● By Dan Greeson
Nika Cranmer stops on her fat bike to admire the view of Steamboat Ski Area from Blackmere Road on Emerald Mountain. Photo by Nika Cranmer.
Learn to drive your own dog sled across snow-covered pastures or sit back and let someone else do the mushing. The scenery is spectacular and being around the dogs is typically a hit with all ages. Warm cider and cookies or a hot toddy for grownups are served after the ride. Grizzle-T Dog & Sled Works is family-owned and -operated with two locations on the outskirts of town. Open seven days a week. Shuttle service is provided. www.steamboatdogsledding.com / 970-870-1782
Pump up your adrenaline by cruising through the backcountry at speed. Zip over meadows, wind through forest trails and climb to spectacular viewpoints without meeting a soul. A number of experienced operators offer half- or full-day trips on Rabbit Ears Pass or in North Routt. Packages including dinner and cabin stays are also available. Tours are recommended for beginners.
Those with their own sleds have 146 miles of groomed trails to explore through Routt National Forest, Steamboat Lake State Park and along County Road 129. Find designated trailheads at Steamboat Lake State Park Marina, the end of Seedhouse Road and the Columbine Quarry at the intersection of County Road 129 and Forest Service Road 550. The east side of Rabbit Ears Pass is designated for snowmobilers only. See Snowmobile Guides and Rentals, VG 55.
Experience Steamboat’s legendary powder without the crowds. Spend a day leaving your own lines in untouched snow with Steamboat Powdercats. Climb back uphill in a comfortable heated snowcat with skilled backcountry guides who help you navigate the day’s terrain. Enjoy a catered lunch in a warm log cabin or eat on the go in the expert cat. Strong intermediate and advanced skiers are suited for Powdercat skiing. www.steamboatpowdercats.com / 970-879-5188
Get behind the wheel of a Lexus and let a professional instructor guide you over snow-packed tracks and around icy bends. Multiple tracks offer a variety of elevation changes and slick terrain. A shuttle leaves from the school’s office in the Steamboat Grand. The school is open daily from mid-December through the first week of March (closed Christmas). www.winterdrive.com / 800-949-7543
Imagine sledding without the hard work of climbing back to the top to do it all again. That’s what it’s all about at the family-owned and -operated Saddleback Ranch, or city-owned Howelsen Hill. Rent a tube and let tows do the hard work. Shuttle service to and from Saddleback Ranch is provided.
www.saddlebackranch.net / 970-879-3711
www.tubingsteamboat.com / 970-819-8010
Feel the essence of winter solitude while fishing for rainbow and brown trout at the tailwaters of Stagecoach Lake, located 16 miles south of town. Getting there requires hiking or hiring a guide and snowmobiling in through the Sarvis Creek area to fly fish below the dam. Dress warmly with plenty of layers and a hat. See Fishing Outfitters, VG 55.
Avid cyclists can keep wheels turning in winter by riding a fat bike. Designed as a super-sized mountain bike, fat bikes have large-tread tires that cruise over snow. Trails are available at Howelsen Hill and Catamount Touring Center for a daily fee. Cyclists are requested to remain cognizant of snow conditions to avoid damaging the multipurpose trails.
Kick back in a Western saddle and take a ride through Steamboat’s iconic ranchland. Guides love to share tales of the area’s heritage while sauntering over snow-covered fields.
Del’s Triangle 3 Ranch www.steamboathorses.com / 970-879-3495
Saddleback Ranch www.saddlebackranch.net / 970-879-3711