A Local’s Guide to Steamboat Springs

This Friday, more than 400 HBS students will descend on Steamboat Springs for the first annual EC Ski Trip. Before business school, I lived and trained in Steamboat for nearly 12 years as a member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team. In anticipation of the trip, I thought I would write a quick overview of my favorite activities, restaurants and bars in town. The SA Ski Trip welcome packet will provide more recommendations and information, but the following stops are locals’ true favorites.


Strawberry Park Hot Springs:
The hot springs are nestled in the mountains 2,000 feet above town. The owners have done a great job preserving an authentic, non-commercial atmosphere. The hot pools, cold pools and massage huts are constructed with rustic but beautiful masonry. Watching the stars from the hottest pool is my favorite post-skiing activity. The SA is arranging shuttle service to the springs for Saturday night. Space in the shuttles will be limited, and advanced signup is necessary. Stay tuned.

Evening snow tubing at Howelsen Hill:
Imagine sliding face-first at 30 mph down the municipal ski hill on a rubber inner-tube. It’s awesome. The Ski Trip organizers are in the process of reserving the facility for a private HBS session. Space will also be limited for this activity, and advanced signup will be necessary.

Cross-Country Skiing or Snowshoeing at the Steamboat Touring Center:
If you want a break from skiing or riding on Mt. Werner, go Norse style and rent some gear from the touring center. For non-skiers, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing is an easy way to get outside and experience some Colorado wilderness. Lessons are available, or you can easily figure it out on your own.


This is my favorite place in town for family-style Mexican. The prices are reasonable, the margs are huge and the food is great. I usually run fajitas or chicken molé. If you put a big table together, tell Carlos you are from HBS, and he’ll give you a discount. The dining room is pretty big, but reservations are a good idea.

The Double Z, BBQ:
The food here is big, delicious and incredibly unhealthy. If you want rough-cut, old-school western BBQ, this is your place. If you want salad and tofu, go elsewhere. The pork ribs are my current favorite. Dip a fry in their homemade ranch sauce, and don’t be afraid to try some Rocky Mountain Oysters. The seating area is small, and they don’t take reservations or credit cards. Come early, order takeout or be prepared to wait.

Café Diva:
Café Diva is my favorite fine dining in town. The menu is eclectic and creative with many organic and seasonal dishes. The dining room is small, and this is one of the most popular restaurants in town. Reservations are a must.


The ski trip organizers are putting together an evening pub crawl that will include stops at a number of bars downtown – here are my picks:

Sunpies is Steamboat’s favorite river bar, located on the edge of the Yampa in Old Town. Be wary of their hurricanes.

Mahogany Ridge Brewery:
The Hog has the best beer in town. They brew a variety of different beers, including some hoppy mountain ales served on nitrogen. Be sure to try their signature Alpenglow ale.

Ghost Ranch Saloon:
The Ghost Ranch is the newest bar in Steamboat. The owners converted an old Victorian book store into a unique concert venue and lounge. Additional information and signup for activities will be available soon. I hope you enjoy my favorite mountain town!

Prior to HBS, Travis was a member of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, winning a silver medal in moguls at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. When he wasn’t hitting the slopes on the ski circuit, Travis could be found studying economics at Cornell University.

February 16, 2010
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