Early Wednesday morning in Steamboat was defined by mellow sunshine, chilly temperatures and fast, smooth groomers.  If you are planning on skiing this afternoon, expect cloudy skies and likely some snow, perhaps in the form of a fast-moving snowstorm that is currently moving towards Steamboat.

The base temperature this morning was 7 degrees, which was a bit deceiving.  With a temperature inversion on the mountain, the summit boasted a temperature of 17 degrees and mid-mountain was slightly cooler with a temperature of 13 degrees.  There is a fast-moving snowstorm en route to western Colorado, and hopefully the 4-7 inches of snow forecasted will be delivered to Steamboat.  With an inversion on the mountain and a snowstorm moving towards Steamboat, today is a good day to be prepared with extra layers and your low-light goggle lenses to provide the best visibility in changing conditions.

My pick of the morning was anything groomed off of Sunshine Peak.  Tomahawk, Quickdraw, Flintlock, Sunshine Lift Line and High Noon were all covered in slightly firm but very fast corduroy, making for endless smooth cruisers.  With a soft layer of clouds hiding the sun’s rays this morning, the lighting was mellow, creating a very peaceful and serene setting early this morning.

With colder temperatures, the smooth corduroy should hold up nicely all day, and perhaps this afternoon will be covered in a few inches of fresh snow.  The powder stashes in the trees have also held up nicely, featuring softer snow on top and not the crusty bumps you might expect.

As you’re skiing and riding around Steamboat, notice all of the new signage that has been put into place.  As I was mountain biking to the top of Mount Werner this summer, I noticed various crews around the mountain installing new trail signs and several large trail maps. Their work was very well done and makes navigating around Steamboat quite simple.  At the top of Tomahawk, you can find the below trail map, and if that’s not enough, check out the trail maps that have been added to the chairs on Storm Peak Express, Elkhead Express and Sundown Express.

As of today, 14 lifts are open providing access to 154 trails, which means that Steamboat now has 93% open terrain.  Pony Express and Rough Rider are the two notable lifts that remain closed (the other two are Christie III and Priest Creek, which do not provide access to any terrain not covered by other chairlifts).  In 22 days of the 2018-2019 ski season, Steamboat has received 84 inches, which equates to a daily average snowfall of 3.81 inches.  Now that’s impressive!

After the snowstorm that is expected to hit Steamboat this afternoon, we should expect some sunny and dry weather in the week ahead.  If the long range forecast models prove to be correct, we may see increasing moisture later in December, which hopefully will mean more powder days, perhaps even for Christmas!  For more information in regards to the forecast, check out Joel Gratz’s Steamboat Daily Snow report.

Enjoy these fantastic early season conditions in Steamboat and have a very happy Wednesday!

Erin Campbell, Snowboarder

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