Changing Light on the Mountain
Steamboat in the winter can feel a little bit like living in a snow globe that someone left in a paint mixer. When the storms start coming one after the other, we can go weeks without really seeing the sun. Even though I would be OK with nothing but snow from November to April, you can’t truly enjoy the storms without a little sun here and there. Now that the systems have moved on, it looks like we will have a chance to dig out and enjoy the view for a few days. I woke up to overcast skies this morning, but the sun in the forecast got me thinking about how unique the light can be on our mountain. Days like today can be a mixture of flat light, brilliant sunshine and everything in between.
Because the sun rises behind the mountain, the early mornings on Mt Werner can be a little dark. As the sun is creeping across the valley and lighting up the town, most of the runs on the mountain are still in deep shadows. The contrast between the dark ridges and light below creates a beautiful scene that really reminds you of how high up you are. I like to start out on runs like Vagabond and Buddy’s so I can really appreciate the unique view you get in the morning.
The sun poking through the mist can feel other worldly when the conditions are just right.
Once the clouds move out enough for the sun to hit the slopes, the best place to start your day is on the runs near Sunshine lift. Not only does this area have the best intermediate terrain on the mountain, but the views of the south valley and the Flat Tops Wilderness are spectacular. These stately mountains were named the Flat Tops for obvious reasons but don’t let their shape fool you, they top out a few thousand feet higher than Mt Werner. If you want to know more about the views from our mountain, there is a great photo display in the Gondola building that shows you what you can see from the top.
As I write this the clouds have almost all cleared away from the mountain and the sun is out in full force. Aside from white out blizzard conditions, this is what I think of when I think of riding in Colorado. Very few things compare to a scenic lift ride with fluffy snow all around and cobalt blue skies up above.
With all the snow we have had in the past few weeks, you should be able to find great conditions almost anywhere on the mountain. If you are looking for fast turns on crisp groomers, I would take some laps down High Noon to Rolex and West Side. They were both groomed this morning and are riding really fast.
If you are looking for some left over powder, i would head up Morningside lift to the top of the mountain. There should be a lot of the soft stuff hiding in the trees between the open runs. Finally, if you are looking to relax in the sunshing, then the patio at 4-points is the only way to go. No matter what you are looking for, it would be hard not to enjoy a beautiful day like this in Steamboat.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder
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