It’s hard to believe, but high on the mountain is the warmest spot in town right now.  With simply frigid temperatures down in the valley this morning, an inversion has offered warmer conditions at the ski area for us to play in.  The early temperatures must have kept everyone in bed today because there were only a handful of people braving the cold at the gondola first thing.  But those who made it to the hill early were greeted at the top of the gondola with warm rays of sun shining through a clear Colorado sky.

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It was a very cold drive to the ski area this morning, but I knew that we would be skiing perfect lines of corduroy in comfortable conditions as soon as we got to the top of the mountain.  The sun and mild temperature at the top of Thunderhead almost felt like a spring day compared to the base area, and we took a moment to enjoy it before clicking into our skis.  The temperature varied a bit back to the cold once we made it to the Sundown area, but the sun felt amazing each time we arrived at the top of Sundown lift.  The cold temperatures have kept the snow in great condition offering up consistent and smooth groomers to carve into no matter what run we chose.

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We sampled the perfectly manicured corduroy all morning long, making wide turns and taking up the entire run just because we could.   With only a few other skiers and riders on the mountain first thing today, it felt like we were carving up a private ski resort.

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The grooming report was a very useful tool as usual, giving us a guide to what runs had long lines of fresh corduroy to sink our edges into.  We found consistent conditions on most runs, offering us soft and carvable snow to enjoy.

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We eventually turned our focus to the Storm Peak area that had some great groomed options today like Sunset, Cyclone and Storm Face.  Buddy’s Run is always a great choice and was skiing particularly well today offering up the softest snow we found this morning.  Many of the Storm Peak runs don’t see early morning rays of sun, so it kept pretty chilly over there, but the snow quality made it hard to pass up.  Every run left us smiling as we continued to find amazing solitude and empty lift lines lap after lap.

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We finished our morning on lower mountain which offered up some fun carving and noticeably colder temperatures.  There were still plenty of lines to be had as most folks are keeping away from the bottom and the cold.  My advice would be to keep to the upper mountain this morning as it is much more comfortable and the snow seemed to be in slightly better condition.  There are soft bumps and some fresh tracks to be found all over the mountain still, but we chose to keep it all on groomed runs to kick the day off.  Plenty of stuff out there to explore!

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It looks like we are going to have a couple perfect blue sky days ahead before the next storm arrives on Thursday to bless us with more powder.  It is a great day to enjoy some quiet runs in the sun under a perfect bluebird Colorado sky!

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Pick of the mountain today is Lower High Noon: the grooming team did an excellent job leaving smooth lines on the entire run allowing for fast and predictable turns.  I love the contour of that run!

Stay warm and have a great day on the mountain.

Kevin Olsen, Alpine skier

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