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The cables started spinning on Steamboat Ski Resort’s top-to-bottom Wild Blue Gondola in December, whisking skiers and snowboarders 3.16 miles from the resort base to 10,384-foot Sunshine Peak in just 13 minutes. The 171-cabin gondola is the longest and fastest of its kind in North America with each cabin holding a whopping 10 passengers.
Upon exiting the “monster” (what Steamboat maintenance crews are calling the beastly machine), snow sports enthusiasts can glide to a handful of mountaintop restaurants. The resort’s $200 million enhancement project—dubbed Full Steam Ahead—means hungry skiers will also discover innovative fare in the base area’s revamped après ski plaza along with legendary eateries just steps from the top of the resort’s original out-of-base Steamboat Gondola.
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Traverse your way to these Steamboat Ski Resort eateries for a true taste of Ski Town USA’s high-alpine dining.
Find It: Ride the Wild Blue Gondola up and ski down to the Rendezvous Lodge on the intermediate High Noon and One O’Clock trails.
Don’t Miss: The sky-high Bloody Mary that’s larger than life and a meal in itself
Ragnar’s gives a strong nod to Steamboat’s Norwegian roots with black and white photos of ski jumping’s founding father Ragnar Omtvedt sharing pine-paneled wall space with vintage snowshoes. Skiers thaw out in the comfy dining room, lingering over gourmet Scandinavian lunches of seafood chowder ($12), veal Wienerschnitzel ($30), and grilled Reuben sandwiches ($25) dripping with Austrian blaukraut (red cabbage) and Jarlsberg cheese. If you order one thing, make it the famous Ragnar Bloody Mary ($22; ask for the chef’s add-on) and spend your lunch break pulling olives, pickles, salami, cheese, a soft pretzel, and a mini Reuben off sturdy skewers.
Find It: The roving snowcat food truck typically hangs out at the top of the Christie Peak Express chairlift or somewhere on Sunshine Peak. Follow @TacoBeastSBT on X (Twitter) for the current location.
Don’t Miss: The elk chorizo street taco
Ski to this mountainside beach scene and kick back in a lounge chair, boots in the powder, with a cold Mexican lager while chefs grill up $7 made-to-order tacos in the back of a parked snowcat. Choose from ancho-seasoned shredded beef, pollo asado, roasted butternut squash with black beans and corn, or the ever-popular elk-pork chorizo. Add a $7 side of Mexican street corn off the cob for enough fuel to carry your legs to last chair at 4 p.m.
Red’s Bar at Thunderhead Food Court
Find It: Take the old Steamboat Gondola or the Thunderhead Express chairlift to the third floor of the Thunderhead Lodge.
Don’t Miss: Piping hot Irish coffees and savory bao buns
Cradle a hot mug of Irish whiskey, Kahlúa, and coffee at 9,131 feet and catch a game on one of Red’s TVs. This no-frills mid-mountain stop is known for its quick-service menu of pork and veggie egg rolls and barbecue pork bao buns with wasabi ranch and sweet chile sauce (both two for $11). Take your beverage out onto the Thunderhead Lodge Oasis Sundeck and drink in eyefuls of Mount Werner and the Yampa Valley.
Find It: Ski down to the base area and toss your skis or board in a rack before finding a seat inside this spacious bistro or outside next to the roaring fire pit.
Don’t Miss: The party fowl poutine ($14), a shareable plate of house-cut potatoes, squeaky cheddar curds, and duck confit doused in a rich and peppery duck gravy
A real après ski treat, contemporary American restaurant Timber & Torch is an excellent people-watching perch among the base area’s ice skating rink and strolling crowds. The centerpiece restaurant boasts a hearty menu of elk chili ($8), fish and chips ($17), slow-braised Colorado lamb ragu pappardelle ($18), and gigantic soft Bavarian pretzels ($11) with beer cheese for dipping. To pay respects to Steamboat Springs’ Olympic history (it has produced more winter Olympians than any other town in the United States), top your meal with an Olympic Torch ($11). The bubbling Champagne cocktail marries vodka, simple syrup, and lemon with a smoking sprig of rosemary.
Find It: Crowning the reimagined Steamboat Square base area, this indoor-outdoor lunch and après lounge features a bar on each of the two levels.
Don’t Miss: The funky moose sculpture upstairs made entirely of recycled materials from the Yampa Valley
Scan your table’s QR code and order from four food outlets: Twister Tacos, Why Not Sandwich Shop, Pioneer Pie, and Sunshine Bowl (all named after ski runs). When your phone dings, head to the appropriate counter and grab your steaming tofu ramen bowl ($16), prosciutto and smoked blue cheese sandwich ($17), or the popular Carnivore pie ($17) loaded with Italian sausage, Calabrese salami, prosciutto, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and fresh basil. Finally, select your setting. Upstairs is a sit-down dining experience with a fireplace and couches, while downstairs brings more of a cafeteria vibe.