A wise person once said, all good things must come to an end. While that may be true in general, it doesn’t apply to the winter season here in Steamboat. At least not yet. The Bomb Cyclone dropped 7 inches of snow last night and even more at the summit creating mid winter conditions across most of the mountain. It doesn’t happen every year, but face shots in April are one of the truly great things about being in Steamboat.
After some very warm temps early in the week, I was surprised to see that it was only 7 degrees at the top this morning. So after digging my puffy jacket out of the closet I got to the mountain early for first tracks. The dusting of snow we got down in the valley might have deterred a lot of people this morning because the line was short and we pretty much walked right on. The short line was a clue, but the mad dash of powder-hounds from the gondola down to Sundown lift was confirmation that today was truly a local’s day. Like going to the grocery store on a Sunday, you were sure to run into someone you knew out there.
Unlike most spring storms, this one came in cold so the snow was classic Steamboat Champagne Powder. With about 10 inches near the top of the mountain, the smoother runs were nice and soft. The bump runs were a bit tricky though and I saw more than a few people get bucked by a surprise mogul in the seemingly smooth surface. Even though the snow was deep, there was a very tough crust lurking underneath if you carved too hard in the wrong spot. But beggars can’t be choosers, so it’s worth heading up there to find the soft spots.
The best game plan for today is to stay as high up on the mountain as possible. The tree runs at the top of Sundown like Twilight and Closet are where the softest turns will be found. As you get lower, the crust gets a little tougher to deal with so its best to take your time near the bottom. It was still dumping up there when I left, so it’s possible that a lot of tracks will be filled in during the afternoon.
Even though this winter has only been slightly above average for Steamboat, it really has felt like a big one. Whether it was the big dumps like our 17″ day or those weeks with 5 or 6 inches every day, the snow just kept coming. So if you didn’t make it up as much as you wanted this year, it’s not too late to get one last taste of that legendary Champagne Powder. See you next year!
Dan Tullos, Snowboarder.
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