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Steamboat at Christmas?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

I did a quick search on Epic for advice on the best places to ski during Christmas week, saw a few nominations for Utah (which I love), but didn't see anyone happen to mention Steamboat. Does anyone have an opinion on whether that would be a good choice, all things considered? We know it won't be cheap, but we're thinking we want to do a Christmas trip this year and we've been wanting to try Steamboat. We're upper intermediates so we don't need any extreme terrain, but I'd hate to fly all the way from the east coast to there and not find much open. Of course no one knows the weather, but what is your sense of what's typically open at Steamboat that week? Is there someplace to find some stats like what percentage of their terrain has been open that week on average for the past 5 years?

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

post #2 of 37

The boat is typically skiing very well at that time! The Pony Express area may not be open however, from what you are looking for, this is fine.  The trees are typically skiing well with decent cover and they have increased their snow making capacity substantially if needed.  Otherwise the town and area are very beautiful; they decorate just about every tree with lights and there are a multitude of activities going on both on the mountain area and downtown. There is an extensive free town shuttle system so cars are really not needed.  Feel free to PM me if you want anymore specific info.  Come on' up!  Of course, you can never predict the weather but with the exception of last year, its always been in good shape.  

post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 

Thanks Finndog. I may be sending you a PM, it looks like airfare to Denver is do-able and we're thinking about renting a condo through vrbo.com.

post #4 of 37

check into coming into Hayden (HDN) and then getting a shuttle into town (about 50 r/t) its an easy 1/2 hour . If you add on the crazy expense of the rental, its most likely lower cost and much less hassle. You really don't need a car and during peak season, parkings tough.  most condo's have shuttles but be careful; a lot will not permit you to use them if you aren't renting through the resort.  The drive up is 3 solid hours on good conditions but if there's an accident on 70 or if its snowy, the road out and over the rabbit ears pass can be treacherous and it does get closed. 

post #5 of 37

Best bet for early snow is Grand Targhee, Wyoming.  However, Steamboat isn't too bad, and has more apre-ski options.

post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Queen View Post

 Is there someplace to find some stats like what percentage of their terrain has been open that week on average for the past 5 years?

 

 

Yes. Tony Crocker (who posts here) has a website that has all those stats....

 

Best Snow

post #7 of 37

by the week before Christmas, all of the mountain with the exception of Pony Express is typically open.  Last year was horrible of course but every year prior to that for at least the past 5 years that's how it rolls....   The "pioneer ridge" into the bowls can be sketchy but you are not going to be skiing there anyway.  Morning side sucks so don't bother :)  Other than that, the week before Christmas is usually very good with low traffic and newly opened closets and shadows.  

post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 

Thanks all. I'll check out Targhee and also Crocker's site. It's good to get a local's input though.

 

We were thinking about getting the shuttle from Denver and not renting a car. We haven't yet looked into flying into Hayden, we just figured it would be prohibitively expensive. We can fly from Providence into Denver for about $1200 for the two of us round trip with direct flights. That sounded pretty good for Xmas week.

post #9 of 37
Thread Starter 

Crocker says,

 

Steamboat gets even more snow than Vail and has one of the best early season records anywhere, close to Alta and Whistler in reliability. But the area faces more south than north, so the spring conditions "checkerboard" starts in February. Steamboat can be considered the "anti-profile" area of Colorado.

 

This sounds like a pretty safe bet. Okay, I did not just say that out loud.

post #10 of 37
The shuttle to the boat is quite pricey. Get some quotes and evaluate flying to Hayden versus Denver.

Mike
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 

Another question -- what do you think are the relative merits of staying in town versus at the mountain? Is there any real nightlife at the mountain or is most of the action in town? The convenience of some of the condos at the mountain sounds good, but it will just be two of us and we'll definitely want some apres ski and dining options (empahsis on apres ski.) Our usual MO is ski most of the afternoon, find a cool place to hang out for apres that's not all tourists (I guess everyone says that huh?) and have some wings and a burger and call it an early night. For reference, one of our favorite places in Park City is the No Name Saloon, we also really like the Back Country Brewery and the Dillon Dam Brew Pub or whatever it's called out in Summit County.  

 

Thanks again for your advice.

post #12 of 37

If I were to go there again I'd try to stay in town. I don't recall that there are many options for that, but I might have missed something. I personally don't think there are great options at the mountain for food and drink (it's nice enough to have a drink on the Sheraton deck at the end of the day, but that's not exactly nightlife), and the three mile sprawl of condos and strip malls between the mountain and town is pretty blah (chains, fast food, etc). If there IS a place to stay in town, on the bus line, that would be my preferred option.

post #13 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks Christy319. That is extremely helpful, I think we'll try to stay downtown if possible.
post #14 of 37

I would give Central Reservations a call and see how they do on a package. They can give you discounted air fare as well as discounted lift tickets, which are not available anywhere else. The operators (in the past at least) know the town and the accomodation options very well. They will be straight up on the shuttle or bus options for each property. The mountian strives to be as open as possible for the Holidays, the weather is the boss however.  Have Fun!

post #15 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post

If I were to go there again I'd try to stay in town. I don't recall that there are many options for that, but I might have missed something. I personally don't think there are great options at the mountain for food and drink (it's nice enough to have a drink on the Sheraton deck at the end of the day, but that's not exactly nightlife), and the three mile sprawl of condos and strip malls between the mountain and town is pretty blah (chains, fast food, etc). If there IS a place to stay in town, on the bus line, that would be my preferred option.

 

 

I am not sure where this town is but I can tell you this is not steamboat.  There are many excellent restaurants including Diva on the mountain and of course Bistro CV on 4th in town (and others) but there are many very good places to eat and drink. These range from very casual up to award winning dining. it really depends on what you are looking for.  The term strip mall is a stretch there are retails shops and stores between the mountain and town but don't think its some kind of concrete jungle.  Please keep in mind steamboat is a real town its not a prefab tourist trap so yes we have a lot of stores and business' that have nothing to do with skiing.  Again, it depends on what you are looking for. The most convenient lodging is on the mountain naturally.  There are options down town but if you are looking for something upscale off the mountain, you should look at some of the rental groups and not for a hotel. You will find a lot of condos and homes that are available.  Again, there's no real reason to stay down town in as far as access to nightlife or restaurants. The majority of mountain resorts have their own shuttles that will pick you up and drop off where you need to go. Staying downtown can be noisy as well. I would rather stay on the mountain and just take the shuttle personally.  I would call steamboat resorts as they are offering some excellent deals right now with up to 40% of lodging and discounted tickets. 

post #16 of 37

I'm going to echo Finn and say stay on the mountain, especially if apres if more your thing.  Try to stay somewhere in the base area and just take a shuttle downtown if you feel like going out.  Plus on the mountain you'll most likely get other amenities like hot tubs and shuttles.  Downtown is going to be noisy and it's pretty basic motel-style lodging (a few condos, but not tons for nightly rental).  Most of the nightlife is downtown but the apres scene is definitely on the mtn.  And yeah, ^^^ "sprawl of strip malls"?  We may not as quaint and picturesque as, say, Telluride, but c'mon, we have a total of three "strip malls" between town and mtn, and only one of them is really a strip mall in its truest sense.... and they are all contained within a total square mile... it's hardly "sprawling".  It can't be all t-shirt shops and bavarian villages.

post #17 of 37

...and Tam is a true local.  

 

cheers Tam. hope your summer's been good

post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
Okay, thanks all. We stayed at a condo at The Canyons once and went to a bar at the base at around 5:00 and it was a ghost town. Same thing at one of the hotel bars at Alta or maybe it was Snowbird. We'd hope to avoid that sort of thing. Oh, let's not even talk about the fun to be had near Snowbasin and Powder Mountain....
post #19 of 37
Quote:

 I am not sure where this town is but I can tell you this is not steamboat.

 Sorry, but it really does remind me of a suburb. I wouldn't use the term "concrete jungle", but it's got the freestanding fast food joints, the groceries with the giant parking lots out front, etc etc. I had always been under the impression it was similar to say, Ketchum, or a more laidback/less tony Aspen, bt it reminded me more of Summit Co--someplace without any good limits on bad development, generic condos and sprawl. That's great you love it but she was looking for opinions and I gave mine--I know a lot of people don't care about the kind of stuff that turns me off, maybe she doesn't either, and that's fine.

post #20 of 37
Thread Starter 
This is all very helpful, including the difference of opinion. This is why I posted here, rather than consulting some guidebook or something.

We went to Vail a couple of years ago and I hated the town. No character, generic, purpose-built, yuk. We like places with character, which is why I think staying in town might suit us better. We have a place in mind at the mountain and one in town too, and are debating. I don't think we'll get a Vail experience either way.
post #21 of 37

Steamboat's a nice town and a nice, kind of mellow ski area,  that can have really good snow.  I think you'll have a great time there!

 

 

$600/each into Denver seems high?  I would keep shopping that one or fly into HDN,  as suggested?

post #22 of 37

Picking the right travel times around Christmas, I found about $450 (including taxes and fees) on Southwest from Providence to Denver.  Although if I were planning a trip to Steamboat, I'd much rather fly to Hayden and not have to worry about a rental car.  Note that I normally want the flexibility of a car.

 

I was an intermediate when I went to Steamboat.  Enjoyed it.  Also liked the hot springs.  My friend and I went to the outdoor one.  We stayed at a slopeslip condo.  I thought the town was cute, but it was a while ago so no idea how things have changed in the last 15 years.

post #23 of 37

FYI the Denver-Stbt shuttle is $176/pp roundtrip vs $55/pp RT from Hayden.... and $600 into Denver does sound really high, even for Christmas.  How far are you from Bradley (Hartford)?  I've been looking for Christmas flights to go back east and I'm getting under $500 for Hayden to BDL.  You'll most likely have 2 layovers flying into HDN if you go out of the smaller airports (one layover most likely being Denver), but it's still much more convenient than shuttling or doing the drive.  Denver airport to Steamboat is a solid 3hr drive in good conditions with no traffic... you can double that time in bad conditions and skier traffic.

post #24 of 37

you can look at either direct to HDN or you can go to DEN then to HDN.  there are also other options like connecting through Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago. Also check out flights connecting through Newark and Laguardia.  I assume you want to fly out of Logan?

 

Christmas week flights are expensive though

post #25 of 37
Thread Starter 

We only checked airfare with Southwest, and we're pretty sure we don't want to fly on Xmas day or before. I hate doing long flights with multiple stops, when the airline essentially has you hostage (I have a horror story), so the direct flight from PVD to DEN sounded attractive. We could drive to Hartford, it's a good idea to check that too.

 

Now that we've looked at our options in Steamboat we're starting to think about Park City instead. It's certainly easier to get to....but my husband really wants to try Steamboat so if we don't do it at Xmas we may do it another time. So many mountains, so little time....thanks again for all your input everyone.

post #26 of 37

I'd second the recommendation of giving Steamboat Central a call.  You can also just pop onto their website and quote out a trip yourself for ideas (can view pics of places too) and then give Central Reservations a call to ask opinion.   They have pushed out (I believe) their "early rewards" deal so one can get 25% off lodging and lifts, 10% over Christmas, and should you go elsewhere, most agents can get the same deal but Central is pretty simple for a first visit being a one stop shop.  The $600 doesn't surprise me less you can leave a major hub.  I'd check United, American and Delta as they fly direct.  (http://icoris.steamboat.com/Coris/VacationPlanner/Vacation.aspx)

 

Weather is the thing I'm gun shy on ... Last yr I canceled out a pre Christmas trip to the boat and was glad I could so depending on your risk adversion, could pay the extra for trip insurance.  However, most resorts were suffering so I'm not wishing to steer ya away.  Logistically, least wise from what I recall, come Christmas (Typically by Dec 19th) as Finndog said, most (3/4?) would be open.  I believe their goal is by the 19th to get the upper mountain opened up.   Pony Express I don't recall being typically open but there's plenty there.

 

I recall some spreadsheets I had regarding the runs open on what dates over the last 3-4 yrs, these were provided by Steamboat direct, they aim to get the top opened up by the 19th.  I think I may aim for an early Dec again, for 2 prior trips as I was plenty happy with open terrain.

 

Mountain side is great with plenty of activity, the shuttles are great too so one needn't a car.  Most shuttles run every 20 - 30 min and most all resorts will run one out for you if you need a special pick up.  This in addition to the regular city buses.

 

One thing too is how many days?  I'm sure Finndog can toss out a handful of must do or see things.

post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Queen View Post

 

Now that we've looked at our options in Steamboat we're starting to think about Park City instead. It's certainly easier to get to....but my husband really wants to try Steamboat so if we don't do it at Xmas we may do it another time. So many mountains, so little time....thanks again for all your input everyone.

 

I would stay away from any resorts close to major metropolitan area during Christmas?   Your paying big bucks to ski at Christmas, not standing in line.

post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

I would stay away from any resorts close to major metropolitan area during Christmas?   Your paying big bucks to ski at Christmas, not standing in line.

that may be true, perhaps folks can give an idea of how busy other slopes are in SLC.  Given the number of resorts, seems one can find a better general price especially lodging if one isn't looking to be slopeside in Park City.  Of course, you can limit your crowds at Deer Valley, don't they limit ticket sales?

 

For Steamboat, I certainly would claim better deals and smaller crowds may be found in February (ok,this I'm sure is true for most resorts) .. which is when we try and hit it but given its more remote location, fewer day trippers and air becomes much better in price.  Even with last yrs dry season, we got lucky with a few days of decent snow ..

post #29 of 37
Thread Starter 

We've skied the Park City area several times, one of the things we like is the ability to get to Big and Little Cottonwood areas, plus the Canyons and Deer Valley. Even Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are feasible for a day....of course we'll be renting a car to do that. But the options are great there.

post #30 of 37

the boat at xmas gets super crowded.  i lived there for a bit and remember xmas being packed, i guess thats most places.  its great place for kids, the pow is awesome, super light, and a good nightlife.  and the shuttle bus is free and awesome.

 

for the goods, go to gate D or the golf course, or hells wall.

 

fishcreek is good too

 

advice, stay upper mtn all day to avoid the mess at the base.  but be sure to drink some beers at gpg

 

think snow.

 

if you have any questions, lemme know

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