Bull Riding at the Base

When the Steamboat summer is in full swing, the base area of the ski mountain is a fantastic spot to bring the family for a day of fun. Start out with a scenic ride up the gondola. The kids LOVE having a bird’s eye view of the valley and the grassy meadows, mountain wildflowers and Aspen trees look completely different when they aren’t blanketed by 4 feet of snow.

IMG_0935When you get to the top, follow the signs to the Vista Nature Trail. It’s a great hike for parents, kids, grandparents and accommodates all ages and hiking abilities. It’s less than a mile long loop that has just a few twists and turns, but, ultimately, remains a nice easy hike for everyone. Look for the signs posted throughout showing you the various animals that make this trail their home. See if you can catch match a marmot’s pace or do a family fox trot.

Bikes are prohibited on this trail making it a great choice for families with little kids who don’t want to have to watch out for two wheelers. After the hike, take advantage of the beautiful mountain backdrop for some nice family photo opps. Grab a burger on the deck of Thunderhead lodge because no other restaurant can boast valley views this amazing. Or take the gondola back down and enjoy lunch outdoors at several stream side base area restaurants.

Once you get down to the bottom, it’s pretty tough to say no to The Coca-cola adventure zone. We guarantee you’ll be begged by your offspring to buy either individual tickets or the all day pass. Only in a mountain town would a mini amusement park skip the ferris wheel and the carousel and go straight for the thrill rides.

The Coca-cola Adventure Zone gives pint-sized adrenaline junkies a ton of fun from which to choose and it caters to kids of all ages.

lizziekidsgondolaThere’s a mini-bounce house for toddlers who literally love to jump for joy. And if they’re a little older, or you’re convinced they were spawned by Spider Man, they can try out the East face climbing wall. There are multiple routes up ranging from easy to challenging - and zealous bell ringing for those who make it all the way up. All kids are securely roped in with a harness and even if they don’t make it up too far, who doesn’t love the belay ride down?

After climbing, hang onto your hats and try a ride on the mechanical bull. If they’ve already seen the real deal at the Steamboat Pro Rodeo, they’ll be itching to play cowboy for a little while. You are in the Wild West, after all… If the kids didn’t fill up too much at lunch, they can take a dizzying spin on the human gyro or jump into life size bubbles that spin around and let you walk (or roll) on water. The ropes course is another harnessed sport for agile kiddos who were probably climbing out of their cribs before they could walk. And the slingshot bungee jump is a blast - combining the thrills of bungee jumping and the bouncy fun of a trampoline. They take “kids” all the way up to 180 lbs, so a few parents (my spouse included) have been known to jump in the bungee jump fun!

When the thrill seeking is over, go full stream ahead to the Burgess Creek promenade. This creek stair steps its way across the bunny hill making it a favorite shallow splash spot for the little ones. And a nice, cool, relaxing hang out spot for pooped parents.

- Lizzie Larock

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