The ever present Texans...
With many flights into Steamboat Springs originating from Houston and Dallas there are a lot of Texans roaming around town in their over-priced, animal fur coats and boots. So, although it may be difficult with that drawl, don’t make fun of the Texans... I lived in Texas for a couple of years so I know how difficult it is to bite your tongues but ya’ll making fun of people is just not nice. Other than the Texans, people are quite laid back in Steamboat (after all it is a ski town); especially those in the service industry (i.e. shuttle drivers, bartenders, etc) who are also quite helpful when asked questions.
Snowboarding in Steamboat
"At the Gondola..."
Steamboat was a beautiful little place, but we were really there for the slopes. At the base of the mountain, the little shops and restaurants were perfectly picturesque. Although a little pricey, they made the whole experience more enjoyable, just for being there. It really looks like a movie scene there.
"Strapping on the bindings"
We made it to the top of the mountain and down we went! Steamboat has about a 3,700 ft vertical rise with a whole array of gondolas and lifts of every sort. There's a 13% beginner, 56% intermediate, 31% advanced split among the trails, so everybody can be happy. The mountain offers a "lower mountain ticket" which I highly recommend for beginners. We got lower mountain tickets ($38 cheaper) for every day but the last day, which made for a great time. The last day I got to go on the 3 mile green trail "Why Not" which I suggest everybody (even those with more experience) try out. It's got these great 180 turns where you can really cut into the snow and get a great view around the bend at the same time.
"Enjoying the green"
Some of the most enjoyable parts for me were just cruising down the greens (easiest paths). I was just a beginner at the time, so these beautiful trails that took 20 minutes to go down were right out of a dream. I could just float comfortably back and forth and get a feel for it. One of my favorite parts about Steamboat was the nice variation of trails. It's really nice to go down a hill that has some challenges, with "resting spots" in between where you can slow down a bit and prepare for the next steep spot.
At the top of the Gondola is the Thunderhead Lodge. Crazy people with lots of money can actually stay here, but we just visited to take pictures and see for miles around. Interesting to note is that this lodge is only halfway up the mountain. There's quite a bit to steamboat, and in 3 days we only saw each green trail a couple times on the lower half of the mountain. (The Lower Mountain ticket I mentioned will get you about 1/3 of the way up...you can't get to this station with it..) We didn't go any higher than this Lodge because all the trails higher than this are of higher difficulty.
"Lunch at 9,100 ft"
On the last day, we coughed up our $9 for chili in a bread bowl. Although kinda pricey, it was really good, and eating outside with a view like that made it worth the money. My boyfriend had the clam chowder and said it was fantastic as well.
By the end of the third day, this beginner was beat, so we took off a little early and went to the bar at the base of the mountain for live music and some really good fried calamari. That mountain air can really wear you out.