The best part of being in Steamboat with kids is the fact that there’s just so many ways to spend the day. The way our mountain meshes western hospitality with family activities makes this the perfect resort for children. And there’s no better way to bring out your inner child than to spend the day skiing with one or two.
I was fortunate enough this morning to be joined by my daughter (age 8) and son (age 5). They are both skilled enough on skis to manage most of the intermediate terrain on the mountain which allows us to explore some really cool runs. Our first few turns of the day were made down Flintlock and Quickdraw. The kids were immediately drawn to some of the more undulating mountain features you’ll find along the edges of the trail. “Woopdy-Doos” were the name of the game and as any self- respecting parent should do, I jumped at the chance to join in the fun. What I found most exhilarating about these little jumps along the tree line is the ability to get your skis in the air without any major concern of bodily harm. What I mean to say is that these mini launch ramps are safe enough for practically any age skier or rider to explore and conquer.
As we meandered our way back to the front side of upper mountain, my 5 year old pointed out a trail I’ve never skied before (or heck… never even noticed). If you make your way down from the top section of Why Not, just before you get to the Norther cut-off, look to your left and you’ll be surprised to see a nifty little cut-through in the woods. This trail must be a secret gem that only Kids Vacation Center instructors know about because, like I said, I have missed it completely for years now. But after entering the woods with a little apprehension, I was pleasantly surprised to find a winding run that took me over a gently rolling traverse and through a section of trees I really enjoyed. The trail eventually spits you out onto Rudi’s Run at the perfect spot to traverse across and pick up the Why Not trail once again. For anyone with kids, it’s DEFINITELY worth exploring.
Now the absolute best part of skiing with small children is the justification for a creamy, delicious hot cocoa at the end of the day. I suppose I’ve forgotten the innocent goodness of this skier’s delight over the years so it’s only with a kid’s enjoyment that I recall how good it really is. It brings me back to my first days on two sticks, trying to manage my way around a small Midwestern resort. Walking in the footsteps of a kid in Steamboat is something I feel all adults should do, if just for one day. For only then will you experience the sheer bliss of seeing our mountain in all its play-like glory.
So happy trails to all those young and young at heart!
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier