Skip to content

An Authentic Western Experience in Colorado

Grab your Stetson and saddle up for a unique adventure in Steamboat Springs, where cowboy spirit meets the thrill of winter sports. You might be surprised to learn that this charming Colorado town has a deep-rooted ranching legacy that’s deeply intertwined with its remarkable skiing history.

The history of skiing in Steamboat Springs is just as old as ranching, as skis were an essential method of transportation for the pioneers during Colorado’s long winters. In the early 1910s, skiing became a more formalized sport in the town and attracted tourists from all over the country. 

Steamboat’s cowboy-skier culture can be traced back to 1974 when professional rodeo cowboy Larry Mahan teamed up with the famous skier Billy Kidd, to bring ProRodeo stars from the Denver Stock Show to Steamboat Springs for a snow-sports event like no other – the Cowboy Downhill. This annual event is continued to this day, and highlights just how important cowboy skiers are to the town’s history.

Steamboat’s unique ski-town and ranching-town history is a fascinating part of US history, and offers up a fun way to introduce your kids to the cultural legacy of the Old West. What could be more compelling to young kids than cowboys on skis?

On your next trip to Steamboat Springs, fill your itinerary with these unique cultural activities to immerse every member of the family in Colorado’s cowboy history.

Family-Friendly Cowboy Events in Steamboat Springs

A cowboy child wrangles a small pony

  • The Cowboy Downhill is the crowning jewel of Steamboat’s cowboy-skier history. Every year, sometime in January, cowboys and cowgirls across Steamboat put on their stetsons and participate in the most mind-boggling snowsports rodeo you’ll ever see. From challenging jumps, to super-tight slalom, there’s almost nothing these bull wranglers can’t do on a pair of skis. Not to be missed, this is an annual event that should be on every family’s bucket-list.
  • Steamboat’s Fourth of July celebrations are the perfect mix of Western ranching history with present-day skiing prowess. Patriotism meets old-school fun at this spectacular community event, with a high-energy parade followed by a ski jumping competition at Howelsen Hill. Yes, you read that correctly, ski jumping in the summertime! There’s no better way to get your kids fired up about Colorado’s history than by immersing them in the fun, fanfare, and spectacle that is Steamboat’s Fourth of July celebrations.
  • The Winter Carnival is every Steamboat local’s favorite yearly tradition. This all-age event takes place every February as a celebration of Western heritage and Steamboat’s long standing tradition of winter sports. From children skiing down a snow-covered main street – whilst being pulled by a horse – to skiers jumping through fiery hoops, you’re bound to see something you’ve never witnessed before!

Cowboy Activities for Kids in Steamboat Springs

A cowboy child walks through a field

  • Immerse your young guests in Steamboat’s historic ranching roots, by taking them to the family-friendly rodeo event at Steamboat Pro Rodeo at Brent Romick Arena. After watching skillful professionals engage in bareback riding, team roping, and steer wrestling, the kids are invited to test out their cowboy and cowgirl skills in the Calf and Ram Scramble.
  • Cattle Drives at Saddleback Ranch are the perfect opportunity for kids over 10 years old to get a taste of traditional ranching methods that are still used today! Families can spend the morning assisting the ranchers as they move cattle, check for sickness, get in strays, and carry out day-to-day ranching tasks.
  • For kids who love skiing, take a trip to Rough Rider Basin. This is a ski run like nothing you’ve seen before. Your young guests will embrace Steamboat’s ranching town roots as they ski through a mini cowboy-town. This area is filled with pretend cowboy saloons, a sheriff’s office, a jail, and a general store! This trail features lots of small jumps for kids to practice on, ideal for those who are learning to ski for the first time.
  • F.M Light & Sons offer the chance for cowboys and cowgirls of all ages to be dressed head-to-toe in authentic Western wear. This iconic store boasts a rich history, dating back to 1905, which is deeply intertwined with Steamboat’s ranching history. A range of well-known brands are stocked, including Smoky Mountain Boots which are a perfect choice for your child’s first cowboy boot.

Authentic Western Restaurants in Steamboat Springs

A cowboy child holding an enormous sandwich

  • Western BBQ is Steamboat’s original Western style BBQ restaurant, located at the top of the Steamboat gondola. This authentic Western dining experience features an all you can eat “Family Style BBQ Buffet” and full service bar. This restaurant is also known for its fun live music sessions, and charming mountain views.
  • E3 Chophouse is a luxurious dining option for families seeking an authentic ranch-to-table experience. This restaurant’s authentic Western menu features high-end food made with passion and purpose, as their hand cut steaks are all-natural, with no antibiotics, no steroids, and no added hormones. To help guests feel even more connected to the land, outdoor seating options are available right on the edge of the Yampa River.
  • Not only is Ore House at the Pine Grove a popular après-ski location, but it’s also the perfect setting for your family to get a taste of the Old West. From inside a historic barn, dating back to the 1880s, diners can enjoy a relaxed yet sophisticated Western dining experience. This restaurant is known for its welcoming staff, warm ambiance, and a salad bar that locals can’t stop talking about! The kids menu is just as appetizing as the adults’, with a range of delicious sides available.

Steamboat’s Rich History and Legacy

Steamboat’s authentic ranching culture, intertwined with its Olympic-level ski scene, makes this small mountain town a bucket-list destination for families across the USA. You see, Steamboat Springs isn’t just a winter sports tourism destination… It’s a real town, with real people, and a rich cultural history. That’s what makes our corner of the Rocky Mountains so special.

Your next family vacation to Steamboat Springs is guaranteed to be filled with immersive historical experiences that will enchant your kids, and help them understand this town’s unique cowboy-skier culture on a personal level.

Here at The Astrid we make it possible for families like yours to play their part in the town’s rich history, by laying down roots in Steamboat Springs. We’re determined to contribute towards the ever-advancing story of this mountain town, where beauty, elegance, and authentic Western hospitality meld together to create the ultimate luxury escape.

If you’re looking for the perfect vacation home in Colorado, where American history is respected and the future is whole-heartedly embraced, then we invite you to consider yourself part of The Astrid community. Our community is made up of people just like you – people seeking an exquisite ski-in ski-out retreat with a fantastic local community, and historic ties to the land.

To join our community, simply provide us with your name and email address. By doing so, you’ll be invited to join our exclusive mailing list. As part of this list you’ll gain access to insider information, behind-the-scenes content, and a highly personalized email experience reserved only for members of The Astrid community.

Join The Astrid’s Exclusive Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to receive updates

"*" indicates required fields

Recent Comments