Closer to the Sun
Despite downright frigid temperatures on the valley floor this morning, higher up on the mountain, as you’re closer to the sun, temperatures were noticeably warmer and the snow was in fantastic condition. It’s another beautiful day in the ‘boat and it’s giving me another case of the Wednesday Wows!
The most noticeable weather element this morning was the temperature. As I drove across the Yampa River (typically where the coldest temperatures occur) my car registered -18 degrees. Even as I parked at the base it was still a frigid -14 degrees. The base felt really cold this morning, but the minute I stepped off the gondola at Thunderhead Lodge, I felt around a 20 degree temperature increase and it felt nice! At 11am, mid-mountain and the summit both recorded temperatures of 15 degrees, which if you ask me, is a really nice temperature for skiing.
With the significant inversion today (when it’s warmer on top of the mountain and colder at the base), it’s a good day to take advantage of everything upper mountain has to offer. Twelve of 18 lifts are now running, including every lift in the Sunshine Peak area (except Priest Creek, which usually only runs during the busiest times). Those 12 lifts are servicing 118 trails, which means that 70% of Steamboat’s terrain is now open. Last Wednesday only 33% of the terrain was open, which goes to show you how much snow we’ve received and how hard Steamboat has been working to open more terrain in the past week.
In fact, from December 12 to 16 Steamboat received 23 inches of new snow, which contributes to the season total of 127 inches. When compared to a 30-year average, Steamboat’s snow-pack is currently at 146%, which is certainly making for a solid early ski season in Steamboat.
With calm skies, brilliant sunshine, a great base and a noticeable inversion, today is a day to stick to upper mountain to enjoy the turns and take in the views. The snow on upper mountain was soft and smooth, while also having the perfect amount of grip. With hardly any skiers and riders around, I was certainly grinning as I carved nice, trust-worthy turns on wide open runs. Storm Peak South was my pick of the day. Not only was it groomed to absolute perfection, but mixed with a temperature of about 12 degrees, the snow was so smooth, so soft and had just enough grip to keep you in complete control without much effort. It really was a dreamy run, and if it weren’t for needing to write my blog, I probably would still be taking laps on it right now!
This weekend we’ll see warmer temperatures in the low 30’s before the next chance of snow returns on Christmas Eve. After that, there is a good chance of snow most days next week, although accumulations aren’t expected to be too high as the storm is tracking from the southwest, which is generally not a good direction for Steamboat to receive big snow accumulations.
If powder is what you’re wanting for Christmas, perhaps you should pay a visit to Santa at the Steamboat Holiday Festival on Sunday afternoon and tell him your Christmas wish. There will be cookie decorating, a concert, story time, a torchlight parade, fireworks, and most exciting for the kids, Santa and his reindeer friends. Ho ho ho!
Ski and ride with care and have a very happy Wednesday on the mountain!
Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier & Snowboarder
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