Our favourite guest blogger, Jenny O’Farrell from Steamboat, has returned! We asked Jenny to give us the low-down on what’s hot in Steamboat and she’s put together a list of must-see Steamboat events for winter 2014/15:
18th December – 30th March – Night Skiing & Riding
Ok, so if you did not get in enough turns from first Gondola at 8:30, you can enjoy night skiing and riding for three more hours from 5:30.
This will be year #2 of illuminated slopes in Steamboat, and we’re excited to add another day to the schedule for a Thursday-Sunday program this winter. You have steeper trails off the top of the Christie Peak Express 6-pack chair, and the Lil’ Rodeo terrain park is very popular at the night sessions. The lighting is quite impressive, too – the snow is well-illuminated, but you can still appreciate the bright stars in the bight sky, too. For those who prefer to watch, grab a cocktail at the Bear River Grill and enjoy the atmosphere at the cozy fire pits.
5th-10th January 2015 – Musicfest at Steamboat
What happens when you host 1500+ country and Americana music fans and their favorite bands? You have a 5-day, 24-hour party for some of the most charming and polite inebriated guests you’ll ever meet!
Most concerts held during this event are private for Musicfest ticket holders, but resort visitors get two big bonuses during this time: free public après-ski concerts in Gondola Square most afternoons and a big empty mountain – daytime is for sleeping for most Musicfest folks!
19th January 2015 – 41st Cowboy Downhill
This beloved annual event takes place for about three hours on a Tuesday in January, and the much-awaited “Stampede” is over in about 15 seconds, so plan ahead!
Some 41 years ago, our own Steamboat Director of Skiing Billy Kidd invited a few professional rodeo cowboys attending the Denver Stock Show up to Steamboat for a ski race, and the cowboys learned that much like bull-riding, skiing requires some training and practice. Of course, their lack of expertise and fearlessness are what makes the event so entertaining!
Since that time, the Steamboat Cowboy Downhill has become a featured event on the rodeo calendar, and many have actually acquired some skills on skis and snowboards, but a combination of competitiveness and free beer keep the action exciting. The dual slalom race through the obstacle course is great to watch, but the highlight is the stampede: all competitors leave the gate at once, and it’s a no-rules race to the finishing line.
Look for the rodeo cowboys skiing and riding around the mountain that morning – expect cowboy hats and chaps!
4th-8th February 2015 – 102nd Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival
This annual festival is a local celebration of all things winter, and visitors to Steamboat are very welcome to observe – or get involved! We close down Lincoln Avenue, fill it with snow, and stage a variety of races. Most involve children and horses, but my favorite includes Dads on shovels.
The highlight of the week is the evening of excitement at Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs. Not to be missed are The Lighted Man, a third-generation human fireworks, and ski patroller John “Pink” Floyd’s ski jump through a fiery hoop with a rescue toboggan. It just doesn’t et any better than that!
14th-17th February 2015 – Steamboat Mardi Gras
Carnaval in Rio? Bourbon Street in New Orleans? Been there – done that? Check out the Mardi Gras celebrations in Steamboat!
The Saturday afternoon Mardi Gras parade through the ski area base is, well, local, and annually features my eye doctor in a very bright and shiny red coat. And you can get all of the free Mardi Gras beads a person could want or need.
Highly recommended: Dueling Pianos – these guys are good! And the New Orleans-style dishes served in our on-mountain restaurants during Mardi Gras celebrations are a real treat. Enjoy a Hurricane cocktail, too, but download the Gondola after for safety’s sake.
27th-28th February – Telemark World Cup
A small but talented field of the best telemark skiers from all over the world gather in Steamboat to see who is the best knee-bender. Telemark races include uphill, downhill, bumps and cross-country terrain, and it’s exciting to see these elite athletes perform. Try it – you’re certain to be impressed.
If you’re keen to try free-heeling yourself, stop by the Steamboat Ski & Snowboard School for a lesson – ask for Barry Smith to teach you the ropes. And why would you want to try telemark skiing? The powder is deeper when you’re bending a knee!
14th March 2015 – Bud Light Rocks the Boat – Free Concert Series
The upcoming winter marks year three of our permanent Steamboat Stage in Gondola Square, and this concert series takes full advantage of this excellent outdoor venue. For seven Saturdays throughout the season and on Saturday & Sunday on closing weekend, local, regional and nationally known bands entertain from mid-afternoon through the après-ski hours. Grab a beverage and enjoy the show and the people-watching. The band list has not yet has not yet been confirmed for 2015, but watch for the March Fourth Band, which combines big sound with huge visual entertainment.
27th-29th March 2015 – US Freestyle Championships – Moguls & Aerials
Lovingly known as Bumps & Jumps, this event brings the elite US competitors to the VooDoo run on lower mountain for some very entertaining races and exhibitions. Ski or snowboard to the races or grab snowshoes at the Steamboat Info Center and hike up to the venue. Expect a lively crowd and some very big air. Don’t try this at home, people – these kids are young and well-trained! Head to the Steamboat Stage in Gondola Square for a post-competition concert.
1st-12th April 2015 – Springalicious Celebration
Steamboat gets very excited when the days get longer and the temperatures rise a bit, after a great five months of winter fun, and we invented a silly word to celebrate.
Expect longer days on the slopes, outdoor food & drink specials, open air concerts, big sales on skis and snowboards and clothing and such. You’re also likely to see a few skiers and snowboarders grossly underdressed for the activity at hand. Watch for the announcement of our Steamboat Springalicious lift pass!
Get in touch with one of expert reservations team for further information on holidays to Steamboat and a whole range of resorts in Colorado and beyond. Call 0131 243 8097 or request a tailor-made quotation online.
Celebrate 150 Years of St Moritz; Timeless Luxury and Vintage Charm
Lots of things get better with age… cheese, wine. Where better to enjoy these two vintage delights than in a truly vintage setting!?
With all the charm of a chocolate box, St Moritz celebrates its 150th winter of snowsports this year! The Polo world cup on the frozen lake, the annual vintage car rally and the stylish, soulful sounds of the blues festival already transport you back in time to the authentic charm and romance of the early days of alpinism. Read the rest of this entry »
Think family skiing and many people may not immediately think of Switzerland – but we say definitely don’t rule it out!
You may be surprised at just how much Switzerland has to offer on a family ski holiday; many of the ‘must-have’s’ are readily available – from quality childcare, interconnecting rooms, family-friendly terrain, family-friendly pricing and plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. Read on for our top 5 reasons why Switzerland works for family skiing:
1. Plenty of great, family-friendly accommodation
Packed full of useful information about skiing in Whistler and city stopovers in Vancouver, find out more about these two great destinations, together with a variety of images and inspirational videos. Free to download, this insiders guide is packed full of useful information about Whistler ski holidays, details on a selection of hand-picked lodging options and information on how to book with Ski Independence: Read the rest of this entry »
One of our contacts in Panorama Mountain Village, Shannon, recently made the move from Scotland to Panorama in Canada and tells her all about their first winter back in British Columbia, and why she chose to stay put.
“The journey from Scotland to Calgary is one that I have done many times and I now find the flight a time to relax and gather my thoughts. Excited that this time I was not going back to Scotland, I was travelling further north and into a gauntlet of towering mountain ranges – with the Rockies lying to the south and the east and the Purcells to the north and the west. In all directions stand pristine, snow-covered peaks and untouched forests, and plenty of powder! Read the rest of this entry »
Canada Road Trip, A First Time For…
Having spent a huge amount of time snowboarding in the French Alps and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in Colorado, last winter I decided that it was about time I experienced Canada for the first time. This was first on the list of many firsts for this trip – and as my other half had never been to Canada either, it was difficult for us to contain our excitement: the vast landscapes, the epic powder, the stunning hotels, the Canadian people, and the adventure that we were about to experience, let’s go now! We got everything booked up back in September and had to wait for what seemed like months before we could get on the flight, and get on the road in February.
Top Reasons to Travel in First or Business Class
Since the advent of commercial air travel life on board, particularly on long haul routes, has changed almost beyond recognition. Whilst safety has always been the number one priority, clean air and well-being now follow closely behind. Fortunately, gone are the days of free cigarettes for First Class passengers – indeed gone are the smoking seats at the back of the plane, thank goodness! The iconic Concorde is no longer, the A380 double decker is now king of the skies and modern aeroplanes travel huge distances with no need for refuelling stops on the way.
Turning left when you board a flight has always been one of the finer things to experience in life, and it could also mean the difference between a bleary eyed arrival or one where you’re well rested and raring to go! What’s more, the luxury experience begins long before you get on board. But if air travel has come on so dramatically from the early days, why not just stick to Economy? Well, we know we’d always upgrade wherever possible and here are our top reasons to fly in style in First and Business Class cabins. Read the rest of this entry »
Whistler has long been a Mecca for skiers and snowboarders, so what continues to draw such a varied international audience to this destination year after year?
Certainly the resort benefitted from playing host to the Winter Olympics in 2010 – not only was the resort beamed into millions of homes for 16 days, the infrastructure was vastly improved too. The umbilical Sea-to-Sky highway between Whistler and Vancouver was dramatically overhauled, while the creation of world-class training facilities will undoubtedly progress winter sports for the ensuing generations.
However, Whistler’s real trick is the continued development they commit to the mountain every year. Recent flagship projects include:
Managing Director of Ski Independence, Michael, is the third generation to run his family business, Osprey Holidays. Originally named Bennett’s Travel, and started in in the 1950′s by Michael’s grandfather, the family travel agency grew and evolved into Osprey Holidays. In 1994 Ski Independence became an integral part of the business.
Michael has skied all over Europe and North America, starting when he was just 4 years old. In the late 80′s Michael completed a season in the Alps and he’s been hooked ever since. Read on for Michael’s Ski Bucket List. Read the rest of this entry »
Tailor-Made Ski Specialists for Over 20 Years
Ski Independence have sent over 100,000 clients on holiday over the past 2 decades and we’re extremely proud to be celebrating our 20 year anniversary for the 2014/2015 winter season.
We produced our first ever brochure in 1994 and our website went live many years later with the world moving at lightning pace to the digital era of today. So much has changed over this time, but our commitment to offering the very best tailor-made service has stayed the same throughout.
Take a trip down memory lane and take a take a look at a selection of brochure covers from the past 20 years – which is your favourite?