Steamboat’s Best Snowboard Runs
Certain slopes favor skiers while other trails have snowboarders in mind, and most terrain is tailored to both. Personally, I am a skier and a snowboarder and do enjoy some terrain more on my snowboard. For an intermediate to advanced snowboarder, these runs are sure to keep you challenged and smiling at the same time.
If I wake up to the “it’s a powder day in the ‘boat” snow report, I know exactly where my first run will be on my snowboard: the Two-Thirty trees (between Twilight and Three O’Clock). With more pines and open spaces at the top, Two-Thirty turns into a gorgeous aspen grove that is not too tight, and has a great pitch (not too steep and definitely not too flat). It continues over the Duster cat track and boasts a really fun mix of pines and aspens until you run into Daybreak. From there I always get back on Sundown Express and head straight to another favorite on a powder day when I’m snowboarding: Closets or Sideburns (or both if time allows).
Closets is tucked into gorgeous glades of pine trees with open meadows in between. Sideburns (right next to Closets) hugs the side of Storm Peak South and also has open meadows amongst the pines. Both are great for snowboarders on a powder day as the terrain is not too steep and the trees are not too tight. Two other trails I love on my snowboard on a powder day are North St. Pats at the tip-top of Mt. Werner (if you don’t mind the trek out where you’ll have to skate your board a bit) and Middle Rib to Outlaw off of Pony Express. Middle Rib to Outlaw has some really fun powder stashes just to the side of the trail (and not beyond the ropes). It is a great run to stay on a more designated trail but have a little freedom to dip in and out of the trees to the sides.
When the sun is shining bright and the corduroy is a wave of velvety ripples, there are certain slopes that make my grin just a little bit bigger. For a stunning run with pristine valley views, I love riding Over Easy from the top of Morningside Lift. Over Easy comes out into Buddy’s Run, and often I chase the sunshine and head over to Rainbow (via Calf Roper) and then ultimately to Moonlight. There is a fun little lip to the rider’s right of Moonlight as you get closer to the bottom of the trail that is fun to play on.
In the Sunshine Peak area, Quickdraw is a really nice and flowing groomed run that offers access to some easier tree riding on and around the Sunshine Olympian Trail, if you’re looking for a more intermediate run. Off of Pony Express is one of my favorites on a bluebird groomer day: Longhorn. This trail is quite a bit steeper and narrower than Quickdraw, but seems to have the right amount of flow mixed with the right amount of challenge.
From the top of Thunderhead, Heavenly Daze and Vagabond both offer really nice terrain for snowboarders. Heavenly Daze has great width, awesome light on a sunny day and a fun and fast flow. Vagabond has various pitches from the top that are fun to ride, but the best section is actually Lower Vagabond that leads you down to Thunderhead Express. The extra width and the ability to choose steeper on the right or a little more mellow on the left is a fun compromise, especially when you are snowboarding with friends.
Two other trails that are worth mentioning are Westside and See Me. If you are skiing in the Sunshine Peak area and find yourself choosing between Rolex and Westside, as a snowboarder, I would recommend Westside (although don’t get me wrong, I love a groomed Rolex, it just has very steep pitch to it and you need to be an advanced rider to take that one on). If you are towards the bottom of the mountain and find yourself choosing between See Me and Vogue, I would recommend See Me for snowboarders. The middle section drops off with a fun steepness that flows out into a perfectly mellow grade as you get closer to the base area.
So there we are, the top ten best snowboard runs turned into the top eleven (I guess there are just too many great trails to choose from in Steamboat). For a quick peek, a list version is below:
- Two-Thirty Trees (between Twilight and Three O’Clock, on a powder day)
- Closets or Sideburns (or both, on a powder day)
- North St. Pats (if you don’t mind the skate out, on a powder day)
- Middle Rib to Outlaw (on a powder day, or even a groomer day)
- Over Easy to Rainbow to Moonlight
- Heavenly Daze
- Vagabond (Lower Vagabond in particular)
- See Me
Ski and ride with care and have a great day on the mountain! Happy Wednesday!
Erin Campbell, Snowboarder (and Alpine Skier)