Carving in the Cold
The weather in the Rockies can vary pretty wildly from one day to the next. One day can be sunny and warm enough to ride in a fleece and the next can be so cold that you need to bundle up like you are on an Arctic expedition. Even though this morning felt closer to the north pole than the equator it was still worth braving the cold for the great conditions. There was a dusting of snow last night, but the real star of the show today is the groomed runs. From High Noon and all the Sunshine Bowl runs to the lower mountain runs from the Gondola, it was a perfect morning for making big wide turns.
Even though my car thermometer showed a balmy 7 degrees this morning, I knew that the temp at the top was sitting around -6 F so I made sure to wear as many layers as I could. An extra fleece or puffy layer will make a big difference in your comfort out there, but the most important piece of gear today is going to be a face mask. When the temps dip this low it can be the difference between enjoying your run and feeling like your nose is about to freeze off. So with the cold temp warning out of the way, on to the mountain conditions.
The groomed runs around Sundown lift were the best I found this morning. There was a trace of snow sitting on the corduroy that either fell this morning or blew in from the trees. Either way it was really fun to carve across. The snow underneath it was firm and fast while the new snow made it feel soft and surfier. I found good conditions on 1 & 2 O’clock but I think the best run in the area is High Noon to west side. The traverse over to west side was a little slow but the conditions on the run were perfect.
If you are looking for a mix of beginner and intermediate runs this morning then Sunshine Bowl is going to be your best bet. Sure, it’s a bit colder up there than the lower mountain, but there is almost no one out there so you can have most of the runs to yourself. Sunshine lift line was nice and smooth this morning and Tomahawk should be just as good. The cold temps have been great for keeping the snow soft and preventing any icy patches from forming.
It might not look like the best day up there, but trust me, as long as you are prepared for the cold you will have a great time. Once you are bundled up and ready to go the cold can turn from a burden into a fun aspect of being on the mountain. Not only will you get to ride in some great snow conditions, but you can brag to your friends back home about how tough you are. So bundle up and enjoy.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder
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