Santa Claus and the snow gods worked their magic and delivered an impressive 32 inches of snow in the past week. Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas! Since my last blog one week ago, Steamboat has transformed from a mountain mostly covered in man-made snow (on open slopes) to a mountain fully dressed in winter’s finest white coat.

Tuesday sunset on Steamboat

In a few previous blogs, I mentioned that my aunt, uncle and cousins were coming to Steamboat, and that they always seem to bring the snow when they come for their annual ski vacation. I’m generally not very superstitious, but it really is pretty incredible at the snowfall that they seem to bring to our slopes time after time. They arrived Thursday, bringing just about the only snowfall we’ve received all ski season, and a very impressive one at that. Perhaps it’s coincidence, but their last name also happens to be Winters. Before I move on, I’d like to thank the Winters family for bringing winter to Steamboat. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Top of Sunshine Peak

As of Wednesday morning, nearly three-quarters of the mountain is open, including 126 trails and 14 lifts. Opening throughout the day Wednesday is the expert terrain off the top of Mount Werner, including the Chutes, Christmas Tree Bowl, North St. Pats, East Face, First Chance, Last Chance, Flying Z and Vertigo, as well as Valley View on lower mountain.

Broadway view of the Flat Tops

After a mostly clear night in Steamboat, temperatures were quite chilly this morning but should warm up as the day progresses and hopefully as the sun peeks through the morning clouds. Groomed runs in the Sunshine area were in fantastic shape with all of the new snow we’ve received in the past week. The corduroy was thick and soft. Essentially is was the soft and fluffy powder that recently fell, groomed into very nice and forgiving corduroy.

Soft and fluffy corduroy

Storm Peak South was a bit more firm as I suspect the wind may have been howling overnight, but the fact that we can now choose between Storm Peak, Sunshine Peak, Mount Werner (opening throughout the day) and lower mountain is especially great this time of year.

The holidays in Steamboat are so much fun that people from all over the country and world come to enjoy them. This is the time of year when the gondola line can be very long at certain times of the day, so try to come up early or a bit later to avoid the crowds. Generally between the morning hours of 10 and 11:30 are the most crowded, so arrive outside those times or use Christie Peak Express to access Thunderhead Express.

Frosty pines on Storm Peak

Another quick little tip to avoid the holiday crowds is to avoid using Elkhead Express at the end of the day when you’re done skiing in the Sunshine Peak area. Instead, use Sundown and traverse over to Storm Peak South and enjoy a top-to-bottom run (if you’re comfortable on expert terrain and your legs aren’t too tired).

And when your legs are tired and you’re ready to rest, Steamboat’s Ambassadors hand out free hot chocolate and Champagne Powder® doughnuts from 3 to 4 p.m. at the base area. Cozy up by the outdoor fire, sip your warm hot chocolate and enjoy your hard-earned treat from another great day of skiing in the ‘Boat.

Outdoor fire at the base area

Happy Wednesday to all!

 

Erin Campbell, Alpine skier

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