Saturday, February 17, 2024

Adventures in Steamboat 2024

I didn't intend to go over two weeks between posts.  But I've been busy.....traveling to different ski areas.  My buddy Kim and I bought IKON passes this year.  For those not into skiing, this pass gives users 5 days each at over 40 different ski resorts throughout the US and even internationally.  After finalizing our pass purchases, Kim and I immediately began scheming what resorts we could visit. 

Steamboat base area

Steamboat ski resort, located in northern Colorado, quickly rose to the top of our list.  Having visited its beautiful slopes several times (most recently eight years ago) Steamboat was an obvious favorite.

First day near the Thunderhead Lodge

So, way back in August, Kim and I booked flights and reserved lodging at Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a half week in mid-January.  Although at the time, January seemed far away, it didn't take long for our chosen dates to arrive.

Selfie with a foggy background

We planned three days of skiing on Steamboat's lovely, aspen-lined slopes.  After flying in on a Saturday afternoon, and braving the luggage carousel nightmare at its tiny airport (they had two airplanes worth of skis unload into one tiny chute - with about fifty people climbing over each other to retrieve their bags!) Kim and arrived at our cozy condo.  We fell asleep with snowflakes dancing in our heads - tomorrow we'd ski!

Views were a bit limited

Sunday dawned - overcast and foggy.  Not ideal conditions, but we came here to ski and ski we would.  After boarding a shuttle from our lodging we arrived at the Steamboat base area.  Kim and I then hopped into the Steamboat Gondola, which whisked us halfway up the mountain.

Moose on the loose!

Even though visibility was a challenge, we made our way to some of our favorite runs.  I was amused by a sign cautioning visitors of a resident moose, who apparently was living in the middle of the resort.  (Thankfully, we there were no moose encounters during our stay!)

Skiing back to the base area after day one

Kim tired out before I did, so she rode the gondola back down to the base area, while I took a few more runs.  After another hour on the slopes, I made my way towards the bottom, skiing a very long trail that followed the gondola.  Although the clouds and fog persisted, I still got a few views of the town of Steamboat Springs, spread out in the valley below.

We celebrated with well-earned beers!

Reuniting with my friend, we clomped around the base area in our ski boots, in search of food and beer.  We found both in a nearby restaurant that cooked up some delicious burgers and fries.  Or maybe they tasted so good because we were starving!

Day two - still cloudy

The second morning, Kim wasn't feeling well, and opted to stay back at the condo.  Skiing solo today, I took the shuttle back to the mountain.  After another gondola ride to the mid-mountain, I opted to try some runs off of both the Storm Peak Express and Morningside lifts.

But the views were great!

Although the skies were still cloudy, there was no fog so visibility was better.  And - surprise - about three inches of fluffy powder had dropped overnight.  I had a great time zipping through the freshies, before everything got tracked out.

A bit of new snow to shush through

There's nothing better than skiing through a coat of new-fallen snow, and I had a most excellent morning.

Loved all the aspen trees that lined the slopes

When I ski solo, I don't stop for breaks as often.  So it didn't take long for my legs to start protesting.  A nearby mid-mountain lodge provided a perfect spot take a breather.

Skiing towards the Four Points Lodge

After my first break, I tried to stop a little more frequently.  Taking photos of the amazing scenery provided the perfect excuse.  Not wanting to tote around a big camera while skiing, I employed my cell phone for the task.  All these photos were taken from my phone, which I discovered has a pretty decent camera.  My phone's photo editing app isn't bad either!

More aspen views

One of my favorite subjects was the forests of aspen trees that lined many of the slopes.  This place must be drop-dead gorgeous in the fall when they all turn golden!

Looking across to the Thunderhead Lodge

Enjoy some more of the fantastic Steamboat scenery.......

Another scenery selfie

The liftys had built this cute snowman!

At the bottom of the Thunderhead Express lift, the liftys (ski terminology for the folks who run the ski lifts) had built this adorable little snowman, complete with hat, jacket, gloves, scarf, skis and ski pass!

Riding up the Thunderhead Express

Riding up the Thunderhead Express, one crosses paths with Steamboat's newest lift, the Wild Blue Gondola. 

The resort photographer took my picture

Kim texted me that she was feeling better, so I suggested she meet me at the resort base area.  Making my way back, I passed by a resort photographer who had no customers.  The poor guy looked bored so I skied up and asked if he'd take some photos of me.  We had a great conversation, and when he was finished, the photographer generously offered to take a couple of pics with my phone.

Skies began to clear as I skied back to the base area

Then it was down, down, down the main run to the bottom once again.  Today, the skies were much clearer and I got better views of the valley below.  It's a long, steep trail to the very bottom and after several hours of skiing my legs were already tired.  It required many rest breaks before I finally reached the base area.  But it's such a fantastic run!  Probably my favorite here at Steamboat.

Such amazing views!

Kim was waiting at a nearby pub and we had a beer and a then truly terrible lunch from the nearby food court.  If you ever go to Steamboat, I don't recommend eating at the Range Food and Drink Hall.  Not only was everything overpriced, I had the worst burrito I've ever eaten.

Beautiful sunrise to start day 3

Our final ski day dawned with a lovely pink sunrise, which I tried to capture out our condo's window.  I took it as a good omen.

Aboard the Wild Blue Gondola

Kim was feeling better, so I had a ski buddy once again!  We boarded the Wild Blue Gondola, which whisked us away to the mountain's very top.  It was a lovely sunny, blue-sky day, and although a bit chilly, we welcomed the sunshine.

Gondola views

The Sunrise Express area is one of our favorite places to ski at Steamboat, so Kim and I headed directly to the many different trails near this lift.  

Lovely blue skies near the Sunrise Express

All the runs were groomed perfectly, and we had a great time gliding down the perfect corduroy.  Starting early, we had the trails to ourselves for a wonderful half hour before the crowds began showing up.

It was wonderful to actually see the scenery

The aspen trees looked amazing in the sunshine.  More photos may have been taken....

A Steamboat ambassador took this photo

We skied for a couple of hours until our legs protested.  Day three for me, my body wore out much quicker than the previous days.  So we took more frequent breaks, trying to prolong our energy.

Can't get enough of these pretty aspens!

It was such a beautiful day, I didn't want to quit!  But eventually both Kim and I's legs became rubber.  From experience, I knew that continuing to ski with a tired body is how accidents happen.  So we both reluctantly cried "uncle" and decided to call it a day.

Kim skis by

Instead of skiing the long trail down to the base for a third day in a row, Kim and I decided to ride the gondola instead.  Without clouds obscuring our view, we were able to enjoy the stunning scenery to its fullest.

Action shot courtesy of Kim

Lots of people enjoying the day

Valley views

That night Kim and I explored downtown Steamboat Springs.  The business area is very cute, with Christmas lights lining the streets.

Downtown Steamboat Springs at night

Another small ski area called Howelsen Hill is located adjacent to the downtown core.  Featuring night skiing, we could see the lighted runs down one of the side streets.

Howelsen Hill Ski Area

The week before we arrived Steamboat Springs got hit with several snowstorms and received over four feet of snow.  The white stuff was still piled up everywhere, and sidewalks had been tunneled through snowbanks.  Guess our timing was good! 

The town received four feet of snow the prior week - snowbanks were everywhere!

What had been a fabulous trip had a not-so-fabulous ending.  Our flight home was routed through San Diego, with a very short layover.  The airplane we were to take from Steamboat Springs to San Diego was delayed getting to the airport because of heavy snow.  We waited over two hours before departing Steamboat Springs, and by that time had missed our connecting flight.  The only flight we could get to Portland didn't leave until the following day.  So Kim and I ended up with an unexpected overnight stay in San Diego.  Sadly we arrived late and left early, so didn't get to see any of the city.

I loved the downtown area

Despite the return trip mishap, it was great to revisit a favorite ski area.  Kim and I joke about our trips as the "adventures of Kim and Linda."  I've even started using that hashtag when I post photos on Facebook.  (If you're curious, check it out.)  This one was certainly that and more!  

On to the next ski trip - which I'll post about soon!


  1. Excellent pictures--- a wonderful sharing of a good time.

  2. ...thanks for sharing your winter wonderland. Until recently we we have had a snow drought.

  3. Good for you! I love that you did this and your picture are beautiful. I am with you though, there is just something special about aspens, those pictures were my favorite.

  4. Steamboat has gotten the most reliable snow this season in CO. However, finally Breckenridge is saying it's at nearly average snowpack. I just love all the tree runs in Steamboat. It looks so uncrowded there compared to Breck! Glad you had fun. Our son and two grandsons just returned from 10 days skiing in Japan - great snow and no crowds. However, the long flight is a bummer!

  5. Each day wonderful, but your blue sky day 3, is stunning and for me magical!

  6. Beautiful photos! I’m glad you had a good time.


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