The New Year has brought abundant sunshine, gorgeous views and quite chilly temperatures to Steamboat Springs and the surrounding Yampa Valley.  It is beautiful, but it is cold.  I’m calling it, The Beautiful Chill.  With the 127 inches of snow we’ve received so far this season, and cold temperatures to preserve that great snow, Steamboat is in fantastic shape and certainly starting off 2019 on the right ski!

This morning was the coldest morning we’ve seen so far this ski season with a base temperature of -17 degrees when the mountain opened for the day.  As I crossed the Yampa River early this morning, my car registered -28 degrees, the coldest I’ve ever seen.  I think it is fair to say that it’s cold, it’s freezing and it’s downright frigid on this second day of January, at least down in the valley.

Thankfully, there is an inversion, and temperatures are much warmer at mid mountain.  While the base was -17 degrees this morning, mid mountain was 13 degrees and even the summit was 11 degrees.  As I stepped off the gondola, I could feel the 30 degree difference in temperature, and it really was quite enjoyable.

Steamboat has received quite a bit of snow so far this ski season, and with a solid base of 54 inches at the summit, the groomed slopes are in top-notch condition.  Immaculate corduroy was spread across many of my favorite runs on this bluebird morning, and even better, the views from those runs were simply stunning.

With the extremely crisp and clear skies, you can see out towards Utah, up towards Wyoming and down towards the dramatic peaks in Summit County.  The views from lower mountain, in particular Lower Valley View, were even stunning looking out towards the Flat Tops.  If you found the cold temperatures a bit of a nuisance this morning, the fresh corduroy and unbelievable views certainly made up for it.

One thing to know about very cold temperatures is that it can create tacky snow conditions, mostly on some of the more mild terrain, and especially cat tracks.  I chose to snowboard today, as my snowboard boots keep my toes warmer than my ski boots, so I made sure to ride some of the steeper terrain to make up for the tacky snow conditions.  At mid mountain and the summit, the groomed runs were in great shape.  Below mid mountain, since the temperature dropped the closer you got to the base, the snow became a bit more tacky in spots.  Stick to steeper terrain and try to avoid cat tracks, especially if you’re on a snowboard, to avoid having to clip out and push your board.

With warmer temperatures and smoother groomers, I would recommend skiing and riding above mid-mountain for the rest of today.  Tomorrow will bring warmer temperatures through Saturday, with snow returning to the valley on Sunday.

Celebrate the new year with Steamboat’s deep blue skies, abundant sunshine, stunning views and best of all, fantastic snow conditions!

Happy New Year and Happy Wednesday!

Erin Campbell, Snowboarder

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