Sparkling snow, stunning scenery, endless views, brilliant sunshine, bluebird skies and fresh, soft corduroy made the second to last day of 2020 one to remember (in a good way). As this year comes to a close, my family and I are focusing on the silver linings this year has brought us, and one of those silver linings is our deepened love and respect for the natural world. When you ski or ride at Steamboat Resort, take a minute to just be still and observe Mother Nature in all of her glory. On a bluebird day with recent snowfall (6 inches Tuesday morning and 3 more inches in the past 24 hours), it’s easy to find the peace and comfort the natural world can bring to those who take the time to look for it.
It was a chilly morning in Steamboat with negative temps at the base and a temperature of 0 degrees at mid-mountain and the summit. When you ski early, just as you reach Thunderhead on the gondola, you catch the first glimpse of the sun, which is a beautiful welcome to mid-mountain. It feels as if you’re a part of the mountain waking up for another gorgeous day in the ‘boat!
Skiing or riding Spur Run (to access Sundown Lift) provides the stunning contrast of being shaded but seeing the majestic Flat Tops dressed top to bottom in morning sunlight off in the distance. And as you near the end of the cat track section, where Spur Run gets a little steeper, the morning sun hits you and provides a magical shimmer to the fresh corduroy, with the still-shaded slopes of Rolex and Westside as an impressive backdrop. The contrast in natural lighting can provide exceptionally stunning scenery depending on the time of day, and in my opinion, morning light is hard to beat!
The summit of Sunshine Peak on a bluebird morning makes you feel as if you’re on top of the world, and allows you to find solitude as you overlook miles and miles of untouched national forest below. With some of the taller Colorado peaks off in the distance, and only pristine forest in between, take a minute to just breathe and take it all in. Taking those moments to be present and calm in nature is sure to bring you peace and comfort, even when the world around you can feel so unpredictable at times.
Today was my first day back on my snowboard for the year, and the soft and deep grooves in the corduroy (made possible by the recent snowfall) made my first turns feel easy. With newly opened terrain (1,924 total acres now open), especially on the “sunny side” (slopes accessible from Sunshine Peak), I enjoyed some of my first snowboard turns on Tomahawk and Quickdraw. I always love Tomahawk for its location next to the pristine national forest and its incredible views of the Flat Tops. It’s a must-do run when I’m skiing with my kids, but I find that the proximity to the ski area boundary gives me a sense of solitude, and makes it a must-do run for myself sometimes, especially on a quiet Wednesday morning.
The colder temperatures create frosty scenery that is hard to beat, but they also add a certain tackiness to the snow. On flatter terrain, especially if you’re a snowboarder, you’ll find that there feels to be almost too much grip in certain places. It’s key on really cold mornings to pick steep enough terrain to keep your momentum (and a safe momentum at that) as you navigate around the mountain.
Pony Express and Morningside are the two lifts that remain closed, but with 116 trails accessible via 15 chairlifts, there is plenty of open terrain in Steamboat. Ski or ride early to avoid the crowds (which are more prevalent this week than most in the ski season), and please remember to wear your mask indoors and outdoors while on Steamboat Resort property, it is required and it is respectful to all of those around you.
As 2020 comes to a close, I hope you find time to reflect on the silver linings in your life; if we all try hard enough, we’re certain to come up with at least one, but likely many, many more!
Ski and ride with care and have a great day on the mountain!
Happy Wednesday and Happy New Year!
Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier & Snowboarder
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