In one of Colorado's most scenic places, skiing is as fundamental as walking. Steamboat Springs is known as Ski Town USA, for having produced more winter Olympians than any other town in North America. So maybe it's no surprise that the local ski resort is one of the largest in the Centennial State, boasting four terrain parks, including the premier Mavericks Superpipe, "a freerider's dream," the resort says. And maybe it's no surprise that nearly half the terrain across Steamboat's six peaks has an advanced designation. Powder hounds seek the resort's choice stashes and big moguls. Still, families find fun here every year - and more awaits during the 2017-18 season with the new Outlaw Mountain Coaster, the country's longest alpine coaster track extending 6,280 feet.
Tree-skiing is the draw to Steamboat, where the area's famous "champagne powder" fills between the pines, completing your epic, bucket-list photo. If you're a beginner, take the Christie Peak lift to largely untouched corduroy on the lower portion of Mount Werner. Wide groomers await in "Wally World," popular for regular skiers and riders and unique for how blue runs aren't usually found so high from base. How about a 3-mile cruise? "Why Not" is the resort's longest run. Or how about a cruise netting you 1,100 vertical feet? That can be had at night, under the resort's new state-of-the-art lighting.
Skiable terrain: 2,965 acres
Trails: 165 (14 percent beginner, 42 percent intermediate, 44 percent advanced)
Average annual snowfall: 336 inches
Mountain stats: 10,568-foot summit, 6,900-foot base, 3,668-foot vertical
Check out: Strawberry Park Hot Springs, Saddleback Ranch guided snowmobile tours (starting late December), moonlit snowshoe tours and dinner (Friday and Saturday starting Jan. 6), Creekside Cafe, Mahogany Ridge Brewery, Carl's Tavern
Getting there: Off Interstate 70 heading west, exit for Colorado 9 north to Silverthorne. After 37 miles, turn west for U.S. 40 and follow to Steamboat.
More information: steamboat.com, 877-783-2628
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE