Hang time in Steamboat Springs
From now through April 2, Chicagoans can take advantage of American’s daily nonstop service from O’Hare. And not a moment too soon: The Steamboat/Hayden airport just completed a much-needed renovation, including the addition of a second baggage carousel, a full-service restaurant, and a roomier arrival area. Loaded with the locale’s delightfully light and dry snow, Steamboat Ski & Resort (877-783-2628, steamboat.com) is the sole operator on the 10,568-foot peak. There you can navigate famously gladed runs like East Face and North St. Pat’s, meander the three-mile Why Not trail, or boarder-cross (cross-country traversing for snow-boarders) the rolling hills in Sunbeam Terrain Park. After skiing, visit the boutique-scale downtown, which added 13 new restaurants last year, including stops for gourmet doughnuts (Milk Run Donut Cafe; 970-761-2023, milkrundonuts.com), specialty hot dogs (Hungry Dog; 970-819-2224, hungrydogofsteamboat.com), and local craft beer (Carl’s Tavern; 970-761-2060, carlstavern.com). Word to the wise: Steamboat Ski & Resort sporadically advertises its deal for 20 percent off lodging and lifts, but the discount is always available if you ask for it.
WHERE TO STAY
LUXE The Antlers, a ski-in, ski-out three- to five-bedroom mini complex located at the Christie Base lift, offers posh-lodge comforts and a boot-warming ski valet. From $828. 800-525-5502, steamboatresorts.com
BUDGET The iconic, family-friendly Rabbit Ears Motel is right across the street from a slide-enhanced water park powered by geological springs ($20 admission; steamboathotsprings.org). From $89. 800-828-7702, rabbitearsmotel.com
GOOD FOR GROUPS Inspiration Ridge, a new-to-market four-bedroom rental residence, lets parties of ten spread out across 2,910 square feet, warm up in the hot tub or in front of an on-site fire pit, and ski straight out the front door to runs easy enough for kids. From $1,260. 877-624-2538, movingmountains.com
Photograph: © Larry Pierce/Steamboat