As the weather is changing in the Yampa Valley, so too is the mindset of many locals. It’s time to start putting our mountain bikes away and getting our skis and snowboards tuned up for the upcoming ski season. It’s time to find all of our warm snow gear and have it ready for the next early season snowfall. It’s time to be patient with Mother Nature and find the sliver lining in whatever weather comes our way. Fall in Steamboat truly is a dynamic season.

Thursday morning sunrise in the Yampa Valley

Friday morning of this week brought several inches of heavy, wet snow to Steamboat before the storm cleared out to sunny skies and an anticipated high of 51 degrees today (Saturday). It’s that time of year where you never quite know what your outdoor adventures may bring. One day you may be hiking or biking on dry trails in the mountains and the next day you may be shoveling snow off of your front porch.

Hiking the dry Panorama trail on Buffalo Pass one day…
…and shoveling snow off the front porch the next day.

This transitional season usually brings with it a feeling of calm throughout the valley as there are fewer people and fewer activities/events going on, but that is certainly not the case for Steamboat Resort employees this fall. With Steamboat Resort closing last weekend (for all summer/fall activities) and having 5 weeks until opening day on Saturday, November 23rd, they are busier than ever. Why, you ask? Steamboat is putting in a brand-new gondola that they’ve been working on for the past six months.

Photo Credit: Steamboat Resort

On April 14th (Closing Day of the 2018/2019 ski season), crews got to work the moment the mountain closed for the season, plowing access roads and other areas in order to properly stage the construction equipment needed to replace the gondola. Fast forward six months and about 36 gondola cabins are now on the line (being held up by new towers that were installed by helicopters earlier this summer) with about 100 more loaded into the terminals to be placed on the line in the next week. Over the next several weeks there will be a lot testing going on with the anticipated load test to take place later next week. For the most up-to-date information on Steamboat’s new gondola, please visit steamboat.com/gondolaproject.

Fall colliding with winter during this dynamic season in Steamboat

The next week should bring more snow to the Yampa Valley and consistently cooler temperatures. There is not a high temperature above 50 degrees expected in the week ahead, and even better, snow is in the forecast Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. While it’s always sad to put my mountain bike away, this year I’m distracted by my own excitement for getting my brand new Harvest skis ready for ski season.

My brand-new Harvest skis that I’m so excited about!

Harvest is based in Steamboat Springs, CO and is committed to making high-quality, handcrafted skis with environmentally-friendly materials. They were kind enough to donate a pair of skis to the Gimme Shelter Gala benefiting the Routt County Humane Society in September, so not only did I get a new pair of skis for myself, but with Harvest’s generosity, I was able to make a significant donation to help shelter animals in Steamboat.

Christie Cam at Steamboat Resort

With cooler temperatures and snow in the forecast, I would expect to see Steamboat Resort making more snow in the week ahead. As the slopes start to hold more of a consistent base, excitement over the upcoming ski season will continue to grow. Make sure to mark your calendars for Opening Day on Saturday, November 23rd, exactly five weeks from today!

Snow-making in progress with the last snowfall

Remember to find the silver lining in whatever weather this dynamic season may bring, and most of all, happy Saturday!

Erin Campbell, Mountain Biker, Alpine Skier & Snowboarder

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