Today is my birthday, and it is a day that I usually choose to spend on my favorite mountain in Colorado. Last year, my husband and I schlepped our two sons up to Four Points for my favorite lunch (cedar-plank salmon sandwich with kale quinoa salad) to celebrate the day, and this year I was able to enjoy some quiet morning runs in Steamboat. In years past, I’ve typically been on skis or a snowboard for my birthday, soaking up the springtime bliss with family and friends.
Mid-March in Steamboat boasts warm, sunny days paired with soft, springtime conditions. The weather and the snow conditions generate a lot of smiles, a lot of fun and perhaps a lot of springtime silliness.
Wednesday morning was quite warm in Steamboat with a mid-mountain temperature of 35 degrees. As clouds moved in overnight, it kept the temperatures warm and the snow soft in Steamboat. I found mid- to upper mountain to have the nicest runs this morning, fully covered in soft, thick, grippy corduroy — perfect for some birthday cruisers! Upper Vagabond was my pick of the morning, but I also enjoyed some really fun turns on Buddy’s Run, Cyclone and Sunset.
Lower mountain was a bit more firm, but as the day progresses and the sun breaks through the clouds, that snow should soften up nicely for some springtime turns. Typically in mid-March, we see warmer temps during the day and colder temps at night, which generally means that 11 a.m. is a perfect time to start skiing, once the sun has warmed up the slopes. Today was a bit atypical with the overnight clouds, but for the most part, that is a good guideline to help you plan your day on the mountain.
Yesterday, I put my skinny skis on and had an awesome day at Haymaker Nordic Center with my mom and my youngest son, Skylar. My mom suffered a knee injury that has kept her from Alpine skiing, but yesterday she got back on her cross-country skis and enjoyed the soft snow, sunny skies and great trails that Haymaker offers.
With Skylar in tow, I skied my two favorite loops at Haymaker (Fox Trail and Yampa View), covering about six miles under Colorado’s beautiful blue skies. My mom enjoyed the mellow terrain on Fox Trail for her loop, and then we reconvened at the Haymaker Patio Grill for a great lunch and cold beer.
Haymaker has terrain that can accommodate any type of skier: beginner or expert, skate or classic. It’s my goal to become more proficient at skate skiing in the year ahead but also to enjoy the cross-country glide with my youngest son in tow.
Haymaker has a solid base and anticipates being open at least through April 1, but maybe beyond depending on the weather and snow conditions. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the Nordic center is open until 6 p.m., perfect for some afternoon skiing with the extended daylight in the evenings.
With about one month of ski season left, make sure to get out and enjoy the springtime bliss that Steamboat has to offer!
Erin Campbell, Alpine skier
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