9. Steamboat, Colorado

Steamboat is renowned for its fluffy snow¿which they’ve even trademarked as Champagne Powder¿and endless trees that shelter the natural treasure from the wind to make it last a long time. The resort has 260 acres of glades with no grooming called Pioneer Ridge¿it’s reached by The Pony Express high-speed quad.

The ‘Boat’s terrain is very snowboard-friendly. There’s very little traversing, and fall-lines are good on all the runs so you end up right at the chair without any hassle.

Steamboat offers plenty of man-made terrain to session as well¿Mavericks terrain park in Big Meadow and the Dude Ranch halfpipe in the Bashor area. A park for kids called The Beehive is located on Giggle Gulch.

Grooming at the resort is phenomenal, with nice wide runs for carving. Tom Sims still raves about what a great time he’s had arcing turns here.

Steamboat is a great environment for families, and its children’s programs always rate highly. The town is about three miles from the resort and the bus ride is free. Steamboat is still a working community¿many of the people running the resort are ranchers and miners during the off-season¿and has a very comfortable atmosphere. It’s Old West enough to be interesting, but modern enough to be convenient.

Unlike some of the ritzier Colorado resorts, like Beaver Creek and Aspen, Steamboat is casual¿when you dress up to go out, it’s clean jeans and a flannel shirt.

For accomodations, there’s a new 80-million-dollar Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel just steps from the base of the mountain.

Come for the powder, but stay for the people. Steamboat’s doors are always open.