“Your trip to Colorado looked so cool but I don’t ski!”
That’s what everyone said after I returned from five days in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. And I had the same thought when I booked the trip. I went with friends but hadn’t been on skis in 10 years!
But there is plenty to do in Steamboat Springs, even if you don’t ski.
When We Went: January 27 – 31, 2016
Where We Stayed: An Airbnb just 2 blocks from the base of Steamboat Ski Resort
Our house was great! There were six of us total and the house had more than enough room for all of us. And it had one of our necessities: a hot tub!
Pro Tip: Look into flying to actual Steamboat if you’re planning a trip. We flew into Denver and it was a three hour drive with no traffic! It takes away almost a full day of your trip to do the drive. Plus we had to pay for a
Where We Bought Weed: Medicine Man
You know you were thinking it! Marijuana is legal in Colorado. EVERYWHERE. You can smoke it on the street if you want. Just don’t drive! Our first stop after picking up the rental car was a weed shop called Medicine Man. It was less than a 10 minute drive from the airport and had quite a selection. I’m not a big smoker but the group I was with definitely took advantage!
What We Did
Snowmobiling with Steamboat Snowmobile Tours
Because my friend Chelsea and I hadn’t skied since we were 15, we wanted to explore some other winter activities.
We booked a snowmobile trip with Steamboat Snowmobile Tours for later that afternoon. Our tour was 2.5 hours long and included a guide and some hot chocolate and treats after. They offer a pickup but unfortunately they didn’t pick up from where we were staying. Plus it was a little last minute! We booked the tour just that morning. It was only a 15 minute drive to them from the base of Steamboat.
We had a GREAT tour with an awesome guide. We took it slow through the trails to start but then he brought us to a wide open field where we got to go buck wild and as fast as we wanted. I had never driven a snowmobile before but our guide made me feel totally at ease.
He took us to an overlook where we could not only see far into the distance but we also saw where professional snowmobilers go to practice. Guys who compete at the X Games come here to jump off cliffs into the powder. We saw a few people going up the cliffs but weren’t lucky enough to see anyone jump. Next time!
He took us through the trees on narrow paths where only one snowmobile could fit on the path. Before heading back to the lodge for free hot chocolate, we stopped in the woods where there was about five feet of snow where he showed us how to jump off our bikes into the deep powder.
The rest of our group who went skiing that day were insanely jealous of our day. If you find yourself in Colorado and you’re not a big skier, it’s definitely an activity to check out.
The second day of our trip was dedicated to skiing. It was the only day Chelsea and I were planning to ski since we hadn’t been on a mountain in 10 years.
Where We Rented Skis: Fleischer Sport
Half of our group was spending most of their time skiing so they also picked up their rentals. We rented from Fleischer Sport and I have to give them a shout out because they were awesome! They gave us free beers when we picked up our ski stuff and gave us great recommendations of what to do, where to eat and where to go out at night. So thanks to the guys in there for being so cool!
I was terrified that I would either get hurt or be insanely embarrassed by how horrible of a skier I was.
Flash forward to two runs later and I was a freaking PRO! OK maybe not a pro exactly, but I was whipping down the mountain having a great time. I was even better than Alice who had skied all day the day before (sorry Alice, had to go there ;-)). We ended up talking to some Steamboat photographers at the top of the mountain and they asked us what our plan for the day was.
“We’re going to stick to green circles,” the girls said.
“Yeah, I’m going to do green circles and one black diamond,” I said.
The photographers looked confused. But I was determined to get down at least one black diamond.
And one black diamond I did! The last run of the day, I skied not one but TWO black diamonds on my way to the bottom.
You can take the girl off the mountain but you can’t take the skier out of the girl…or something like that. Basically, I was really impressed with my skiing skills.
Dog Sledding with Grizzle T Dog Sled Tours
Our last full day in Steamboat was saved for dog sledding, an activity I knew I had to do before we even arrived in Colorado. Unfortunately, it was also the day with the worst weather. The tour company recommends you dress how you would for skiing and we were very happy that we did! Hats, gloves, goggles, snow pants…we had it all on.
We organized our dog sledding experience through Grizzle T Dog Sled Tours. They picked us up from our Airbnb and drove us about 30 minutes away from the mountain to the back country of Steamboat. We were a little surprised at first by what we saw. There were what seemed like 100 dogs all tied up outside to chain fences with nothing but a blue plastic container to sleep in. These dogs are Alaskan huskies who are used to freezing temperatures but it still wasn’t what I was expecting. But our guides informed us that most of the dogs sleep outside their containers.
When the dogs realized they were about to do a run, they started going BUCK WILD. They were jumping up and down and howling and jumping on top of their containers. They were just going ape shit. I fell in love with an older dog named Sage.
Our guides gave us instructions while the dogs were attached to the sleds. We got to drive the sleds ourselves which was pretty cool. We started with one person in the sled, completely covered by blankets and one person standing, driving the sled. It was absolutely freezing. And it was snowing so hard on our sled tour that we couldn’t see anything. My hair was frozen solid. But it made us feel like we were in the real Iditarod so we were OK with it!
The tour was about two and a half hours in total. It was really hard to steer the dogs. We were in last place with our sled and our dogs just wanted to beat the dogs in front of them so badly but we weren’t allowed to pass. So we kept having to jump on the brake to slow our dogs down. It was a workout! And a really cool experience overall.
Where We Ate:
The Truffle Pig: Located at the base of the mountain in Steamboat. We had some bomb ass truffle fries but it was pretty pricey. Nice atmosphere and good size menu.
The Original Chipotle: I love Chipotle. I eat it 3 times a week I love it so much. Lunch, dinner, hungover, 11am right when they open. I’ll go whenever! The FIRST EVER Chipotle is in Denver. It was slightly out of the way on our drive back to the Denver airport but I had to make the stop. Anyone who knows me knows how addicted I am to Chipotle so I was very eager to have a burrito at the origin of my beloved.
Where We Partied:
Schmiggity’s: A bar along the main strip of Steamboat Springs filled with ski bums, some other tourists and fun live folk music!
Strawberry Springs: The guys in the pro shop at Steamboat recommended going to the Strawberry Springs hot springs after dark. It’s natural hot springs that are basically a large hot tub that turns into “a party” after hours. Some of our group was a little skeptical but the rest of us convinced them that “When in Steamboat.”
The drive to the hot springs was a little sketchy along dark back roads but we made it. We paid $15 to enter and then headed down a completely pitch black, slippery path to the springs. The guys at the pro shop weren’t kidding. This place turns into a party. You couldn’t see anything, not even what was right in front of you. There were zero lights and we heard that some people were naked. I would have liked to see the springs during the day but it was really cool to see the perfectly clear stars.
When I hopped on my friends’ trip to Steamboat, I had no intension of skiing every day and I was very pleasantly surprised to learn there is so much more to do than ski. While Steamboat may not be as big as Vail or Aspen, there are so many activities for non-skiers that you will never find yourself bored! Now I just need to get back to Colorado during the summer so I can do some hiking. I shall be back!