It’s dark and cold, the snow is flying, and breakfast shops in town are not serving coffee yet. But there’s a group of dedicated powder lovers that are on a mission to get true first tracks. They’re out there working hard on they way to the top. Where’s the top? That’s up to them. Maybe the Christie lift, maybe the gondola building or possibly Four Points Lodge or the top of Storm.

Morning traffic

This is definitely a quality-over-quantity adventure. We push it hard and soak it all in as we climb. I like to break it down into sections. First to the bottom of Vogue. Then to the top of See Me, over to the top of Jess’ Cut Off. From there, it’s half-way up Heavenly Daze to where it levels out a bit, then the final assault to the top of the gondola building. Along the trip, you’ll likely encounter a few snowcats, make new friends as they pass you or you pass them, and possibly see a fox or a moose, but most definitely a dog or five.

Making friends toward the top of Vogue

When at the top, it’s all about what path to take down. Lots of skinners will take the direct route down Heavenly Daze and over to See Me. Some will take Vagabond over to Betwixt and then down past Bashor Bowl. When the snow is deep, I prefer the bump turns down Oops over to Vertigo, where the right side is always in good shape. I’ll then quickly throw the skins back on for a quick climb up Main Drag to the top of the Christie lift. From there, it’s either down See Me or over to Vogue for the final turns.

Three lift towers from the gondola building

Anyone can skin up the mountain. The day before you want to skin, download this form and drop it off at the Welcome Center. It’s that easy.

It’s been snowing a lot this week. Our official snow report is taken at 5 a.m., and it’s a good idea to check our website, our snow total app or the snow cam. It’s not rare to get another 4 to 6 inches of snow between 5 and 8 a.m.

See you on the morning climb.

Garett Mariano, Alpine skier

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