Steamboat Ski Resort is a mountain that we've skied quite a few times. Below are our favorite spots and a loop that we love. To help you find these areas, we've marked up sections of the map to highlight our go-to spots. We describe each spot and then in brackets you will see the corresponding route color and map number.
No matter your skiing ability, we hope you have fun at Steamboat, we truly believe it is a mountain that has something for everyone to enjoy!
For our full trip report on Steamboat, click here.
Get your day started (intermediate/advanced skiers)
- If you're not a beginner, take the gondola up to the top. The gondola is new for this season, replacing an older, slower one. Don’t forget to enjoy the views and check out the expensive houses as you head up - which one would you want to live in?
- After admiring the new gondola exit signs (see picture below, we appreciate the efficiency), we headed straight to the base Sundown Lift via a mix of the Green, Blue and Blue-Black as our warm up run. [Purple, Map 1]
- If you need a couple Blue warm-ups runs, head to Four Points Lift or Storm Peak Express and try out the ones we marked on the map. Then head down via Storm Peak South at first, to Sundown Express Lift to begin our favorite loop. [Orange, Map 1]
Begin our favorite loop (intermediate/advanced skiers)
- At the top of Sundown Lift choose Biscuits or Gravy, they're great glades and often you can find a powder stash. [Pink, Map 2] Enjoy the trees and then take Bail Out to the base of the Morningside Lift. Here you will likely see people in the lift line holding a hand in the air, sometimes with some granola or bird seed in their palm. Then the birds will land on their hand. We don’t condone feeding the birds, and we don’t think the forest service would either but it's definitely some unique lift line entertainment.
- At the top of Morningside, take a lap down to the lift again if your legs aren’t ready for a very long run. (Today, we did a quick lap on Alarm Clock.) People always ask about the people hiking up the hill, I have never done the hike because I think there is plenty of good stuff without a hike. [Pink, Map 2]
- Steamboat has some great terrain for advanced skiers who like wider, more open trees (like my mom). It isn't very pitchy but is still super fun especially with powder. [Pink/Green, Map 2] If you don't like pitchy terrain or border on intermediate/advanced, just keep enjoying this part of the mountain instead of following the next part of the loop. Take Over Easy to Buddy's Run to get back to the front side when you want to try a different area. [See Map 2]
Finish our favorite loop (advanced skiers)
- If you do want to continue the loop, then head from the top of Morningside to my favorite run: Christmas Tree Bowl. It's a pitchy tree run (and usually you can find powder stashes). Make sure to stay together, because it's easy to get separated with so many ways to turn. I never pay attention to the other trail names just meander down as the terrain flattens out. It's just loose tree runs – and usually pretty quiet, almost like being in the backcountry without the hiking. Alternatively, you can take the Gully or the Chutes, they all feed into the same area. [Pink, Map 3]
- Find your way to Storm Peak Lift (or BAR-UE, if it's open). Now that you're back at the top you can take Storm Peak South to Sunset to Moonlight to start the loop again. [Orange, Map 3] You can also take Cheesy Grits or Frying Pan [Green, Map 2] back to the base of Morning Side Lift. But we prefer to head back to Sundown to start with Biscuits or Gravy.
- Repeat the loop and choose your own adventure each time. There are so many variations you could spend a whole day just skiing this loop!
Mellower options (intermediate/advanced skiers)
- As much as I love the loop above, my mom won’t ski Christmas Tree Bowl, since a traumatic time when she tried it back in the day. So last year, she showed me trees off Sunshine Express Lift. There are so many different places to explore there, that I could also ski these runs over and over. Off the lift, on skiers left take Sundial around the bend and then pop in any of the tree patches [Green, Map 4]
- The Blacks and Blue/Black skiers right of Sunshine Lift are also a ton of fun! Three O'Clock and Two O'Clock are usually bump runs and you can bounce in the tree run, between them. [Purple, Map 4]
Ending your day (all ski levels)
- The last run, taboo to talk about but we all have to do it one way or another. Every day at Steamboat ends on a Green run. Be aware and watch out for beginners and crowds.
- If you're on looker's right of the mountain/map, you will need to take the Elkhead Express. Then you can follow the Arc to Why Not, you'll find lots of fun whoop-de-doos on the side. [Pink, Map 5]
- If you want to start your decent from the bottom of Storm Peak Express, just follow the green trail all the way down past Pony Express, and Past Thunderhead Express. This traverse is long and fairly flat at times so keep up your speed (this was our way down this visit). [Green / Orange, Map 5] You'll pass the T-Bar at Steamboat which always looks like it has a fun après scene.
- To spend the shortest time on a Green run, take Heavenly Daze or Valley View to one of the Blues or Blacks that start at the top of the Christie III/Christie Peak Express. From there you will end up on Stampede (another Green run), if you ski this way you'll ski under the coaster. [Purple, Map 5]
- There are many ways to wind your way to the base of Steamboat - these are just some of the ways we have taken.
Options for everyone (beginner/intermediate skiers or mixed-skill groups)
- If you're a beginner, start your day with the Green groomers off of Christie Peak Express, Christie III and Burgess Creek Express lifts on the front. Then work your way to the other Green and Blue terrain on the mountain. If you're skiing with a mixed-skill group, head to the Sunshine Express. Beginners and intermediate rides can enjoy the Greens and Blues; expert skiers can enjoy exploring the trees and the Blacks. [Purple / Green, Map 4]
- We've never tried the "Ski with Billy Kidd" experience, but it definitely sounds like a neat opportunity. Just look for the sign at the top of the gondola to see if it's happening that day, it starts at 1 pm - it says the free clinic is on an intermediate trail. (see picture below)