Since I last skied, there is more terrain open and more lifts running to service that terrain.  While it’s exciting to have more runs to choose from, it’s also important to know where you are and how best to navigate around the mountain.  With the right navigational tools, I was able to maximize my enjoyment of the nice, soft and grippy corduroy that had been laid across Steamboat Wednesday morning.

Upper mountain views from the top of Thunderhead.

With six lifts servicing 51 open trails, navigating to and from those trails can be a bit tricky.  Currently, Bar U E, Burgess Creek, Christie Peak Express, Four Points, Storm Peak Express and the Gondola are the six lifts operating.  You may have noticed Elkhead Express and Sundown Express running today (solely for training purposes), however, please note that these lifts are not open.  If you called the 5 AM Snow Report this morning, you may have heard some misinformation regarding those lifts being open, but please know that those lifts are not yet open to skiers and riders.

Pristine corduroy on Storm Peak South Wednesday morning.

Today was my first day to ski on upper mountain, and as excited as I was, I also made sure to thoroughly examine the most current trail map on the free Steamboat App (search for Steamboat Ski and Resort in your app store to download).  As I rode up the Gondola, I noticed that the Steamboat App was last updated at 8:28 AM, so that’s your best bet when it comes to the most current trail and lift status information.

Upper mountain corduroy and frosty trees.

One thing I did notice skiing on upper mountain today is that there are some places that are a bit tricky to navigate.  Buddy’s Run, one of my favorites, is open, but you are only able to get as far as Bar U E.  Tornado Lane, Vortex and Drop Out all remained closed, so please know that if you ski Buddy’s, you’ll either need to take Bar U E back to the top of Storm Peak, or cut over on Calf Roper to access Rainbow.

Sunshine Lift is closed, but you can access terrain on Sunshine Peak via Storm Peak Express (please note you will have to ski or ride Duster to get back to Rainbow Saddle).

Another area to know about is Sunshine Peak.  While Sundown, Elkhead and Sunshine lifts all remain closed, you can access High Noon via Highline from the top of Storm Peak Express.  Also open on Sunshine Peak are some of some of Steamboat’s most infamous tree runs, Shadows and Closets, along with One O’Clock, Two O’Clock, Twilight, Three O’Clock and Kuus’ Cruise.  All of these runs lead you to Duster, the cat track that takes you from Rendezvous to Rainbow Saddle.  As a skier this morning, I actually enjoyed the skate out on Duster to get my blood flowing a little bit; however, if you are not up for a long cat track that will require some skating, then I would stick to runs on Storm Peak and lower mountain.  And if you’re on a snowboard, which I am half of the time, I would not recommend taking on Duster as you’ll find yourself strapped out and pushing your board quite a bit.

High Noon corduroy was fast and smooth Wednesday morning.
Closets and Shadows are open to skiers and riders, but please use caution as early season conditions may exist.

While Burgess Creek lift was open, it did have to temporarily close due to a maintenance issue this morning.  I’d imagine it’s already back up and running as I write this blog, but it is a good reminder that it’s still early season and issues may arise as the mountain crews work around the clock to get as many lifts and trails open for skiers and riders to enjoy.

Check out Steamboat’s new trail signs, they will help you as you navigate around the mountain.

Early season skiing brings much excitement and enjoyment, but it also needs to bring caution with it.  Early season conditions still may exist, especially in the trees, so do be careful and be aware of your surroundings.  If you have looked at the forecast, snow is most certainly in it.  Not only is snow in the forecast, but from the top of the mountain I could see snow moving our direction from the north.  We’ve already experienced an Opening Day to remember, so let’s continue our snow dance and hope for an early December to remember.

Valley views from Four Points Lift, check out the Flat Tops in the background.

Happy skiing and riding, and happy Wednesday!

Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier

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