Over the past month, watching the man-made transformation at Steamboat Ski Resort has been beyond impressive. It is no secret that Steamboat, Colorado and pretty much most of the West have been lacking in December snowfall thus far. While the early-season snowfall has been nothing close to impressive, what the snowmaking and grooming crews have accomplished in Steamboat has been beyond impressive. In fact, it has been record-breaking!
Each Wednesday has been a little different with more and more terrain and lifts opening up. Today was my first ride up Storm Peak Express, and it felt so nice to reach 10,372 feet in Steamboat. The scattered morning light around the valley made for some pretty scenery, especially when you look out toward the south valley and the Flat Tops Wilderness.
From the top of Storm Peak, you can either ski Storm Peak South (Storm face as a lot of locals say) or Buddy’s Run. I chose Buddy’s Run not only because it’s one of my favorites, but also because I was curious to ski what I had watched being transformed last week. One week ago, as I rode up Four Points lift, I saw snow guns ablaze all over Buddy’s Run. Knowing how hard the snowmaking and grooming crews have been working, I wanted to see if all of their hard work has paid off. The answer is yes! Buddy’s has great coverage the entire width of the normal slope. No bare spots, no twigs or grass peeking up through the snow, just nicely groomed man-made snow. When you consider the snow we’ve received, it’s really cool to witness this man-made transformation first hand.
I also enjoyed a run on Rainbow this morning, before Storm Peak Express was open. Upper Rainbow is in great shape, and the corduroy was perfectly soft and grippy, if you were able to catch those first turns of the morning. Lower Rainbow had less coverage but was open and still fun to ski. Toward the bottom of lower Rainbow, do beware of some exposed terrain, which is well marked by ski patrol.
This is the time of year when it is extremely important to pay attention to and obey all signage that our ski patrol team has in place on the mountain; they have it there for a reason and for your own safety. You will notice ski patrol moving signage and closed fence barriers as new terrain continues to open. Please make sure to respect all closures and pay attention to all signage as you adventure around the mountain.
Today was also my first time this year on upper Vagabond and subsequently on Thunderhead lift. Upper Vagabond had some great corduroy, particularly on the sides of the slope. Where upper Vagabond meets lower Vagabond, you’ll notice where the snowmaking crews have shifted their focus for the time being. Lower Vagabond is closed, so take Betwixt over to Eagles Nest for a fun lower mountain diversion. Of course, I had to end my morning with a Heavenly Daze to See Me run, another personal favorite. Again, sticking to the side of the slope, I found some excellent corduroy that was just waiting to be found by some freshly tuned ski edges.
In hopes to not jinx the forecast, I’m not going to talk too much about weather today. I will continue my snow dance, because at some point the snow gods and goddesses are bound to watch our crazy dancing in Steamboat. For now, get out and enjoy some nice turns on the mountain, notice the impressive man-made transformation, and work on your legs before the powder hits and your legs are burning in the very best way possible.
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and happy Wednesday to all!
Erin Campbell, Alpine skier
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