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Expert Terrain in Steamboat.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

A friend of mine is trying to talk me in to a trip to Steamboat this spring.  Judging by the trail map online it looks like there is a decent amount of expert terrain but it also appears to be a real pain to access.  Is that really the case?  From what I can tell you need to ride up of storm peak then ski over the back side to the morning side lift in order to access Christmas Tree Bowl, etc. 

post #2 of 12

 Or you can walk up from Storm Peak or Bar UE lifts. We usually just ski down Morningside, though, from Bar UE, rinse and repeat. I have found that I don't like skiing all the way to Storm Peak -- Steamboat has some choke points that I don't appreciate very much. YMMV, of course.

post #3 of 12

cstreu, what you describe is true.  It's pretty good steep skiing in the chutes, but you can't lap it from one chair (at least not conveniently).  I happen to like the Morning Side lift area - usually uncrowded and stash-filled.  I don't consider it a big hassle at all to ride 2 lifts back up to hit the chutes.  I've never hiked all the way to the Christmas tree bowl area, so I won't weigh in on whether that's a PITA to get to.

post #4 of 12

Like the other posters have said, it is not really a big deal taking the 2 chairs back up.  The Morningside area is one of my favorite areas of the mountain and its a nice little detour on the way back to the chutes and Christmas Tree Bowl.  Plenty of steep tree lines can be found in the bowl which will provide a good challenge.  

post #5 of 12

I like Steamboat.  But if mid winter snow and expert terrain are important, I'd go somewhere else in the spring. 

post #6 of 12

Yeah, that's one thing I never liked about the Boat. They have this lofty 3,600 feet of vertical, but it takes three lifts to get there (gondola, ski down to Storm Peak, down the backside to Morningside) and then a 10-minute hike at the top. That expert terrain is really not situated for lapping. Go there if you don't mind spending a day or two doing some more mellow tree and trail laps, but if you just want to do steeps and chutes day in and day out, you'd be better elsewhere.


Unless of course your friend lives there and you have a free place to stay. IN which case, why even ask.

post #7 of 12

Steamboat in marginal conditions isn't that much fun.  Steamboat with powder is phenomenal.  You're right, the layout is funky and might as well have been done by a bunch of rednecks with chainsaws.  Would I ski there?  Of course.  Would I make it the number one choice if I could only choose one destination vacation for the year?  Probably not.

post #8 of 12
Originally Posted by vinn View Post

Steamboat in marginal conditions isn't that much fun.  Steamboat with powder is phenomenal. 

The truth.

post #9 of 12

Define "marginal condition" for the 'boat?

I'm not trying to be ironic. One regions marginal condition could be another regions "dump". What I'm trying to fanthom is what's the minimal condition that makes Steamboat enjoyable (short of lucking on a true powder day).


Contemplating a trip there at this very moment myself...

post #10 of 12

 Well, if it hasn't snowed in a long time, it's not terribly interesting. We went last Jan, a couple of days after a foot had fallen, so the first day or two we still found some nice soft snow in trees and other shaded areas, but the groomed stuff was horrible boilerplate. And, there was very little coverage, so a lot of the more interesting areas weren't skiable to begin with. I went once in late March (not the best time to visit, as it is lower altitude than most other CO hills), and we had a 50-degree day followed by a cold front that dropped 7 or 8 in. of fluff. Except that the warm day had turned everything to slush, which froze and then you had the fluff, so it was skiing frozen chickenheads with feather down on top (which didn't keep you off the chickenheads).


And maybe this is just me, but since it is such a destination place (few locals -- at least on weekends, when we've been there, as we're not locals either), there are a lot of, um, bad skiers. When conditions are tough, they scare me. You can't avoid them as easily as you can at most of the mountains I ski.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well after more consideration I am pushing to go to Utah instead. The 3.5 to 4 hours drive from Denver is a real turn off for me.  I can catch a flight out of Cincinnati first thing in the morning and be skiing in Utah by lunch time

post #12 of 12


Well after more consideration I am pushing to go to Utah instead.

Probably a wise choice.  Steamboat has sunny exposure so spring is not the best time there.

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