We have been travelling to Steamboat for many years (it is a highly addictive resort – a great all round package) and Jnr’s 2nd trip (he turned two years old a few days ago).
A ski vacation with a baby/toddler isn’t quite the same as previous vacations, but it can be done. We just need to be very organised, do our research and adjust our expectations (to ensure that everyone has a great time.
Following flight schedule changes by United Airlines, we changed our plans to fly into Denver (instead of Hayden) and pick up the hire car from there. This is the first time that we have done this drive in many years and – with the aid of rather inefficient navigating by Hertz Neverlost satnav – it definitely reminded me of one of the reasons that I love flying into Hayden. The drive is ok, but flying into Hayden is so much more fun!
On arrival we checked into the Villas at The Sheraton: a very, very nice place to stay. The service has the typical Steamboat helpfulness and friendlessness (despite being a big chain hotel). We have a three bedroom mountain view condo (the parents-in-law are travelling with us) and it is spacious, well furnished and has a fabulous view straight up the ski mountain. The Villas have their own hot tubs which also have a fantastic view (from the roof of the building) and are very well maintained. The room service has been a very useful facility too. Ski storage is at Steamboat Ski and Sport and the ski in and ski out is pretty much effortless. The other great thing about the Sheraton is the number of restaurants/bars/stores within very easy walking distance.
As pre-arranged, groceries were delivered by the Steamboat Grocery Company and baby/toddler supplies (including a highchair and “tub of toys” were provided by Baby’s Away: all was already waiting for us at the condo. Ten out of ten for both services.
One of the first things that struck me was the improvements to the base area: the new walkways, new steps/ramp up to Torian Plum Plaza, the stage, the fire pit, new lighting etc are definitely a smart change to base area. The changes help to bring together the gondola square, One Steamboat Place and Torian Plum in a much more unified manner.
As far as skiing/snow is concerned, things have been good: we have had a few days of good snow and sunshine too. There are a few closed runs and a few runs that are a little (and I mean a little) patchy, but the skiing has been good and there is more than enough to keep this reasonably good intermediate skier very happy. The views have been beautiful too: a little more brush visible than in previous years, but still those stunning Steamboat vistas in every direction.
One surprise this year was seeing the Bashor area not landscaped as a terrain park, but (with the addition of the usual massive half-pipe, rails and knee-wobblingly-scary jumps next to the race course) has been left as a wide open bowl, which has been beautifully groomed each morning. So if you want the smoothest, emptiest slope to carve some huge graceful turns, then Bashor is worth a visit.
So far dining has been dependably enjoyable: Ragnars for lunch, Slopeside Grill and Stokers Bar. A particularly nice surprise was the breakfast egg sandwich at Stokers – very fresh and tasty: a good place to stop, on the mountain, for a late (or even second!) breakfast. Steamboat Smokehouse continues to be a good place for families. Dinner tonight was at Saketumi: the sushi and sashimi were as fresh and flavourful as ever – not to be missed if you like sushi and a very convenient stroll from the Sheraton.
Fresh sushi rolls at Saketumi (actually it looked even better than this, but we ate a couple of pieces before remembering to take a photograph!)
To be continued...