The beginning of a storm cycle in the mountains is an exciting time. The anticipation that the skies will open up and drop a few feet of powder on us gets everyone pumped. People wax their skis, get to bed early and figure out what fake illness they will be stricken with the next morning. Today is that day in Steamboat. If you have looked at the National Weather Service forecast for Storm Peak, you will see some pretty nice looking totals coming in the next few days. Today might only be the appetizer to tomorrow’s main course, but you won’t regret taking a bite or two.
We only got 4 inches at mid mountain today, but if you know where to go, it’s much deeper. My first run was straight down High Noon and over to Rolex for first tracks. It was groomed last night, so the 3 or 4 inches on top were perfect for fast turns. This is usually a great place to start if you are on the mountain early.
The first thing you’ll notice when you get to the top of the mountain today will be the wind. It’s pretty warm up there, so you don’t need to overdress on account of the gusty conditions. Since this storm is coming from the southwest, the deepest snow will be in the trees between the O’Clocks and in Twilight. This storm is bringing a lot of energy with it, and that energy is blowing the snow across the runs and into the trees.
1:30 trees and Twilight were both a lot deeper than the runs I took in Shadows and in the Sunshine area. The bumps aren’t too big, and the aspens are just far enough apart to be able to get a good rhythm through this area. There are also enough open glades, too, so there is usually a good place to scrub a little speed after taking a tight line.
Perhaps the best part of my day was actually leaving. It was only after my morning was done that I stopped to take in the scenery. What I saw wasn’t the normal view south to the Flat Tops but a wall of clouds moving into the valley. So tell your boss you are starting to feel a bit sick, make sure to stretch and enjoy the powder to come.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder