Sunshine and Smiles, Groomers and Grins
It’s a beautiful, mixed bag of a day. The weather is all sorts of warm and clear, the snow is diverse, and the skiers are smiling big. Today on my early morning laps, I met a number of happy people all enjoying what Steamboat has to offer. It seems that the whole darn place is jolly. Even this early, before the snow has much warmed up, bumps are good, trees are great, and the groom is marvelous. The weather in the valley is intimidating and chilly, but it is unbelievably pleasant above the base area. This has been a 30-inch week, and there’s still plenty of fresh to go around.
The first stop I made after summiting the mountain was to check out the Sunshine Peak weather station and to wave at the Champagne Powder snow camera. Steamboat has a number of live cameras on the mountain which you can access 24/7 through the website. They’re great for checking conditions or trying to spot friends the mountain. In my family, they’re a favorite whenever we go out of town. Nearby the Champagne Powder snow cam is one of Steamboat’s weather stations. From the run, you can see an array of meteorological equipment that Steamboat’s weather folk, as well as NOAA scientists, use to understand weather patterns. Check out Storm Peak Laboratory at the top of Morningside Peak and meteorologist Joel Gratz’s daily weather report at the weather page on steamboat.com.
I was sticking to groom and speed this morning because it was absolutely irresistible. Storm Peak South to Sunset was so well manicured that I could feel the corduroy in my knees. Had there not been a sage grouse relaxing in the absolute middle of Sunset, I would have set a land speed record for the run. Alas, I stopped to take a photo of her. An uphill skier commented that the Native Americans called grouse the “Fool’s Hen” because they won’t spook for anything. As he said it, another rider sped by within feet of her. I left the bird pecking her way across the tundra and continued my speedy descent toward Rainbow.
My egress from the top of Burgess Creek chair took me down the classic Vagabond and Suprise combo. From Vagabond, I spotted a hot air balloon landing in the valley. I love the whimsy that they can bring to any view. At last Sunday’s balloon glow, six balloons were filled at the base area at twilight and left to glow as people mingled beneath their colorful size.
Today will be a perfect ski day for all skill and comfort levels. When you get up the mountain, you’ll feel the sunniest of Steamboat moods. Bring you smiles, friends and cameras, and enjoy the day!
Willow Fitzgerald, Telemark skier
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