Steamboat — Mountain layout
Steamboat is a gigantic ski area with everthing from wide-open, gentle learning slopes to steep, powder-filled tree stashes. It is a perfect mountain for anyone learning to ski powder or trees. The cruising runs are wide and wonderful. Heres a larger, more detailed trail map.
Expert descents here mean trees, bumps in trees and short, sweet bump runs. There are a handful of double-diamond tree runs off Mt. Werner, but they
Elsewhere on the mountain, don be shy about ducking into the trees, like the space between Concentration and Vagabond on the lower part of the mountain or the “Twisticane” trees between Twister and Hurricane. Once you start looking, youll see that the entire mountain is one big skiable forest.
The 260 acres that make up Pioneer Ridge off the Pony Express lift have gained a local fan club with long, winding runs. Its fun because Steamboat shied away from the straight-down cut and went with the terrain angles here.
Among the great cruisers are the blue trails from the Sunshine and Sundown Express lifts (locals call this area “Wally World”), Vagabond and Heavenly Daze off Thunderhead Express. The blue runs served by the Sunshine Express also have spots where beginning tree skiers can practice. If crowds build in any of those areas, move lower on the mountain and take laps on the intermediate runs reached by the Bashor and Christie chairs, which often are deserted.
Longhorn, off Pioneer Ridge, is a locals favorite with unparalleled views of the Yampa Valley. Skiers and riders can duck in and out of the lodgepole pines that border both sides of this run.
On many of the black-diamond runs, although the terrain has steep spots and the moguls get pretty high, the trails are generally wide, allowing ample room for mistakes and recoveries. Westside, a black trail below Rendezvous Saddle, is steep but usually well groomed. Its a good starting point for intermediates who wonder if they can handle the other black runs.
With the exception of some gentle terrain served by the Bashor and the new Christie Peak Express six-pack chairlift, most of the green trails above the base area are cat tracks. Wally World, between the Sunshine and Sundown chairs, has gentle blue runs that often attract classes; you have to watch out for and forgive skiers and riders who can turn and stop. Many of the green runs are narrow. Some intersect higher-ability runs where bombers sometimes use the intersection as a launching pad for the next section, and a few have slightly intimidating drop-offs on the downhill side. If beginners are part of your group, encourage them to enroll in a clinic so they will have a pleasant experience.
A successful first-time experience—especially for adults—depends on two things: great instruction and suitable, uncrowded terrain. In the past, weve said Steamboat rates highly on the former, but not on the latter. However, as part of the resorts $40 million investment in improvements, the inappropriately-named Headwall near the base area was regraded in summer 2007 to improve the learning experience. This learning terrain, at the base of the mountain is separated from other traffic and lets novices totally concentrate on the fun.