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Snowy Season Getaway to Steamboat Springs : Celebrate Winter + the West in this Colorado Mountain Community | By Kaitlin Emig

Last Updated: January 16, 2024By

Imagine snow up to second story windows, icicles hanging from gutters that look like frozen waterfalls and snow piled up in vacant lots so high it would be a new ski hill. This was Steamboat Springs during the 2023 winter when they received record-breaking snowfall. By April, Steamboat Resort recorded 448 inches of snow that season! With all the hype of powder day refills and aspen glade trails, I needed
to see what this quintessential Colorado mountain town was all about.

My trip was simply planned — ski, eat, soak, sleep. What more could one ask for when there are 2,965 skiable acres to learn and find one’s new favorite secret-not-so-secret spot? My not-so-secret spot was the aspen glades between Quickdraw and Flintlock. Yours might be one of the breakfast themed names off Morningside Lift like Hot Cakes or Rooster. Or, maybe you’ve skied over to T Bar to celebrate après off the BC Ski-Way. I visited Steamboat Springs on a cold February morning that turned into a warm and sunny afternoon, followed by a clear night soaking under the stars. Steamboat Springs is a perfect snow-filled getaway. However, there is so much more to offer than my simple itinerary.

Winter Carnival and WinterWonderGrass are hosted in Steamboat Springs in the heart of the winter season. For 2024, the Winter Carnival will be February 7-11 and WinterWonderGrass will be March 1-3. Annaleigh Bonds, communications and administrative manager for the Steamboat Springs Chamber, feels these winter festivals are catered to different audiences, but both offer unique ways to experience winter in Steamboat Springs.

winter wonder grass steamboat springs

WinterWonderGrass. Photo by Molly McCormick.


“Winter Carnival is a family community event that started in 1914. It highlights Steamboat Springs’ western and ski heritage through various winter sports events that happen at Steamboat’s original ski area, Howelsen Hill, and other areas downtown,” she says. Watching skijoring, where skiers wearing cowboy hats and chaps are pulled behind a rider and horse over snow, might be one of the most Colorado things to do at this event.

winter carnival steamboat springs

Winter Carnival is a family community event that started in 1914. It highlights Steamboat Springs’ western and ski heritage through various winter sports events that happen at Steamboat’s original ski area, Howelsen Hill, and other areas downtown.

There wouldn’t be Rocky Mountain music if there wasn’t bluegrass, and no better than paired with a day of skiing and a night of dancing. WinterWonderGrass, in its 11th year, gathers bluegrass fans from around the country. “It’s an exciting weekend when guests and locals can enjoy multiple days of both skiing and music at the resort and all throughout Steamboat,” says Bonds.

When thinking about the eating portion of my simple itinerary, I visited one of the on-mountain lodges for a late lunch, which allowed me to keep to my main objective for the day. However, there are many great eateries around town. “Steamboat Springs is known for its diverse and robust food scene, and the opportunities for flavor are endless,” says Bonds. Her local’s advice is to visit The Shack Café for a relaxed breakfast, Yampa Valley Kitchen for locally sourced foods and Ore House for a classic western steakhouse experience.

My other main objective was visiting Strawberry Park Hot Springs, and after a full day skiing, nothing else seemed more relaxing. The easiest way to get there is through the local shuttle companies — The Hot Springs Shuttle and Sweet Pea Tours — to avoid travel on a
wintry 4×4 road. Reservations for Strawberry Park are required, and I highly recommend wearing sandals since the paths are wet, icy and salted.

“The hot springs are a true winter paradise,” Bonds says. Watching the steam float above the hot pools has an ethereal vibe against a canvas of white aspens covered in snow.

If your itinerary differs from mine or you have an extra day, Steamboat Springs has many interesting places to shop or sightsee. Bonds recommends visiting the historic F.M Light & Sons, Steamboat Hatter, Steamboat Art Museum or one of the many art galleries that line Lincoln Avenue.

Lastly, you might be looking for a place to lay your head after your adventurous day. Try out the new Gravity Haus, located right next to the gondola at Steamboat Resort. Or, if visiting during one of the festival weekends, look for lodging within walking distance of downtown.

Whether your itinerary is planned or more free flow, a visit to Steamboat Springs will lead to expansive views of snow-covered mesa tops, potential moose encounters and a slight urge to don a cowboy hat and boots on your next trip there.


Originally published in Winter + Spring 2023-24 issue of Well.

Gear for Your Snowy Season Getaway:

High Water 50L Duffel $329 


Everything you need for a weekend getaway will fit in here, no problem! This pack can be switched from backpack to duffel and back again with ease — the perfect weekender bag. The High Water Series from Mystery Ranch are designed with complete water tightness in mind making sure all your gear stays safe and dry for all the weekend fun ahead.

Nomadix Original Towel $39.95 

Nomadix Original Towel $39.95

Whether you are hitting the hot springs, staying at an Airbnb, or just want to keep the car dry when you take off your gear after a killer powder day — you need this towel. It is extremely absorbent, quick drying, and easy to pack! It’s sand-resistant, funk-resistant, pet-hair resistant and made with 90% post-consumer recycled polyester. You won’t be going anywhere without it from here moving forward!

Yakima SkyBox NX $799.99 

yakima sky box

Did someone say road trip? The SkyBox NX by Yakima is a sturdy and reliable storage box for the adventurer on the go! No more putting your wet skis and snowboards in the car, no more making friends squeeze in around the bags and winter gear. Make the investment, you won’t regret it!


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