Cheers to 60 Years
Steamboat is more than a ski resort, more than a winter destination; it’s a way of life. Over a century ago, ranchers and cowboys used skis as transportation around the Yampa Valley. Now, snow play is what calls generations of skiers, and snow enthusiasts to northern Colorado. Celebrating 60 years as a ski resort, Steamboat is rich in history, steeped in western heritage and usually buried in Champagne Powder® snow.
The story of Steamboat Ski Resort begins long before trails were designated on Mt. Werner. In 1914 Norwegian ski legend Carl Howelsen rolled through the Yampa Valley as part of the Barnum Baily Circus, showing his talent for sliding off jumps on skis. Teaching local Steamboat youth that skis could be used for entertainment, instead of transportation, a platform was built in Strawberry Park, and thus began the tradition of Steamboat producing some of the best ski jumpers in the world. Howelsen’s love of winter was contagious and soon the Steamboat Springs was celebrating Winter Carnival, a tradition that remains one of the town’s most popular events more than 110 years later.
Once the town caught the ski bug, it was only a matter of time before people started eyeing the mountains as ideal slopes for skiing. The west facing hills, combined with the ideal pitch and topped with light fluffy snow made local ranchers drool. In 1961, after years of trudging up the hill by foot, Jim Temple and other local ranchers began the process of developing Steamboat Ski Area. In 1963 Storm Peak Mountain was opened with one Poma lift- the Cub Claw- and $2 lift tickets. The Werners a local family with a passion for skiing played a large role in the early years with matriarch Hazie operating Storm Hut, an outerwear shop, daughter Skeeter acting as the resort’s first ski school director, and sons Buddy and Bugs tearing up the slopes. Tragically, Buddy Werner, a world-renowned skier died in an avalanche in Europe; to pay homage to the local legend, the mountain at the resort was named in his honor- Mt. Werner, and a trail- Buddy’s Run, which remains one of the resort’s most popular trails today.
By the early 1970s Storm Mountain transformed into Steamboat Ski Area with five chairlifts and a restaurant and was fast becoming a prominent ski destination. Through the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s the resort’s trail system and lifts continued to expand and Steamboat morphed into the family-friendly world-renowned destination it is known as today. Steamboat has a long history of paving a new trail while staying true to its heritage and roots. The resort was home to Sherman Poppins the inventor of the snow surfer, the precursor to the modern snowboard; and was the first ski destination to offer Kids Ski Free.
On the cusp of Full Steam Ahead completion in 2023, Steamboat is poised to become the second largest ski resort in Colorado with 17 lifts including two gondolas, more than 170 trails and a new dedicated beginner’s area.
It’s our visitors and locals who have made Steamboat the unique place is, and will continue to hold a special place for generations to come.
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