Beautifully frosted trees, fresh, fluffy snow and lifting clouds made Thursday morning seem quite surreal in Steamboat, especially at the summit.

As I rode up the gondola, huge snowflakes filled the air, creating that excitement that only snow can seem to create in a ski town.  Visibility was quite low with the giant snowflakes and morning clouds, but as I reached the top of Thunderhead, I could tell that I was in for a stunning morning at the summit.  The clouds were lifting, the skies above were showing that blue hue we all love so much in Colorado and the sun’s sleepy rays were slowly starting to peek through the shimmering snowflakes.

While temperatures were a bit chilly (0 degrees at the summit), the snow was nothing short of incredible!  With 6 inches in the past 24 hours, some falling before the mountain closed and some falling after, the groomers had several inches of fresh snow and the trees were filled with fun little powder stashes.  With 100% open terrain for the season, Steamboat boasts an incredible variety for every type of skier and rider.

Just as the snow was incredible this morning, so too was the lighting.  It was magical, it was surreal.  At mid-mountain, the heavy cloud-cover seeping up from the valley floor was starting to lift.  At the summit, blue skies above prevailed as the sun’s rays started to break through the gently lifting morning clouds.  It was so magical that it created the stunning scene you see below from the top of Sunshine Peak.

The holidays in Steamboat are a special time, and a lot of people come to enjoy the holidays in our friendly little ski town.  While it is a busy time, one way to get around the crowds is to do First Tracks in the Sunshine Peak area.  Starting at 8 AM, you can load the gondola and ski or ride fresh powder or fresh corduroy off of Sundown Express and Sunshine Express.  Steamboat limits the number of people who can use First Tracks daily, so you are guaranteed no crowds and fresh turns.

With First Tracks on my mind, Steamboat is offering an awesome benefit program for Ikon and Steamboat season passholders with the Ski Your Pass Off program.  When you reach certain milestones on your season pass (10 days, 20 days, 40 days, 60 days, 80 days, 100 days, 120 days and 140 days), you can stop into the Ikon Pass office (located to the right of Base Camp and the ticket window) to receive your reward of a Dining Dollars voucher and milestone helmet sticker.  The reason First Tracks comes to mind is because if you ski and/or ride 10 days before the New Year, you can earn a free First Tracks voucher to be used through the remainder of the season, pending space available.  With five days left in 2018, you still have a chance to earn a First Tracks voucher, which trust me, is absolutely worth it!

With colder temperatures in store through the end of the year, the abundant snow that Steamboat has received so far this season should remain in great shape.  Embrace the chilly temperatures as it creates snow conditions that we all love, day in and day out.

Happy Thursday and happy remainder of 2018!

Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier

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