Steamboat has long been known as a family-friendly ski resort, and having taught my two young kids how to ski here, I can certainly vouch for that! At age two, both of my boys began skiing in Steamboat, and now that they are ages five and eight, I have a solid list of the top ten ski runs for young kids in Steamboat:

  1. Tomahawk (Green)
  2. Why Not (Green)
  3. Rough Rider Basin (Green)
  4. Swinger (Green)
  5. Lil’ Rodeo Park/Mini Mav’s Pipe (easiest park option in Steamboat)
  6. Quickdraw (Blue)
  7. Broadway (Green)
  8. Moonlight (Blue)
  9. Baby Powder (Blue)
  10. Norther (Blue-Black, moguls)

There are of course the magic carpet areas and great ski school options in Steamboat for the most beginner skiers and riders, but once they progress to skiing in control and being able to stop on a dime, try out some of these top ten runs for young kids! I would recommend starting with the green runs, and when your child has mastered those and is ready for a little bit more of a challenge, try the blue runs and then Norther, which is a blue-black mogul run.

The photos below capture some of these top ten runs on past ski days with my kids (none of these photos were taken today). It is obviously a school day and they aren’t able to join me on the mountain today. We are still hoping for more snow in Steamboat, but have received five inches in the past week to freshen things up a little bit. Currently, the base is 43 inches at mid-mountain and 72 inches at the summit, so while it’s still solid, we’re all hoping for a powder day or two or more in the near future!

1. Tomahawk tops my list and is a run we’ve skied with our kids time and time again. If the initial pitch is a bit steep (Tomahawk Face, blue) take Sundial for an easier and green way to access the lower portion of Tomahawk. With rolling hills, a mellow grade, excellent width and views for days, Tomahawk is sure to please everyone in the family!
2. Why Not is the easiest way down from the top of the gondola or Thunderhead Express. Not only does it provide easy terrain for the more beginner skiers and riders as it winds through the forest, but it also provides an education on wildlife native to Steamboat. Look for all of the different brown signs along the way and learn a little bit about the wild animals that call Steamboat home.
3. Rough Rider Basin allows kids to ski through little buildings and practice riding up the Rough Rider Poma. It also has small jumps mixed in to give kids an extra giggle or two!
4. Swinger is just below Rough Rider Basin and takes you back down to the base area. It is one of my favorite runs to teach young kids how to carve turns with the perfect steepness and lack of other skiers and riders since it’s not a main thoroughfare to the base area.
6. Quickdraw is a great run to try after your child has mastered Tomahawk. It has steeper terrain at the top, but flows into a mellow gully towards the bottom. If you’re ready to try some trees, look for the Sunshine Olympian Trail to the right, tucked away in the trees.
7. Broadway is an easy green that takes you to the base of Elkhead and Sundown lifts. At the top, there are fun little jumps to the skier’s left that kids love to practice on. And did I mention the views, they certainly won’t disappoint!
8. Moonlight takes you from the Rainbow Saddle back down to Elkhead and Sundown lifts. The top portion provides a little more steepness with nice width (always a good combo for younger kids) and turns into a flowing gully towards the bottom with a fun lip on the skier’s right for older or more experienced kids.
9. Baby Powder is a fun little blue to the skier’s left of Tomahawk. It takes you through some trees (literally you can ski through one huge pine tree), over some fun little jumps and allows you to practice more mellow, un-groomed terrain.

My kids have approved this list since 2015, so I feel quite confident that your kids will enjoy these runs as much as mine have over the years!

Steamboat’s Outlaw Mountain Coaster (the top portion), as seen from Christie Peak Express.

Another thing unique to Steamboat is the Outlaw Mountain Coaster, the longest coaster in North America, stretching 6,280 linear feet. Kids love riding the coaster, and is something we often do at the end of family ski days (honestly, adults might love it just as much). Pair skiing these top ten runs for young kids with a coaster ride or two, and your child will have a dream day in Steamboat!

All smiles after a coaster ride or two – a great way to end a fun ski day!

Ski and ride with care and have a great day on the mountain!

Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier & Snowboarder

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