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Our Family Trip to Steamboat

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
For our family vacation this year we took the week between Christmas and New Year's and went to Steamboat. Given that we had little other chance to get both our daughters, one college age and one middle-schooler, together for the trip, we had no real choice but to book a ski trip, in advance, for early season out west. I know, this can be iffy.

We picked Steamboat mainly because we found a cheap condo at Armed Forces Vacation Club. I am fortunate as a Navy civilian to be able to use their services. They get empty properties from several of the big timeshare outfits and make them available to US Department of Defense employees, both uniformed and civilian. Costs run from $300 for a week in what is called the "Space Available" category, to $1500 a week in high-demand locations. We got a one bedroom with a sleeper sofa in Steamboat for $800 for the week. Sold!

Well, I must have please Ullr at some point recently, because as any of you following the Colorado weather discussions undoubtedly know, the week after Christmas was a great time to ski Steamboat.

We got in on Saturday the 27th. Between long lines for the rental car and the traffic on I70, landing at 11:00 am ultimately got us to our condo at 6:30 pm. We checked in, unloaded the SUV, and went out for food. We got our recommendation list from @Finndog's unofficial guide, and chose Mahogany Ridge for what looked to be a nice combination of beer choices and family friendly atmosphere. Ullr's blessings continued even in the bar, as we were told there was a 45 minute wait for tables mere seconds before two couples left the bar. Score! Burgers around and a couple of the house beers for the Mrs. and I. A great choice we were all happy with. After dinner we hit the Safeway and did our shopping for the week, then home to bed.

Sunday, our first day, I went out early and scoped a nice easy green loop off the Christy chair. Although I wanted more for all of us, I also knew we had to get confidence built in my wife and our twelve-year old. The eventually met us and we had a lot of fun skiing Boulevard to Swinger multiple times. It wasn't anywhere near extreme, but especially the top of Swinger had some nice open groomed combined with ungroomed that could be poked into. It really got my wife and twelve-year old giggling, which is a good thing. A happy family is a good trip. At the end of the day, I suggested that my nineteen-year old and I go explore one run on Sunnyside, while my wife and youngest take a "couple more" runs off the Christy lift. Hah! An hour later we finally got back to the base area and my somewhat frantic wife. We got a good sense of just how big the mountain is there.

On day two, we had two instructors booked for an all day lesson with the family. Barry Smith and Jill Lambek were wonderful, showing us some great runs we could all enjoy on Sunnyside, along with lots of good tips for everyone. For myself, I got a lot more comfortable that day, and for the rest of the trip, rolling my skis onto edge and really feeling the carve. Conversely, I came to experience that skidding was not a dirty word, and relearned the benefits of being patient and letting the skis stay flat when the terrain is past my comfort level for carving. I also picked up a great way to keep giving myself feedback on staying in the front seat. We all had a good time, but we also agreed that next time we'd probably only book a half day. A full day for four skiers of varied ability was a lot to bite off.

Tuesday I went alone for a half day. It was the end of the snow falling while we were there, and I tried a little of everything, still sticking to Sunnyside. After my half day we all went to the movies and then the Old Town Hot Springs.

Wednesday, for us, was probably the choice day of the trip. Although the end of the snowfall meant the powder wasn't everywhere, we didn't care, and had a great time with amazingly well groomed snow on Sunnyside. Combine that with a temperature inversion that gave us 20* at the summit vs. 0* at the base and a cloudless and windless day and us New Englanders were in heaven. We stayed that night to see the torchlight parade and fireworks to start the New Year's festivities. The only downside to Wednesday was the case of the missing pole, which I'll write up separately. Spoiler alert, it has a happy ending.

Thursday was more of the same, although some of the groomers were getting a little bit more buffed by then. I kept splitting off from my family and looking for a few turns in the easy trees that were just all over.

Friday I was again the only one who went, and only did a half day. After a warmup at Sunnyside, I ventured over to Morningside. I was amazed at how well the snow held up over there. Definitely a piece of information to keep for if and when we return.

All in all this was a great trip. I learned a lot and really had some great runs. My nineteen year old skied ungroomed snow, which she said she wouldn't. My twelve year old giggled a lot, something we hadn't hear too much on skis last year, which I put down to growing pains. Lastly, my wife really got it that she indeed can ski most blues, and that it's a lot more fun to ski a blue with a nice consistent fall line than to ski a green that keeps crossing other trails.

I hope we get a chance to go back, as I know there's so much more of the mountain we didn't even try. Anyone going, I highly recommend checking out the unofficial users guide Finndog set up. It was a great resource.
post #2 of 4

So glad you and family had a great time!  I am sorry I had to run off that day to meet my family but it was great to meet another bear.  

post #3 of 4

Thumbs Up


and the obligatory



post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'll try to get a few. I took far fewer than my wife and kids, but we should get them all together from our various phones.
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