city, seat (1877) of Routt county, north-central Colorado, U.S. Located in the high Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 6,762 feet (2,061 metres), the town was supposedly named for Steamboat Spring, reported to have recalled to trappers the chugging of a steamboat. The area was settled by whites in 1875 and was largely given over to ranching and timbering; the town served as a commercial centre. In 1912 a Norwegian immigrant named Carl Howelson introduced winter sports, organizing a winter carnival and ski-jumping competition. The city's ski area, called Howelson Hill, was expanded in 1955 with the development of the Steamboat resort on Storm Mountain. The area was further developed in the late 1990s, making Steamboat Springs one of the premier skiing destinations in the American West. The city's economy is heavily dependent on year-round tourism. Routt National Forest lies immediately east of the city. Inc. town, 1884; city, 1907. Pop. (1990) 6,695; (2000) 9,815.
Learn more about Steamboat Springs with a free trial on Britannica.com.