Empty runs, mild temperatures and soft snow… what a difference a few days can make.

The holiday season brings people here from all over the country to enjoy the magic of the Yampa Valley and Steamboat Ski Area for a few weeks.  We are so thankful for everyone that chose to spend their time with us to enjoy some Champagne Powder while braving some very cold temperatures in the last days of 2014.  It is obvious today that the holiday season has passed, with runs on the mountain being absolutely empty and lift lines non existent.  With the lack of crowds combined with soft and carvable groomers, we were able to get out for some fast laps today making for a great Monday morning.

Skier on a trail

Every day, there is a grooming report available at the bottom of the Gondola that details each run that has a fresh carpet of corduroy waiting for you to carve your signature into.  I was surprised to find Ted’s Ridge and both parts of Valley View freshly groomed today, so it was a great place to kick off the morning.  Big and fast turns started the day off right before the upper lifts started turning.  Today’s grooming report showed that Tornado and Cyclone had also been manicured so we made our way to Storm Peak to enjoy more fast groomers in complete solitude.

Skier on a trail

The weather offered us a challenge today with flat light conditions and a bit of moisture in the air that created a layer of ice on our goggles that needed to be wiped off during each run.  But on a positive note it is considerably warmer than it has been in the last couple weeks offering much comfort for being high up in the mountains.  We were thankful that the groomers were smooth and consistent today so we could keep up fast runs while vision was tough.  It helps if you stay close to the edge along the trees to offer some contrast – plus you get to admire our incredible forest caked in a winter blanket.

Snow covered trees

Much of the Sundown and Sunshine area is groomed today as well so we finished things up with High Noon, Rolex and West Side.  Not a bad choice out there, but the upper mountain is definitely skiing better than below Thunderhead currently.

Pick of the mountain today is Tornado – a treat that is rarely groomed, but super fast and fun when it is!

Grab your low light lenses and head up for a great day of empty runs today!

Kevin Olsen, Alpine skier

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