Hello from a chilly morning in the Yampa Valley.  If you looked at the thermometer this morning, you may have chosen to stay in bed as it is the coldest temps we have seen all season.  But those who were brave and made their way to the gondola first thing were rewarded with good snow, stellar views and some fast skiing.  Recent storms have blessed Steamboat Ski Area with a blanket of fresh and have added a nice touch to many of the groomers currently open.  With days worth of storms about to blast our mountain starting tonight, today may be your last chance for some fair-weather groomers.

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THE WEATHER

While the temperature at the base area was very cold, the top of the gondola held much more comfortable conditions reflecting an inversion today.  The wind is calm, the sun is breaking through the clouds, and it is adding up to a pretty nice day to be on the mountain.  It is a good idea to stay bundled up today as the expected high on the mountain is 11 degrees. It’s going to be one of those days when a short stop in the Thunderhead Lodge for a hot drink is very worth it.  The blue sky is really starting to come out as I write this report — a glorious day to be skiing Steamboat!

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THE SNOW

With the recent fresh snow, the snow is soft, carvable and for the most part predictable.  The groomers are allowing for hard carving and fast turns, although a few icy patches are still to be found here and there.  For the most part, it was the best groomer day we have had yet.  The first few runs of the day were stellar with soft corduroy and minimal skiers to be seen — very worth getting up there early for quality turns.  Although most of the fresh snow from yesterday has been skied, there are still pockets of powder to be found; you just have to do a little hunting.  There are plenty of soft bumps to be found on non-groomed runs and are skiing great — a nice way to warm your legs up for the year.  Although you can dip into the trees, be smart out there as it is still early season and there is a ton of down lumber. We have a long season ahead!

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THE STRAIGHT LINE

We found the best conditions to be on Heavenly Daze today. The snow was allowing for a good edge hold, and it’s open left to right.  Runs off of B.C. like Rudi’s and Blizzard as well as the trails accessed by Four Points were fun today, although not as smooth as lower mountain.  There are some obstacles and icy spots out there, but all in all it is a fun day to be out there on any trail.  If your legs are ready for it, enjoy the soft bumps in the Four Points area as they have opened most of that terrain.

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Do your snow dance because the forecast is looking GOOD.  We are cruising right into winter at a great pace … bring on the powder!

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Kevin Olsen, Alpine skier

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