Smooth and Stormy
Happy Monday, skiers and riders! We woke up to 2 plus inches of fresh snow on the mountain. Waves of snow are passing through Steamboat. With warm temperatures and wind a factor, conditions are variable but surprisingly fun.
The snow is a cream cheese consistency, and the few fresh inches layered on top is skiing smooth. We started the morning with a gondy run down Vagabond, as the Sundown and Morningside chairs were slightly delayed while lift crews de-iced.
My first ride up the gondola was with a crew of good-natured locals despite the unexpected detour from their regular First Tracks route. We took another run down Norther to Four Points through untracked, creamy snow and caught more freshies on Sunset. By the time we reached Sundown at about 9 a.m., it was running.
You’ll want your gators today, as there are high winds on the upper mountain and a phenomenon called graupel falling on lower mountain. Because of warmer temperatures, the precipitation forms tiny ice pellets that actually create lovely, soft snow to make turns in but don’t feel so good when they hit your bare skin. It made me wish I had remembered my gator this morning. However, the soft turns were worth a little pain.
We somehow timed the delay just right and caught fresh lines down a groomed Rolex — always a treat. On the Sunshine Peak side, One O’Clock, West Side, High Noon any of the groomed slopes were consistently soft and carveable.
I didn’t have time to try out the runs off Morningside, but I suspect they will be great if you have a chance to head that direction this morning. The wind sometimes does a magical number and blows snow over that side, making conditions deeper and fluffier.
It looks like the big storm we had high hopes for is tracking south of Steamboat, though we may see a little more snow today and tonight. Stay tuned to the forecast as it seems to be a difficult one to predict.
Meanwhile, this week is the 105th annual Winter Carnival, a favorite for locals and visitors. One of the highlights is seeing Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club kids being pulled by horses on skis down a snow-covered Lincoln Avenue. Another is the watching the Lighted Man and illuminated skiers jump through a fiery hoop and make turns down Howelsen Hill on Saturday night. It’s a great week to be here and feel the spirit of our amazing local community.
For those on the fence about coming out today, it’s definitely soft and worthy. You can work off your Super Bowl hangovers on the slopes. I know there are many disappointed Patriots fans out there, but personally, I thought it was fun to see the Eagles win their first Super Bowl. I love when it’s a nail biter until the last play.
Happy skiing and riding!
Jessica Berg, Alpine skier