Colorado is well known for its ski resorts and Steamboat Springs is one of the best-known winter recreation areas in the state. This little Home Rule Municipality is the county seat of Routt County, located in the northern part of the state and nicknamed 'Ski Town USA'. Steamboat Springs sits in the valley of the Yampa River and covers an area of 10.16 square miles. It has an estimated population of over 12,000 people but attracts many more due to its status as a skiing hotspot.

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The area that would eventually become known as Steamboat Springs was inhabited by native Ute people, who discovered that the area was a good spot for hunting. It was in 1874 that James Harvey Crawford arrived in the area. Crawford and his family settled in the area and lived peacefully with the Ute people, trading and sharing with them. In 1884, Crawford started to lay out the town, and the opening of a sawmill encouraged more people to settle there. The largest onyx mine in Colorado was also found just nearby, and the town's economy performed admirably.

In 1913, a Norwegian named Carl Howelsen came upon the area and began constructing ski jumps and organizing winter festivities. Some local men later opened up the Steamboat Ski Resort, and the town's popularity surged from there. Nowadays, along with the likes of Aspen, Vail, and Telluride, Steamboat Springs is a highly popular skiing resort town in Colorado, attracting many visitors each and every year.

Elevation of Steamboat Springs

When talking about a town's elevation, we're referring to how high it is in relation to sea level. The elevation of Steamboat Springs is 6,732 feet (2,052 m), which is very high and several thousand feet high than many major cities all around the United States. At the nearby Steamboat Ski Resort, the base elevation is 6,900 feet (2,100 m), while the top elevation rises to 10,568 feet (3,221 m). The high elevations all around Steamboat Springs are due to the town’s mountainous location.

A comparison of Colorado ski resort elevations shows us that Steamboat Springs has a significantly lower elevation than many other skiing destinations around the state. For example, Telluride has an elevation of 8,750 feet (2,667 m). Vail, meanwhile, has an elevation of 8,022 feet (2,445 m), while Aspen stands at an elevation of around 8,000 feet (2,438 m). This shows that the elevation of Steamboat Springs is actually over a thousand feet lower than many other major skiing towns, which can actually be seen as quite a big advantage in some ways.

Altitude sickness begins to affect people at elevations above 8,000 feet (2,438 m), so can be a problem for visitors to Vail and Aspen, but isn’t necessarily a problem for people stopping off at Steamboat Springs. The town’s elevation also matches well with the state average. Colorado is the highest state of all, with a mean elevation of 6,800 feet (2,070 m), and a highest elevation of 14,400 feet (4,401 m) tall, which belongs to Mount Elbert, while the lowest point in Colorado is a section of the Arikaree River, which has an elevation of 3,317 feet (1,011 m).

Climate and Things to Do in Steamboat Springs

Due to Steamboat Springs' elevation and geographical location, it has relatively cold temperatures throughout the year, especially from November through to March. January is generally the coldest month of the year, with average highs of just 29°F (-2°C) and lows of 3°F (-16°C). July is the hottest month, but temperatures can still drop very low, especially in the evenings. Large amounts of snow fall for much of the year, from October through to the beginning of May, but the average amount of rainfall is relatively low.

Naturally, since Steamboat Springs is known both in the United States and internationally as a prime ski resort town, skiing is one of the most popular activities here. The cold weather and frequent snowfall provide the perfect conditions, and the Steamboat Ski Resort has a lot to offer. The resort covers an area of almost 3,000 skiable acres, with 165 individual trails. 14% of those trails are classed as beginner difficulty, while 42% are intermediate and the remaining 44% are designed for advanced skiers. Snowboarding can also be enjoyed at this location, which is usually open from November to April. Other activities that can be enjoyed around Steamboat Springs include fishing and kayaking on the Yampa River, as well as cycling and hiking.