I would check out www.steamboat.com for a start in checking out the activities and lodging offered in Steamboat. Mid-December is still very much early season and some activities do not begin their operations until closer to the xmas holiday time period. You will most likely be skiing on mainly man-made snow that time of year and there will be snow in town but how much is always up to mother nature.
I would still stay close to the mountain. Tubing you can do either downtown at Howelson Hill or out at a ranch outside of town. Sleighrides are out of town too. I would look at places like Eagle Ridge, Snowflake, Trappeurs Crossing, Trailhead, The Lodge...there are many more, I believe they all have shuttle service or have a easy access to the free city bus. If you come up with some specific options folks can weigh in.
You should be fine in the snow department by mid-December. We were a little light in the very beginning of December this year, but plentiful flakes were flying and piling up mid month for sure. There are years when there's so much snow in November opening day is a powder day and other years when it takes a little longer to add up. But really, by mid December, winter is upon us (goodness, this year winter was still upon us last week). There's a new sleigh ride operation run by the ski resort at the Haymaker golf course which is pretty darn close to everything. All of the other sleigh ride operations are a little bit further out of town in beautiful scenic countryside. Tubing is downtown at Howelsen or out at Saddleback Ranch. Downtown hot springs with water slides are super fun for little kids and don't worry they are HOT, so it's completely fun and relaxing to go in winter. We love Trappeur's Crossing, I have very good friends who love EagleRidge. Both have shuttles are about two blocks from gondola and have beautiful pools. If you don't need ski in/ski out, you can definitely save some money by going with condos that are just two blocks away - short short walk or easy breezy shuttle. Downtown condos are really neat too. Very modern in decoration, walking distance to all of the downtown happenings (the main drag with cool shops and restaurants). They downtown condos don't have onsite pools, but most management companies give free passes to the downtown hotsprings pool which is very close by. They're also close to the ice skating rink which has a roof and offers bumper car ice skating - super fun for the kiddos. But all of the mountain condos offer great shuttle service to downtown, so you won't miss out either way. Just depends on what you're in the mood for. Enjoy your booking and we'll see you in December in Steamboat!
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