Winter Solstice, Pristine Corduroy and Pony Express
Wednesdays have proven to be exciting days as a Straight Talker. Whether it be fresh powder, pristine groomers, new lifts opening or new terrain opening, Wednesdays are exciting days at Steamboat Ski Resort, and today certainly did not disappoint. My husband was the lucky one who got to ski last Saturday, a 22″ powder day, and I naturally had what we call “BOFMO” (Bummed Out For Missing Out) as I stayed home with our two kids; however, I was the lucky one today who got to take some of the very first turns off Pony Express for the season. As of today, Pony is open, along with terrain on Pioneer Ridge. Happy winter solstice everyone!
The groomers in the Sunshine area were perfect this morning. If you don’t believe me, check out the above photo. The corduroy was pristine and provided really nice grip for some fast turns on empty runs. Rolex was groomed last night, and while I am a sucker for Westside, a groomed Rolex is hard to beat. I usually ride solo on my Straight Talk mornings, but today, I ran into fellow Straight Talker Kevin Olsen, featured in this photo on Rolex.
Storm face (a.k.a. Storm Peak South) was fun, fast and in great shape, especially since we got some of the first turns of the day. Rainbow was also in perfect condition this morning despite some low-lighting, which will only improve as the sun rises in the sky. When the corduroy is perfect and the runs are empty, I love to seek out some of the steeper groomers like Rolex, Storm Peak South and Longhorn (Valley View is also a favorite run when it’s groomed, so keep an eye on the Trail Status report and look for the little snowcat icon).
Just before getting on Storm Peak Express, we noticed Pony Express had just started loading for the season, so we decided to catch some of the very first runs on Pioneer Ridge. We found some untracked powder stashes to the left of Longhorn before enjoying the rest of a groomed, empty and steep run. The best surprise of the morning was Half Hitch, a run I hardly ever take, but I found some super soft, deep and untouched powder — the kind you simply float on top of, feeling as if you’re floating in an Alpine cloud.
Lower mountain, although fun, was a little more crunchy this morning, but I anticipate the snow will soften up nicely as the day goes on. The groomers up top were certainly my pick of the day with the colder temps and better visibility on Sunshine Peak and, of course, the sweet little powder stashes waiting to be found off Pony Express.
Today is the shortest day of the year, but more importantly, it’s the first day of winter! While it has certainly felt like winter all December, it’s officially here as of 3:44 a.m. MST this morning. This has been a confusing thing to try to explain to my 3 1/2-year-old son, so I’m glad that we can all celebrate winter, one of my favorite seasons, and certainly one of the very best seasons Steamboat has to offer (although, I have to admit, summers are pretty rad too). Happy skiing and riding, happy winter and happy Wednesday everyone!
Erin Campbell, snowboarder
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