I don’t particularly enjoy having a birthday that lands during a drab, cold time of year and one that’s also overshadowed by Christmas, but there is one thing I love about having a December birthday – SNOW!!! Every year when my birthday comes around, I get excited to plan a trip to a Colorado mountain town in hopes of getting this blissful birthday present.
For my previous three birthdays in 2016, 2017, and 2018, I was spoiled with repeat trips to Telluride, my favorite mountain town in Colorado! We have experienced winter Telluride with both no snow and tons of snow, and it never disappoints! I could go to Telluride over and over again and never tire of it, but since we were already going to make the long haul out to western Colorado a couple of weeks prior to my birthday for our Thanksgiving trip to Avalanche Ranch, we figured we should try a new mountain town closer to Denver for my birthday, so we settled on Steamboat Springs!
Steamboat Springs has 150 mineral springs in the valley it’s located in, but more importantly, it is known for having “champagne powder”. While that certain sounds DIVINE, the term was actually coined by local rancher in the 1950s that claimed that the light, dry snow of the area tickled his nose like champagne while skiing. The term has been used ever since to promote tourism to the ski resorts in the area, and the term certainly sells! Even if “champagne snow” didn’t sparkle like champagne, as I had secretly hoped and imagined, I still couldn’t wait to see and experience it for my birthday!
Em’s Birthday in Steamboat – Day 1
If our first day in Steamboat Springs was any indication of how our trip would be, then we were in for a treat! We awoke our first morning to the most perfect, lightly falling slow outside our rustic wood cabin. The snow continued well into the day as we headed up the nearby mountain for our first activity of the weekend, snowboarding.
Steamboat is also famously known as Ski Town USA. The town has produced more winter Olympians than any other town in North America. Thankfully, in 1987, it became one of the first ski resorts in Colorado to allow snowboarding, so you don’t have to be a skier to enjoy Steamboat. These days, there are only three resorts left in the United States that don’t allow snowboarders, but nonetheless, we were still grateful to snowboard in the famous champagne powder of Steamboat.
We spent every night in our cabin relaxing by a cozy fire that hubby built in the cabin’s wood stove. Meanwhile, Roxie Dachshund enjoyed her nightly routine of climbing a special piece of furniture in the cabin we dubbed “Mt. Ottoman”. Mt. Ottoman was missing a leg and impossible for Roxie to not slide off of, but she still insisted on trying to stay atop this piece of furniture. Our rustic cabin did not have good cell phone service or reliable wi-fi, so we thoroughly enjoyed watching Roxie climb Mt. Ottoman for entertainment.
Em’s Birthday in Steamboat – Day 2
For our second day in Steamboat, we did a hike nearby on the Fish Creek Falls trail. We couldn’t wait to see what the falls would look like in the snowy terrain and hoped they would look as incredible as some of the frozen waterfalls we had seen in Telluride. The falls were supposed to be within a quarter mile of the start of the hike, so we wouldn’t have to wait long to see the amazing falls, but after hiking for almost an hour, we began to wonder if we had somehow missed the falls. It seemed impossible to miss the falls, which were supposed to be pretty dang tall!
After hiking a bit further and breaking trail in fresh snow, we eventually realized that we had indeed missed the falls that were within five minutes of the start of our hike. The falls were completely covered in snow, so we hadn’t even recognized them!
The snow-covered falls of the Fish Creek Falls Trail ended up being a bit of a disappointment (relative to falls we had seen in Telluride), but the snow-covered trees on our extra trek were not! We felt like we were walking through a snow globe as we walked through the hilly terrain with snow clung heavily to the branches of the pine trees surrounding us for miles in every direction.
Em’s Birthday in Steamboat – Day 3
On the morning of our final day in Steamboat, we did my favorite activity, visiting Strawberry Hot Springs. Steamboat has two community hot springs, one in town and one about an hour outside of town. While the one outside of town requires a four-wheel-drive vehicle in the winter season, it’s worth the trek because the springs are surrounded by a gorgeous natural backdrop, whereas the hot springs in town are built within a recreation center.
We visited Strawberry Hot Springs first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds and the early wake up call ended up being worth the solitude and gorgeous sunrise frost on the surrounding trees.
After soaking in Strawberry Hot Springs, we took it easy for most of the day… until sunset, when we decided to take out our snowboards one last time. It was a chilly 6 degrees out, but with Steamboat Springs Ski Resort being one of the few Colorado resorts to offer night skiing, we couldn’t pass up the unique opportunity to snowboard at night!
While we thought our Steamboat Springs trip would be our one and only visit to the town for the foreseeable future, during my birthday trip, we found out that we would get another opportunity to stay in Steamboat a week later for the Christmas holiday. We were petsitting the following week for my colleague that had a town home in Steamboat and we were invited to use her and her husband’s town home in exchange for watching their dog. We took them up on their offer, but our next trip to Steamboat ended up being very brief (and simple), since hubby had to get back to work right after the Christmas holiday.
Christmas in Steamboat – Day 1
For our first day (Christmas eve) in Steamboat, we revisited Strawberry Hot Springs. I somehow mysteriously hurt my foot on our travel day, the night before, and had hoped the springs would have a magical healing power on my foot, but unfortunately they didn’t! We enjoyed a revisit to these hot springs, nonetheless!
Christmas in Steamboat – Day 2
For our second day (Christmas!) we revisited Steamboat Springs Ski Resort for another day of fresh powder and snowboarding. The fog and fresh snow made for a very beautiful and white Christmas!
Every time we drove by the town home we were staying at, we could smell a very strong sulfur smell and knew it meant that some springs must be nearby, but it wasn’t until the second day (Christmas day), that we realized they were right around the corner from the town home. Before we left on Christmas day, we snapped a photo by one of the beautiful blue springs. One day we hope to go back and do the walking tour of all the springs in that area. Until next time, Steamboat!
The doggie crew we watched for Christmas: