While the cold temperatures may have been a bit intimidating this morning, the gorgeous blue skies and spectacular views certainly were not. Dramatic skies and howling winds earlier this week made way for a peaceful, calm and sparkling bluebird Wednesday in Steamboat.
I’ll admit, as I drove across the river this morning, taking note of a temperature of -18 degrees, I was a little wary of heading up on the mountain myself. While I knew the temps were downright frigid, I also knew that the sunshine was beyond abundant, which really can go a long way in Colorado. Seeking out the early morning rays, I headed straight for the appropriately named Sunshine Peak area.
Sunshine Peak catches the first rays of the morning sun, and today was definitely a day to follow the sun. The summit registered a temperature of -3 degrees early this morning, but it’s amazing what a little bit (or really, what a lot of) sunshine can do to those negative temps. I chose to stick to the most sunny runs like Tomahawk, Quickdraw, Flintlock and Sunshine Lift Line, which are more southeast facing than the rest. If you have a First Tracks pass, head straight for those runs to catch the best morning rays.
Colder temperatures can mean some really great things for the snow conditions. This morning, in particular, the snow had a really great grip about it, allowing for some fun and easy turns. In fact, the grip was so nice that I practiced riding switch on my snowboard most of the morning. Some of the more mellow runs in the Sunshine Peak area are great practice grounds for riding your snowboard the way you’re not used to, or not most comfortable.
The colder temperatures also mean that the great snow conditions will hold up throughout the day. While the fresh corduroy won’t be there all day, it will give way to smooth slopes without push piles and will maintain a nice, grippy texture. Even if you’re not the first one on the slopes, you should be able to enjoy some great turns all day long.
And speaking of soft and amazing corduroy, it was just that this morning. The cold, grippy texture paired with the softer ripples in the corduroy made for some trustworthy turns while riding switch most of the morning.
Spectacular views were also a highlight this Wednesday morning, allowing for stunning 360 degree views from the summit. To the south, you could see the winds howling around the Flat Tops. And to the north, you could see the calmer skiers surrounding Hahn’s Peak. One of the things that drew me to Colorado in the first place were the incredible skies. Not only are they filled with sunshine over 300 days a year, but they are also big, open and vast, allowing you to see for miles and miles. Today was one of those days (like most) that reminded me of why I came to Steamboat and never left.
With sparkling blue skies and really nice snow conditions, the only thing about today is dealing with the colder temperatures. Steamboat has some great warm-up options on the mountain, so make sure to visit Four Points Lodge, Rendezvous Lodge or Thunderhead Lodge if you’re starting to feel the February chill.
Today was truly an inspiring morning on the mountain, and I hope you too can be inspired by a sparkling bluebird day in Steamboat.
Erin Campbell, snowboarder