Generally good snow; Well-designed lift system; friendly employees
Out of state cars targeted for speeding tickets; Lift tickets are ultra-premium priced w/o correspondingly excellent infrastructure; on mountain food very expensive
This is my third trip to Steamboat — but first in over 10 years —and things have not changed for the better.
I was greeted with a $163 speeding ticket as I came down Rabbit Ears Pass into town in my rental car with Florida plates. This may have been less galling if I had not be passed by many vehicles while on the pass, and learning over the course of my stay that out-of-staters were disproportionately stopped. Not the greeting I was hoping for!
I had locked into my trip before learning that Steamboat’s lift tickets were $124 per day and the the only discounts available — and extremely modest ones at that — were for skiing more than 5 days or buying over the internet well in advance. While they are now priced like Vail and Aspen, the area by no means exudes the luxury and refined infrastructure. (I don’t need heated gondola seats or in-cabin wifi but I had to wonder why it was priced like it had such amenities.)
After being gouged on the lift ticket, the last thing I needed was another beat-down at the on mountain restaurants. $13.50 for Tuscan white bean soup in a bread bowl? No thank you.
I gave myself a cooling off period before writing this review, and want to be balanced. Steamboat seems to get a lot of snow, and always seems well-above average for Colorado. The tree skiing is justly renown. The gondola can get some nasty lines, but once you are up the mountain the lines are seldom much. It is a relatively vast area with a good deal of fun skiing, but then, it had better be because it is sufficiently remote that it is quite difficult to ski another ski area while staying in Steamboat.
There are many excellent ski areas in western North America, and I’m not sure that I will feel compelled to return to Steamboat any time soon given its expense.