Wild Rides - Ski Season 12/13
By Christina Freeman
Steamboat Powdercats celebrates its 30th anniversary this winter. Photo Courtesy Steamboat Powdercats.
Soar, sled, saddle up or schuss. Five adrenaline rides let you blaze a new trail through the Yampa Valley and discover something different.
Take an adrenaline adventure as you squeeze the throttle and rocket across meadows blanketed in deep, fresh snow: Steamboat is powder paradise for the motorized set too. On a snowmobile, the surrounding Continental Divide’s thick forests and expansive high-mountain meadows promise plentiful snow, views to take your breath away and a chance to get the lead out. Guided tours range from two hours to all day – and no experience is required.
Steamboat was a ranching town before it became a ski town, so you don’t have to look far to find real cowboys. Climb atop a gentle horse and take a pristine two-hour tour into the deep, unbroken snow. Guided winter horseback rides showcase local ranchland and forests – with spectacular views over the surrounding peaks and the valley.
Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch | 970-879-3495 | www.steamboathorses.com
Saddleback Ranch | 970-879-3711 | www.saddlebackranch.net
Hot Air Balloon
Soaring at heights of up to 3,000 feet, hot air ballooning is one of the most coveted ways to see the local landscape. The Yampa Valley is renowned as a balloon pilot’s dream with “box winds” that keep flights contained in a circular pattern over the open valley floor. Bundle up and look straight down on the world below.
Wild West Balloon Adventures | 970-879-7219 | www.wildwestballooning.com
Let a team of Alaskan Huskies guide you through the Yampa Valley landscape. Tucked into a sled, watch the dogs’ steamy breath rise into the air as you take in views of the surrounding Flat Tops south of Steamboat or a working ranch west of town – and even try your hand at mushing on these tours operated by Iditarad mushers.
Grizzle-T Dog Sledding | 970-870-1782 | www.steamboatdogsledding.com
Ride up, then ski down through waist-deep powder on Buffalo Pass. Steamboat Powdercats offers an all-inclusive, day-long backcountry experience accessed by snow cats. Trips are separated by ability (intermediate, advanced and expert) to ensure the day is tailored to your skills. Steamboat Powdercats also provides fat skis and snowboards, precautionary avalanche beacons, guides, catered lunch, water and snacks.
Bonus! Try a moonlit powder ski. Monthly dinner ski outings are offered in conjunction with the full moon.
970-879-5188 | www.steamboatpowdercats.com