Steamboat Ski Resort in northern Colorado's Yampa Valley is at the foot of the mountain range comprising Mount Werner, Sunshine Peak, Pioneer Ridge and Christie Peak. Surrounded by working ranches, the area is a mix of both wild and mild West. Outside your door is 1200 hectares of ski terrain in the place that has trademarked "champagne powder", the term coined by a skier and rancher in the 1950s who commented that the snow tickled his nose like champagne. A 10-minute drive leads to the charming mountain town of Steamboat Springs, population 11,000, and home to free two-step classes on Wednesday nights at Shmiggitys.
Anyone clomping around a resort in heavy ski garb with children (sometimes tripping, overheating and melting down) will understand why One Steamboat Place could also be called "happy place". The superb positioning means parents and children can step from room, to lift, to private ski locker where a smiling valet hands over skis, poles and boots. From there it's just a few sweet steps across the heated pavement for the gondola ride into the mountains.
The sprawling but welcoming property owned by Timbers Resorts has a grand facade of steel, stone and wood with an outside heated lap pool and hot tubs, gym with ski-focused exercise equipment, in-house spa and a big games room. A number of residences are privately owned but the Great Room – a space of leather and velvet couches, stone fireplaces, artwork of skiing cowboys in chaps and floor-to-ceiling glass affording views down the valley – is for everyone. At apres-ski hour guests gather after a day on the slopes over a glass of hot chocolate, Argentinian malbec or local Schilling beer, and snacks for a mountain appetite including excellent pizza from the local Blue Sage pizzeria. The cosy Wine Room contains yet more couches to relax into and hotel and guest bottles are stored behind glass.
With a modern mountain feel, room 418 (also known as the Silver Creek Mountain suite) is more home than room, with rugs and cowhides covering dark wooden floorboards and deep leather couches. Four bedrooms comfortably accommodate king-size beds and queen bunks covered in throw pillows, wide-screen televisions and art work featuring subjects from giant brown bears to antique snow shoes. Four bathrooms with separate toilets are all stocked with Molten Brown pump packs. The master suite has a gas fire, grand carved bedhead on a bed you need to climb up into and steam shower. A dining table seats 10 and the living area, with electric fireplace and leather L-shaped couch, is the ideal place to watch the slopeside comings and goings, including the gondola and chairlift. For the self-caterer there's a spacious kitchen with Viking six-burner stove and double fridge. Overall, this is a generous space but it is actually modest up against the lodge penthouses, one of which is said to contain a priceless collection of native American artefacts.
While there's no restaurant on site, a substantial breakfast of cereal, muffins, bagels, fruit and tea and coffee is available to fuel up on before hitting the slopes. For dinner, book a Moving Mountains personal chef. After a long day on the slopes our chef, Samantha Smalley (the daughter of freestyle ski pioneer Park Smalley) breezes into our kitchen and prepares arancini, seafood ceviche, roast bison and creme brulee while sharing tales of this outdoor mecca.
With 18 lifts and 69 trails from green to double black diamond, skiers and boarders are spoiled for choice at the resort that has a friendly, family-focused vibe. To ease sore muscles after a day on the mountains, Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a short bus ride away for a soak in 40-degree natural springs surrounded by beech forest.
Skier or not, One Steamboat Place is an exceptional property for a stylish and eminently comfortable stay.
Steamboat is 267 kilometres north-west of Denver and about a three-hour drive, weather and traffic permitting. Seasonal flights operate from Hayden Airport, which is 40 kilometres from Steamboat Ski Resort. Moving Mountains manages 43 properties at One Steamboat Place as well as other mountain accommodations. One Steamboat Place, 2250 Apres Ski Way.
Fireside in the great room after a day on the slopes
The multiple corridors and lifts can be confusing; best to take a tour of the property on check-in
Jane Reddy stayed as a guest of Steamboat and Moving Mountains.