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Steamboat Trip Report

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just back from Steamboat Springs, CO. Stayed at the Sheraton, which is a nice location and only about 50 yards from the Gondola. We flew into DIA and spent the night just west of Golden, CO. and then drove up to Steamboat on Friday morning. It was nice and sunny when we pulled in. Got an early check-in, parked the Durango and bought a half day pass for me and the misses and headed up. The day before Steamboat had received 4 inches and there was still little stashes here and there on the sides of the trails and in the trees. Primarily skied Sunny Side as my wife is just an intermediate and likes the groomers. That was fine with me as I had unfortunately sprained my right ankle the day before we left for CO. (Lots of ice and advil the whole week to keep me on the slopes.) The snow was nice and soft but I was unable to venture off piste into the trees due to the ankle.
On Saturday it was more sun and after skiing with my wife until lunch, I was off to ski and test myself and ankle in the chutes and Christmas Tree bowl. I found that after a few hours of skiing I would get used to the pain and it wasn't so bad. The snow was still good in the Chutes although there were a few exposed tree branches, small stumps and rocks but I managed to miss all of that. Maybe it's the shortness of the chutes or the trees but they are not that intimidating. Still it was fun to explore and hit a few small bits of powder. My big complaint about Steamboat is the lift system. My wife put it best, you pay $70 for a lift ticket and you get a bunch of old and slow lifts, "What a rip off!" Couldn't agree more. Why does the gondola only go half way up the mountain? Couldn't they have a mid mtn station and then go up the rest of the way to Storm peak? There is also no easy way to get to Christmas Tree and the Chutes unless you first go down Morningside. Unless I was skiing the high speed quads or Burgess, there are no safety bar/foot rests and having my right foot hang was just painful.

I skied by myself on Sunday and ventured into Closets and Shadows to try a bit of tree skiing. The snow was a bit crusty on top and I could not put a lot of pressure on my ankle or make sudden changes of direction so I traversed out of the trees to save myself any unecessary pain. I ended up skiing Buddys Run and doing laps on BAR-UE and Morningside over into Christmas Tree bowl where I could do kick turns and slide into Big Meadow and ski some cut up pow. It was nice because it was very quite with only a few skiers doing there thing.

Sunday evening it started to snow and we got a few inches of snow. Made for some nice skiing on Monday. The Clocks area was a nice area to ski on Monday morning and there was still powder on the sides of most trails even by noon time. It was never really crowded even though it was a 3 day holiday (MLK day) I don't think I ever waited more than 2 minutes to get on a lift except the Gondola each morning but the line moved relatively quickly.

The base area is nothing to write home about. Small with a few restaurants and shops. The town itself is nice though and the people are friendly. We ate at the Slopeside Grill one evening and also at Cugino's in town. We went one evening to Strawberry Park Hot Springs, which I highly recommend.

We rented demo skis our last day there from Ski Haus at the bottom of the base village. I had gotten a coupon on-line for a discount. The prices for demo skis in the village are ridiculous. We paid $23 for skis only + $1 for damage insurance. Some shops wanted $48 for demo skis.

It was a nice vacation with a bit of everything weather wise. I doubt that we would go back. Not because we didn't have fun but there are still many different ski resorts to explore!
post #2 of 18
Quote:
My big complaint about Steamboat is the lift system. My wife put it best, you pay $70 for a lift ticket and you get a bunch of old and slow lifts,
SLow lifts? There is the gondola and 4 high speed lifts that serve the 4 distinct areas (i.e. sundown express/wally world; storm peak express/storm peak; pony express; and thunderhead & gondola/thunderhead. I find them very well (strategically) placed. Its very possible to ski the whole mountain without ever using one of the slow lifts. For instance if you ski wally world, use sundown express instead of sunshine (although if you're an intermediate you will have to take elkhead to get out of wally world at the end of the day.

A couple questions: Where exactly is Ski Haus and what brands of skis did have for demo; and how tightly space are the trees in christmas tree bowl?

Nice report
post #3 of 18
Thanks for report. Sounds like your ankle put a little damper on the visit.

"I doubt that we would go back. Not because we didn't have fun but there are still many different ski resorts to explore!"

I've never been to the Boat, but I've heard a number of other out-of-staters make remarks like that about the place. It is not exactly a ringing endorsement. On the other hand, I've heard many, particularly Colorado natives, who rave about Steamboat as their favorite place in the state. Leaves me a little confused.
post #4 of 18
I'm visiting Steamboat this March for the first time in 30 years. These mixed reviews worry me.
post #5 of 18

steamboat

Going to Steamboat Feb 14th for 3 days of skiing. Thanks for the report. Terpski, thanks for the lift info. The long range weather forcast looks good. My stepson lives in Laramie Wyoming and boards at Steamboat as his home mnt. Close and he loves the powder ,when it's there.
Sugar bowl tommorrow, "spring conditions" the report says. Getting a little warm during the day.
Happy sliding to all.

Mark
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
I guess I'll qualify the lift comments by saying that places like Bachelor with all high speed quads, Whistler with a majority of high speed quads and a better gondola set up that actually gets you higher up the mountain are in my opinion better. Crystal Mtn, which I ski here in Washington has a great six pack high speed lift system. Just seemed disjointed to me and could have been better laid out. Why not take Priest Creek chair and stick it over in Christmas Tree bowl? I was not overly impressed with the Pony Express area and did not spend much time there. My favorite area was the Christmas Tree bowl and I also liked Shadows and Closets. My wife loved the groomers on Sunny Side. I guess if the whole mtn was covered in high speed quads, no one would ever have to wait for a lift at Steamboat, it's that uncrowded.

Ski Haus is on Pine Grove road, you can take Pine Grove from Mt Werner Road. It's right off of US40 on the right hand side as you head west. It's right across the street from the local Safeway. About a 3-4 minute car ride from the ski village. I think they have a website try, http://www.skihaussteamboat.com/. They have K2, Rossignol, Atomic and Salomon skis for rent. Carve skis, mid-fats and powder skis.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpSKI

and how tightly space are the trees in christmas tree bowl?

Nice report
Very tight at the top. About 6 feet spacing. I think the 3 chutes are between 45-50 degrees in steepness but they are only about 100 yards long. Big Meadow still had small stashes of powder 3 days after a snowfall.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpSKI
A couple questions: Where exactly is Ski Haus and what brands of skis did have for demo; and how tightly space are the trees in christmas tree bowl?
Ski House is right off US40 on the right side when driving into town. Right by the safeway. You can't miss it.

If you're looking for a little more variety in brands to demo you might check out Straightline right in town. They have Stockli, Volkl and, I think, Line skis.

For good Mexican food, check out Tequila's on US40 right in town. The new owners have really improved both the service and the food. It's across the street from Steamboat Ski and Bike Kare.

--dan
post #9 of 18
Toadman,

I see your point about extending Pony Express, it would be more convenient, but it is a really sort hike from Storm Peak.

The whole mountain really is serviced by high speed lifts (except the chutes & christmas tree bowl).

jstraw- I've skiied all over the place and Steamboat is one of my favorites. GREAT snow, no crowds and IMO the layout works because you essentially get 4 separate mountains/areas to play in. You can easily spend a day at each area, and they are each very distinctive. Tree & mogul skiing is great. The town is really nice and the base area although not really very nice looking is not too bad and has some pretty cool bars & restaurants.

I'll be back the 2nd & 3rd weeks of Feb.
post #10 of 18
dallen,

Was the new Tequila's open last year? If so I would agree with your assessment, great food & 'ritas
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpSKI
Toadman,

I see your point about extending Pony Express, it would be more convenient, but it is a really sort hike from Storm Peak.

The whole mountain really is serviced by high speed lifts (except the chutes & christmas tree bowl).

jstraw- I've skiied all over the place and Steamboat is one of my favorites. GREAT snow, no crowds and IMO the layout works because you essentially get 4 separate mountains/areas to play in. You can easily spend a day at each area, and they are each very distinctive. Tree & mogul skiing is great. The town is really nice and the base area although not really very nice looking is not too bad and has some pretty cool bars & restaurants.

I'll be back the 2nd & 3rd weeks of Feb.
Thanks!
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerpSKI
dallen,

Was the new Tequila's open last year? If so I would agree with your assessment, great food & 'ritas
If I recall correctly, I think they said they purchased the place in April of 2004.

--dan
post #13 of 18
TERPSKI,

How late in the year have you skied Steamboat? We will be there March5-12. How are the crowds this time of year. I have never skied the boat but have been all over CO/WY/UT. I have not skied colorado in a few years (we went to JH/UTAH) but we have heard Steamboat is not nearly as crowded as summit county. We were turned off of that area the past few years we were there b/c of the crowds.

As far as the lifts...I like the quick high speed quads but I think having a few ol school doubles (like alta) adds character to the resort. I was very upset when they removed all the old head bangers from breckenridge (double lift w/ pole in middle).

I am a big fan of moguls and tree skiing so Steamboat should be right up my alley. The trail map does not look very big but it seems like there are days of skiing to be had off the Pony Express/christmas tree bowl/North St. Pats area. Almost like a natural gladed area with unlimited different lines.

Thx for the help
post #14 of 18
bigbadwulf-

The trailmap is deceiving, Steamboat is much larger than it appears; its something like 3000 acres and thats without open bowls. (Nothing like Vail of course) And it is much less crowded than Summit county.

I haven't skied there in March, but from what I understand they do a pretty good spring break business, I'm not sure if anyone's spring break coincides with your visit.
post #15 of 18
Well, I skied there yesterday morning to be exact, and I disagree about the lift system. Other than the lifts in Sunshine family areas and the slow lift comming out of Cowboy Coffee, it has one of the best lift systems in Colorado.
About the Gondola,
There's no need to take all those people past Thunderhead anyhow. There's no retaurant up there anyhow. Al you have to do is ski down to Storm Peak express and get on. As far as Christmas Bowl goes, it's only a short hike from the Storm Peak Express. As most good ski areas go, the good stuff is usually a short hike. It would be just another run if there was a lift taking every Tom **** and Harry to the place.

I skied there last Monday as well and don't remember anything close to the four inches of snow you mentioned. The light was pretty flat though, maybe I missed it.

In defense of Steamboat, Toadman, you didn't happen to hit it at the right time. If you had, you would still be drooling instead of saying you wouldn't go back. But, if you don't, you're only making it less crowded for those of us who will be the better of for it.

And, for those of you who have a trip planned there, no worry. I'll bet you will love the place. Don't go for a first timer's description and opinion. Especially one who couldn't ski and enjoy himself because of a sprained anckle.
post #16 of 18
Why was the name **** sensored? It certainly wasn't used in the context of four words was it?

I totally disagree.
post #17 of 18
If my name was ****, would you have me change it?
post #18 of 18
You think maybe the "Is skiing better than sex" thread got the censors a little too stimulated?

Very strange.
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