A Powder Reality
Untouched champagne powder®, fluffy corduroy, 2,369 acres of open terrain spread across 142 trails, no crowds whatsoever and new snow daily is just a quick summary of the current conditions in Steamboat. In the 13 ski seasons I’ve spent in Steamboat, this one has had the best start by far and is certainly making for an early December to remember.
What I’m most excited about and can’t wait to blog about is the fact that it was very much a powder day in the ‘Boat! Since it wasn’t officially a powder day, I will call it a powder reality. Now, Steamboat only received two new inches of snow overnight, which does not warrant that much anticipated saying of “It’s a powder day in the ‘Boat!” However, what did make it a powder day in the ‘Boat is all of the new terrain that opened this morning, giving skiers and riders access to an abundance of pristine champagne powder® on Sunshine Peak and Mount Werner.
If you were lucky enough to ski or ride First Tracks this morning, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Off of Sunshine Peak (now open for the season), there weren’t simply powder stashes, there were open bowls and endless trees full of untracked champagne powder®. Back on my snowboard for the first time this season, I felt as if I was gently floating amidst sparkling fluffy clouds without a soul around. It honestly felt like a dream, but in fact, it was a powder reality.
With 142 trails now open for the season, this new terrain gives access to areas on the mountain that haven’t been skied or ridden this year. In addition to Sunshine Bowl now being open, a local’s favorite is also open for the season: Morningside. You can access Morningside from the top of Sunshine, Sundown or Storm Peak lifts, but do be aware that if you access Morningside via Biscuits (from the top of Sundown or Sunshine), you will want to stay to the right so you don’t get stuck in flat, deep powder (especially if you’re on a snowboard).
From Morningside, you can now access some of the hike-to terrain at the top of Mount Werner like East Face and North St. Pats. Not all of the hike-to terrain is open (like No Names and Christmas Tree Bowl), so make sure to pay attention to where the ropes are and obey the signs denoting closed terrain. While I didn’t get the first tracks on North St. Pats, I had some awesome powder turns on one of my very favorite trails. One thing to know if you do ski or ride Mount Werner is that Last Chance (the cat track you ski or ride out) leads you back to the top of Pony Express, and will require some additional hiking with your skis or snowboard. The bonus there is that you can pretty easily access terrain off of Pioneer Ridge, and without Pony Express being open, you’re sure to find some oh so sweet powder stashes.
In addition to some amazing powder turns, the groomed runs were also in fantastic shape this Thursday morning. Fluffy corduroy covered the groomers early, but with cold temperatures (in the low 20’s), those trails will hold up really nicely throughout the day and should not develop any push piles, giving skiers and riders a smooth ride all day long. In the Sunshine Bowl area, some of the groomed runs were even covered in a few inches of fresh powder, make for an especially smooth and dreamy ride.
Since Steamboat opened on November 21st, we’ve received 47 inches of new snow. That snow has fallen 11 out of the 16 days the mountain has been open. In the past week, Steamboat has received 29 inches of new snow, and what is especially impressive is that we’ve received new snow every single day in the past week. Mid-mountain has a base of 35 inches and the summit boasts an impressive 47-inch base. With 2,369 acres open, 142 trails open and 13 lifts open, Steamboat is in incredible, fantastic, amazing and surreal early season shape. It may feel like a dream, but it is very much a reality.
Just as I was hoping, this December is absolutely one to remember. Happy Thursday!
Erin Campbell, Snowboarder