7 Things to do in Steamboat Springs in the Winter

Plan your snowy escape with top winter activities everyone can enjoy in Steamboat Springs.

Man walking in the snow.
A modern living room at a vacation rental in Steamboat Springs, CO.

Ski, soak, and savor the season with a winter trip to Steamboat Springs. With 171 ski trails, 6 peaks, and 150 natural hot springs, this Colorado city is an adventurer’s paradise.

Steamboat Springs is located on the northern edge of Yampa Valley, an easy 3-hour drive from Denver, and accessible by Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Known for its “Champagne Powder®” snow and easy-going altitude (and attitude), this snowy retreat makes a fantastic winter destination, with plenty of things to do for families, beginner skiers, veteran skiers, and non-skiers alike.

With a cabin or ski-in/ski-out rental, you can race your friends and family down the slopes, then take your pick of après-ski activities, like a relaxing soak at Old Town Hot Springs, a delicious warm meal downtown, or checking out the city’s brewery scene. Plan your vacation in time to catch winter activities and events like the Holiday Market, the Cowboy Up Balloon Glow, and the famous Winter Carnival. Find frosty, family-friendly fun on your next mountain getaway.

The living room of a ski-in/ski-out vacation rental in Steamboat Springs. CO.

1. Hit the slopes

Featured Vacasa rental: Alpenglow Chalet

What is a trip to Steamboat Springs without a taste of its sought-after “Champagne Powder®” snow? Boasting over 4.6 square miles of skiable terrain, an annual snowfall of 314", and 3,600 feet of vertical rise, Steamboat Ski Resort is a world-renowned winter wonderland. Its longest run, coined 'Why Not,' is more than three miles long. Across Steamboat’s mountain range, you’ll find a diverse network of snowboarding and ski trails for every level of skill. Among visitors’ favorites are the Vagabond, Rainbow, and High Noon to Lower Noon runs.

For more winter fun, Howelsen Hill Ski Area is Colorado’s oldest continuously operating ski area, which has been in operation since 1915 and is famous for training Olympic athletes. Haymaker Nordic Center has 10 kilometers of groomed trails for cross-country skiing or Nordic skiing. Powder hounds looking for a little more excitement can practice their jumps, grabs, and tricks at the Mavericks Superpipe Terrain Park.

Steamboat Resort hot tub.

2. Soak in the hot springs

Featured Vacasa rental: First Tracks 4202

This mountain town not only brings lush winter snow but also the perfect balm for keeping warm in cold weather—nature’s hot tub. Steamboat Springs has over 150 natural hot springs, so why not sightsee one luxurious soak at a time? Located downtown, Old Town Hot Springs’s history dates back to the 1800s as a favorite hangout spot for early homesteaders. Today, it offers several spring-fed mineral pools to choose from, two waterslides, a fitness center, a rock climbing wall, a splash pad, a lap pool, and an adults-only spring.

Strawberry Hot Springs is another local go-to on the edge of Yampa Valley, just an 18-minute drive from downtown. Indulge in some spa treatment in these rejuvenating 104℉ waters and take in Strawberry Park’s beautiful stonework and surrounding mountain views. While Strawberry Hot Springs requires reservations beforehand, it’s worth it (and the drive) for the rustic, natural atmosphere that’s sure to set you at ease.

3. Non-ski winter activities

Not a fan of skiing? No problem. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy a Steamboat Springs winter. With snow waiting just outside your door, you can take your little ones out to make a few snow angels or build a snowman to greet you when you come to and from your vacation rental. Layer up in your coziest sweater and savor a snowy day through other Steamboat Springs winter activities.

Child on a snowtube in the snow.
Snow tubing

Sledding and snow tubing are some of the most tried-and-true family-friendly winter activities, and Steamboat Springs is sure to deliver. Challenge your kids to a race down Saddleback Ranch’s Yee-haw Hill, an area reserved and groomed specifically for tubing and high-flying fun. Relax on an easy day of adventure with the ranch’s tube towing system, warming lodge, and shuttle service to downtown Steamboat Springs.

Man ice fishing.
Ice fishing

Whether you’re a veteran ice fisher or a first-timer, Steamboat Springs, Colorado is a great spot to enjoy ice fishing. Tag along to an ice fishing adventure with services like heated fishing houses, underwater cameras, and transport.

Man snow snowshoeing .

Avid hikers know it just takes a change of shoes to keep enjoying the trails in winter. See Routt National Forest’s stunning snowy scenery on a range of backcountry trails, including Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Ski Touring Center, Emerald Mountain Quarry, and the Howelson Hill Ski Area.

Ice skates in the snow.
Ice skating

Skeeter's Ice Rink in Steamboat Square boasts an Olympic-sized rink, free to the public with their own skates. Skate rentals are also available, with both hockey and figure skates available for adults and children.

Skiers waiting for the lift in Steamboat Springs.

4. Après-ski downtown

Steamboat Springs’s walkable downtown area offers plenty of entertainment, from brewery tours to art galleries. Stop by an outdoor outfitter for any gear you might need or delight in a day of spa treatments to soothe aching muscles.

After a long day of fun, take your pick of places to chow down between coffee shops, taverns, family-friendly pizzerias and diners, brunch spots, taquerias, and cocktail bars once happy hour rolls around. Colorado, in particular, is renowned for their craft breweries and Steamboat Springs’s Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill is famous for its Alpenglow amber, brewed on-site.

During your stay, learn more about local artists and history on a tour through art galleries and museums. The Steamboat Art Museum showcases regional artwork and offers workshops and lectures open to the public. Check out the Tread of Pioneers Museum for a closer look at the region’s history, through exhibits on agriculture, skiing, and Native American artifacts. Steamboat Creates Historic Depot Art Center is another must-see spot for a gallery walk and community classes, held in an old train station.

You can easily fill a few days of activity downtown, thumbing through bookstores, hunting for a perfect thrift store find, or reveling in some spa pampering.

5. Attend a winter festival

Plan your Steamboat Springs winter trip in time for the town’s seasonal festivals and events. Though there are activities year-round to enjoy, like the Steamboat Marathon and 10K, Art in the Park, and Oktoberwest, the winter celebrations will surely add some magic to your snowy getaway.

The holidays are a great time to enjoy Steamboat Springs’s winter events. Throughout December, you’ll find activities like:

6. Sightsee from a new perspective

Not only is the city of Steamboat Springs scenic, but it offers several unique ways of sightseeing its natural beauty.

7. Stay at a ski-in/ski-out vacation rental

There isn't anything quite like staying at a ski-in/ski-out vacation rental in Steamboat Springs during the winter. Doing so grants you immediate access to the area's famous “Champagne Powder®” while keeping you close to the best après ski spots in the area. Explore the ski-in/ski-out rentals below for added inspiration.

Winter in Steamboat FAQ

The 2024 Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival will be held from February 7–11.

Non-skiers have no shortage of things to do in Steamboat Springs come winter, including sledding and snow tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, ice fishing, and of course, soaking in one of the many natural hot springs.

Winter travel inspiration