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Wild West home of champagne powder that also has heaps of sophistication

Steamboat, which prides itself on being the home of champagne powder, has a real Wild West feel about it and is one of Colorado's top ski resorts.

The mountain is renowned for both its spread of varied easy runs and challenging terrain, such as the gladed runs below Sunshine Peak or wooded slopes of Christmas Tree Bowl. Even the topmost runs are pleasantly wooded, so there's lots of protection during snowy weather.

Steamboat is popular with boarders too, the powder stashes in the glades making for ideal conditions. Beginners have their own extensive area at the base.

There are five terrain parks - Rabbit Ears and Lil' Rodeo for beginners, Sunbeam for intermediates, Mavericks and Lower Mavericks for experts.

You can choose whether to stay at the base of the slopes, or closer to the town, a short shuttle-bus ride away. Luxurious Sheraton Steamboat Resort is ski-in ski-out, and The Steamboat Grand is opposite the Silver Bullet gondola. The Lodge At Steamboat is closer to the downtown shops and restaurants, with a private shuttle to the slopes.

At apres-ski time the base area is lively, especially on the terrace at Slopeside Grill or the Sheraton's Bear River, often with live music.

Off the slopes there are attractions galore - such as hot air ballooning, sleigh rides, ice climbing and dog sledding. A must-visit, for some restorative bathing, are the nearby Strawberry Park Hot Springs.

Steamboat is a Western town of true character, but also has style and sophistication. There are two breweries and a pub, The Barley, that serves 28 beers on tap all from around Colorado.

The restaurant choice is excellent - with cuisine far from cowboy fare. At Bistro BC, owners Brian and Katy Vaughn reckon they've created 'Manhattan in the mountains'. Their elk loin on a bed of polenta or chicken with cauliflower-saffron puree, black garlic and wild sorrel is plainly not whipped up on a chuck-wagon.

And at Phil Armstrong's Aurum restaurant, the lightly-smoked tuna with a yuzu coconut sauce and home-made pickled cucumber makes you forget entirely that many of the diners are wearing cowboy boots.

Cafe Diva

Cafe Diva

Striving to serve the very best in hearty, new American dining, the Cafe Diva sources family-farmed produce, premium cuts from local ranches and sustainably harvested seafood to create memorable dishes for its seasonal menu.

The restaurant is located in the Torian Plum Plaza of the Steamboat Mountain Village, at the base of the ski area. A short stroll from most condos and hotels, the two dining rooms are lavishly decorated with luxurious silk, wormy maple and the best works by local artists.

Even though its elegant surroundings, fine china and even its name might suggest otherwise, the Cafe Diva dismisses the demeanour of fine dining, favouring a more personal, family-like style of service. This is reflected throughout the restaurant and creates the feel of being at a friend’s house – albeit one who is rather fortunate and a talented chef. Be sure to sample the fine array of wines from the restaurant’s vast wine cellar to round off a fine evening.

Slopeslide Grill

Slopeside Grill

A prime spot for lunch, après ski, or some late night drinks, the Slopeside Grill is a true mountain classic of Steamboat. Offering great bar food and an excellent choice of beer, it’s easy to see why the Slopeside is such a popular après ski venue.

Wolf down a tasty brick oven pizza as you catch a game on one of many tv’s around the bar, before the evening draws in and the excitement begins. Choose from an extensive list of draft and bottled beers, brewed both locally and internationally, or from a range of wines if you’d rather a more relaxed evening overlooking a gorgeous backdrop.

Head over in the spring and spend an evening in the mystical ice bar. Erected annually, the ice bar provides an even better chance to enjoy an ice cold beer under the amazing bluebird days of March and April.