Ok… I don’t actually live on skis.  But when the snow flies in Steamboat, I tend to wear sticks on my feet more than I do shoes.  So it should be no surprise that I relish the opportunity to click my heels into bindings, hit the hill, and let my downward momentum take me where it will.

Last night’s fresh snow left a creamy texture to most of the runs I chose today.  Plundering through the soft stuff I found in between just about each and every mogul was a treat.  If you find yourself on the Sundown side of the mountain today, tree runs like the one you’ll find between Flintlock and Kit play host to some of the smoothest powder one could hope for.  There’s still a bit of crunch below, but the 3 or 4 inches of fresh seems to have powder-coated everything with a gentle touch of fluff.  It’s worth venturing over there if you get a chance.

No Names

My personal objective today was to branch out a bit from my early morning groomers and seek some of the steeper terrain our resort has to offer.  As I made my way over to the No Name chutes, I suddenly became aware of the organic energy spilling out from every tree, every snowflake, and every element of nature that surrounded me.  There’s a genuine softening of the soul that takes place when you dare to hike to the lesser traveled trails that you find off the Morningside chair.  This is where I found truly untouched powder snow and plenty of it.  Picking my way between the evergreens and aspens, I found my legs refreshed and ready to plant turns in a rhythmic pattern.  My senses became attune to the natural hazards that poked out from here and there, and my knees pulsed with excitement as I carved my way down and over to Flying Z.  In and along the gulch you’ll find pillows of the fresh stuff and the snow is soft and inviting.  Worth exploring if you’re up for it.  There’s simply no question that it’s deep…

Ski pole buried in snow

Making my way back to the lower mountain, I found myself greeted with a plethora of spectators enjoying a junior ski race.  A continuous flow of activity is yet another reason why life in Steamboat Springs is so cool.  Watching these youngsters make mincemeat of the GS course was thrilling.  I sometimes find it a bit humbling to think about how good these athletes are at such an early age.  If you’re interested in spectating these events, you’ll find the alpine competitors on See Me and a freestyle event on Voo Doo.  Worth a looksee, in my opinion.

Ski racer

Alas, with the beginning of a new year, I’m reminded that things here are pretty special.  I hope you have a chance to soak it in for yourself soon.  Check out Steamboat.com for info on upcoming events and enjoy the snow!

Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier

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