Snowflakes were piled up high Thursday morning in Steamboat with 9 inches reported at 5 AM and another 3 inches falling by 9 AM.  To me, that number seemed a bit conservative, because let me tell you, it was deep, Deep, DEEP up there today!

My favorite powder day tree runs were piled high with snowflakes, those light, fluffy champagne ones we all talk and dream about.  Early this morning, you did not have to worry about finding powder stashes as the entire mountain was covered in a powdery blanket of white.  Even though First Tracks was quite popular today, I still found endless powder that was untouched and just waiting for my snowboard to gently float on top.

After riding some of my go-to powder day tree runs, my pick of the day is Sideburn, just to the skier’s left of Storm Peak South.  While most people seemed to dip into Shadows and Closets at 9 AM, I chose to ride Sideburn and found thigh-deep powder completely untouched and beautifully pristine.  Visibility in the open meadows was a bit tough, but because the powder was so deep and so smooth, it simply didn’t matter.  I was able to see trees with plenty of warning, so I let my snowboard glide and enjoyed the fantastic powdery ride.

Speaking of trees, as the snow piles up in Steamboat, make sure to be aware of the danger of tree wells and to avoid them while skiing and snowboarding.  Trees covered in millions of snowflakes are so beautiful and we all love to ski in them, but they can be deceiving, especially at the base of the tree.  A skier or snowboarder who falls into a tree well can easily get stuck, and as you struggle to get out, you can sink deeper and deeper into the snow, similar to quicksand.  This time of year, as the snowflakes continue to fly, please steer clear of tree wells so you don’t find yourself stuck in a precarious and even life-threatening situation.  To learn more, check out Steamboat’s information on Deep Snow and Tree Wells.

Powder days in Steamboat are some of the best days, and we’ve been fortunate to have already had quite a few of them this ski season.  As the snowflakes continue to pileup and the base gets deeper and deeper, the powder days continue to get better and better.  With cold temperatures on the mountain today (14 degrees at mid, 11 degrees at the summit) and a winter weather advisory in effect until 2 PM, afternoon powder turns could be really nice and perhaps a necessity if you weren’t able to get up there this morning.

A true testament to a good powder day in Steamboat is when you’re able to make those coveted powder turns all the way to the base.  One of my favorite surprises of the morning was skier’s right of See Me as I was heading down.  Like at the summit, the powder was deep, and I found some great little untouched powder stashes to the side of the slope.  Today was a great day in Steamboat, and I’m certainly grateful for all of the goods the snow gods and goddesses have delivered so far this ski season.

Enjoy the snowflake pileup and happy Thursday!

Erin Campbell, Snowboarder

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