Wednesday morning with fresh snow was a shimmering and sparkling bluebird day to ski in Steamboat, and if you got up there early enough, you basically had the mountain all to yourself.

Feeling on top of the world at Sunshine Peak early Wednesday morning.

There has been some chatter recently about the gondola line, and quite frankly, some complaints. I’ll admit, the gondola line at times may look long and a bit intimidating, but you need to remember that Steamboat Resort is following all COVID-19 regulations to keep us all safe. The line isn’t any longer (in terms of people in it) than it has been, but it is spaced out at an acceptable social distance, which means that the length of the line may appear to be longer than it actually is. Instead of about a foot between people or family groups, there is now an expected six feet between those same groups (so if you add about five feet in length per family group, you can see how the length can very quickly get much longer than it may seem).

Ski early on weekdays (outside of holidays) to avoid crowds, but also remember that the gondola line is socially distanced and there is a loading capacity, making it seem longer than it is, especially on the weekends.

I skied on Sunday with my husband and my two kids, and I honestly appreciated the distance between different groups and felt the “line experience” to be more pleasant than in the past when we’ve all been jammed up against one another. You also need to remember that there is a loading capacity, which ultimately slows the line down as well, but that is also being done to keep us all safe during the pandemic (and how great that we get to ride up just with our one group and enjoy a little more space and privacy; it makes the gondola ride more of an experience, especially if you have your kids with you).

Skiing on Sunday with my husband and my youngest son on Swinger.

When I ski on my own, I don’t mind taking the gondola one bit. When I ski with my kids, they are honestly pretty patient and love taking the gondola as well. However, there are some days where getting on Christie Peak Express is just the easiest thing to do with kids; their gear all stays on (no whacking each other in the face with skis and poles), and we just have to sit down on a chairlift and remember to keep our tips up. Taking Christie over to Thunderhead is a great and open-air way to get on the mountain without taking the gondola, if the line looks a bit too long for you.

Rough Rider Basin (photo take a few weeks ago)

If your kids are disappointed in not riding the gondola, remind them that Rough Rider Basin is en route to Thunderhead, where they can ski through all of the fun little buildings (and even do Poma laps should they want to). Whenever my kids are adamant about the gondola but it just feels like too much, Rough Rider is always the way to get them easily up Christie and over to Thunderhead (from the top of Christie, take Boulevard and cut across Eagles Nest being mindful of uphill skiers to enter Rough Rider Basin; I make sure my kids are right with me cutting across Eagles Nest, and remind them to look uphill for skiers as well).

Upper Flintlock with powder on the side of beautiful corduroy

In the past week, Steamboat has received 15 new inches of snow, spread out across six days. We seem to be getting a few inches here and a few inches there. Last week the temps were a bit warmer, which means great base-packing snow, and this week the temps feel very much in line with January in Steamboat Springs (which means a bit frigid at times).

Soft powder in the trees on Sunshine Peak

Luckily for me the most amount of snow fell Tuesday into early Wednesday morning (4 inches in 24 hours), which made the sides of the the beautifully groomed slopes sparkling and inviting with fresh powder just waiting for my skis. I had a great time carving nice turns on the corduroy and then dipping into the powder and letting my skis glide a bit more as the champagne powder® floated gently in the air, catching sparkles on the sun’s early morning rays.

Moving between early morning shadows on Spur Run and into brilliant rays of sunshine

There is always something spiritual for me as I hide in the shadows of the mountain and then pop out into the sun’s brilliant morning rays. It’s a peaceful, calm, spiritual and downright amazing way to start the day, and keeps me more in tune with the natural world of Steamboat Resort.

At the top of See Me, overlooking the Yampa Valley below

Until next time, ski and ride with care (and with your masks properly on) and have a fantastic day on the mountain!

Happy Wednesday!

Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier & Snowboarder

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