looking for something a bit more than the perfect blue cruisers! HINT: I often find untracked stashes in this area days after a good storm. The O'clock runs (1,2,&3) offer more challenging runs that are usually ungroomed. Catch 3 O'clock on a powder AM if you can. All of the trees in that area are called the "O'Clock trees" and are amazing. Not saying anymore in fear of bodily harm!
Storm Peak and Four Points, Triangle Trees are where you will find some steeper runs and mix of open skiing and some fantastic trees. You can hit "Buddy's Run", a classic long and wide blue cruiser and access Morningside from Storm Peak quad. You can also access the Pioneer Ridge lower area by traversing across Buddy's and across the face. This is for advanced skiers. It's never groomed and has some steeper (30* plus) shots in here. Triangle Trees is a great area that is steep at the upper ridge but mellows into a fantastic wonderland of spaced trees and often overlooked powder. If you keep skiing down you can hit the new Four Points Lodge. Directly below the lodge lies a series of fun bumped black runs; Hurricane, Nelsons Twister and to the skiers right, Tornado. All are fun runs and don't miss them early on a powder day. Get there early though. HINT: all the trees off these runs are pretty sweet. Just have the skills!
The Ridge Area is Side country. Its not lift served and is accessed Via the Morningside Lift. You can work the face and hit the infamous "chutes" or hike up to the Tower and ski down into Morningside. You will see a line of people hiking up on a powder day. You can also hike over and hit the many acres of steep trees and deep powder areas but please do not venture into these areas unless you have the appropriate skills. Its a long traverse out depending where you end up so make you know where you are going.
Morningside is off the back the Storm Peak Quad and is very popular. It has some steeper shots at the top but quickly flattens out. This area is particularly susceptible to tree well danger. I honestly don't spend much time here.
Pony Express is accessed from the Gondi, ski down "Rudi's" to "Lightening", go left, and ski past the Storm Peak Lift. Pony only has one blue run that really takes you out and over to Flying Z area otherwise, its advanced and expert terrain. If you have the skills, you wont find a more fun area on the mountain. It also gets a lot of powder on Northern aspect storms (which are always our best ones). Its a huge play ground and a mix of steeper terrain with a lot of natural features. It's my favorite area. Its usually skied mostly by locals. I have had some of my deepest days there.
The lower half of the mountain is comprised of a lot of groomers of varying levels and offers some often overlooked skiing. HINT: there are a bunch of hidden gems here..... This is just a quick overview and there is a surprisingly large amount of terrain to ski and ride on. Much more than it appears on the trail map.
NIGHT SKIING Arriving mid-day and can't wait to ski? Steamboat now offers night skiing! for 2014/15, they are expanding the terrain and hours.
STEAMBOAT SKI SCHOOL AND STARS PROGRAM
Steamboat offers you a fantastic opportunity to improve you skills or get the kids started the right way. I still take lessons every season. You spend all this money on airlines, hotel, food, gear and lift tickets so why not learn how to ski better which is why you are here, right? This is your chance to learn to ski powder! Powder skiing is actually very easy once you know how
An instructor can teach you how to enjoy our most treasured and sought after commodity. WARNING: its highly addictive. Beyond learning and honing skills, taking lessons lets you use the Instructors lines during busy seasons reducing lift line times. You can do privates or group lessons. Try doing a group lesson mid-week, you may find that there are only a couple of skiers. I do have a couple favorites that I will be happy to recommend if you PM me. The STARS ADAPTIVE
program is a phenomenal program that offers various programs for all types of disabilities. Contact them for more information. I love watching the joy of these folks coming down the mountain!