As the groomer days start to pile up and the last traces of fresh snow get packed down, I decided that it’s time for a change. Since I can’t change the weather, It is time to change my gear. That’s right, this snowboarder is going skiing!
So first thing’s first: I have skied in the past. Over the 10 years I have lived in Steamboat, I have put in roughly 20 days on my skis. These days usually involve sunny spring conditions and sloppy form that would make most of you wince. So in an effort to improve, I made a decision this year to leave the board at home more often and work on my skills with two planks.
The goal for today was to do three things skiers all seem to love: carve GS turns down a fresh groomer, try out some tree skiing and take a mogul run.
My day started with a ride up the gondola and some excruciating pain caused by these monstrosities called ski boots. I know that using hand-me-down boots that don’t fit might not be the best plan, but I don’t know how you skiers put these things on day in and day out.
The first of my three objectives was pretty easy for me. The cold temps in the valley (-11 at my house) and the early start I got meant that most of the groomers where wide open. As usual, High Noon was excellent and provided a great, wide groomed surface to set turns. Using just about every inch of the run, it’s easy to see why skiers enjoy having two edges on which to turn.
Since groomers where going to be a big part of my day in general, I decided to dip into the trees toward Sunshine lift to get it out of the way. Even though these trees are perfect for beginners, it did feel a little awkward having to make quick decisions on skis. However, the snow in there was soft enough to make the run enjoyable. The key to navigating trees no matter what type of board you are on is to look at the spaces between the trees rather than the trees themselves.
I achieved my final goal of the day on the way down the front side of the mountain. I took a peek down Concentration but decided it was a bit too daunting for me this morning, although I’m sure it would have been pretty entertaining for the people riding Thunderhead. I took the upper section of Vagabond down to Betwixt and cut over to the top of Mother Nature. There was some brush sticking up through the snow, but it looked fairly soft.
So with a morning of skiing under my belt, I dropped in to the moguls. Needless to say, it didn’t go as well as I would have hoped.
So there you have it, my first day on skis this year is over and done. I have to say, it was a good time. Mixing things up can be a fun way to experience our great terrain in a new way.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder