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The most popular area for backcountry skiing around Steamboat Springs is Rabbit Ears Pass, southeast of town. It's the last pass you cross if you're driving from Denver to Steamboat. Much of the appeal is its easy access to high-country trails from U.S. 40. There are plenty of routes you can take.
Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Arrangements for backcountry tours can be made through Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Steamboat Springs, CO, 80477. 970/879-8180. www.steamboatnordiccenter.com.
Hahns Peak Ranger Office. A popular backcountry spot is Seedhouse Road, about 25 miles north of Steamboat, near the town of Clark. A marked network of trails across the rolling hills has good views of distant peaks. For maps and information on snow conditions, contact the Hahns Peak Ranger Office. 925 Weiss Dr., Steamboat Springs, CO, 80487. 970/870-2299.
Ski Haus. Touring and telemarking rentals are available at ski shops in the Steamboat area. One of the best is the Ski Haus. 1457 Pine Grove Rd., Steamboat Springs, CO, 80477. 970/879-0385 or 800/932-3019. www.skihaussteamboat.com.
Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Laid out on and along the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club, Steamboat Ski Touring Center has a relatively gentle 18.5-mile trail network. A good option for a relaxed afternoon of skiing is to pick up some vittles at the Picnic Basket in the main building and enjoy a picnic along Fish Creek Trail, a 3-mile-long loop that winds through pine and aspen groves. Rental packages (skis, boots, and poles) are available. Steamboat Springs, CO, 80477. 970/879-8180. www.steamboatnordiccenter.com. Trail fee $18.
Vista Verde Guest Ranch. This guest ranch has a well-groomed network of tracks, as well as access to the adjacent national forest. 970/879-3858 or 800/526-7433. www.vistaverde.com.
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