Walking to my car this morning, I got a familiar feeling: Cold. Not just normal cold but downright frigid, arctic cold. My car didn’t want to start, and I can’t blame it. When it did turn on, the thermometer read -13 degrees. We get our fair share of these mornings living in the Rockies, so it isn’t surprising to see that it should be in the 30s by this afternoon. Don’t give up on a beautiful day of skiing because of some scary morning temps.

With the cold air sitting down low in the valley, my first instinct this morning was to get to the top of the mountain and to find some sun. I took Storm Peak lift, and then headed across the mountain to Sunshine Bowl. Just as I suspected, the air was about 20 degrees warmer, and the sun felt amazing. On top of that, the groomers were in great shape and wide open. While they aren’t the steepest runs on the mountain, Sunshine Bowl offers a lot of space to work on skills like riding switch or riding in the trees. With so many offshoots between Tomohawk and Quickdraw, there are a lot of little pockets of trees that are easy to get in and out of.

After a few runs in in the Sunshine area, I figured it would be a perfect day to see what the snow was like up at the gates, so I dropped into Morningside and headed to the top. Morningside is another good place for beginners to try out some tree skiing. After all the powder is gone, the areas between the trees tends to be packed down, making it easier for first-timers to navigate the terrain.

It was a tough choice for where to go from the top of Morningside. Unfortunately, I made the wrong choice. A few turns after dropping into Christmas Tree Bowl, I realized what I was in for. The top portion of this area is very steep, so the main lines can get beat up pretty quickly after a storm. If you really want to ride some of our steepest terrain today, I would recommend hiking to the weather station at the top of the gates and then taking No Names or North St. Pats. Since the runs up there are so spread out, you can usually find some left over powder in between the more obvious lines.

While there may not be much powder left over from last week’s storms, the mountain is still in great shape. The base is pretty good for this time of year, and with cobalt blue skies in all directions, it couldn’t be much prettier out there.

Dan Tullos

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