I will admit to being pessimistic about this season in the fall. With the threat of a super El Niño bearing down on us, I just couldn’t imagine that we would even have an average year. Oh, how wrong I was! Not only did we have a great year, but we beat our average for snowfall and are closing out the season with beautiful blue skies and a 72-inch base. I had too many powder days this season to remember and rode lines that I haven’t been on in years. So I would like to officially apologize to Mother Nature for doubting her. I won’t do it again.
On to the spring! Now that the air is warm, the sun is a bit higher in the sky and the season is winding down, we can start to appreciate all that is spring riding. The first rule of riding in the spring is don’t get up for first chair. There is a reason that the only people at the top of Thunderhead this morning besides me were all in race gear. The runs were so hard that I’m not sure I even left a track in the groomers. But don’t fear, something magical happens on sunny days in the spring. The sun will warm the slopes, and those ice-cold death groomers transform into slushy fun paths down the mountain.
Since this is probably the first time I have told you to wait to go up to the mountain, I will tell you where to go instead of where I went. The first runs to warm up are going to be on the lower mountain. So take a few runs down from the gondola and get your legs going. Maybe take a run through our new park features on Preview since the takeoffs will still be fast. After that, I recommend spending the rest of your morning taking runs from the Sundown and Sunshine lifts before swinging around to the Storm Peak side of the mountain for the afternoon. The bump runs under Four Points should start to soften up around midday, so you can always spend your afternoon slaying slushy bumps. Finish your day off with an ice-cold beer on one of our many slopeside decks, and bask in the sunshine and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Every winter I live in Steamboat I am reminded of what an amazing place I get to call home. From early morning powder days to flying down groomers under cobalt skies, being on the mountain makes winter something to truly celebrate here in the Boat. So as I take my last run down the mountain this year, I’ll be thinking about the amazing times I’ve had in this town, the times to come and how lucky I am to get to be a part of it all.
See you next season!
Dan Tullos, snowboarder