Who says it isn’t a powder day? Every time a little bit of new terrain opens, it feels like a new powder bounty, even if there hasn’t been a hint of snow overnight. There were still fresh tracks to be had on East Face this morning. Yes, it was a chilly one, but we are basking in beautiful sunshine and taking in the stunning views. It was my first hike of the season up the little pitch off Morningside and a little wake-up for the lungs in the brisk mountain air.

I started the morning with some groomers off Sundown. The corduroy was the perfect combination of soft, well-preserved, carvy snow, though it was cold on the face! Things are steadily warming up, and the forecast says we will hit a high of 23. It will feel downright balmy by the afternoon compared to yesterday’s sub-zero temps. We are looking at three more potential storms before 2017, with the first chance tomorrow night.

Some of my favorite groomers this morning were Sunshine Lift Line to Westside and High Noon the whole way without having to cross anyone’s tracks. How often can you say that? The cold temperatures are preserving all of the amazing weekend snow, and the mountain coverage is looking better every time I ski.

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Perfect cord

There were still nice little soft stashes of snow in the trees on the way from the top of Sundown to Morningside. I’m sure you can still find freshies in the trees, and if you are willing to hike a little for it. You can’t go wrong today with the abundant sunshine and consistent terrain.

I was wondering if the first wave of holiday crowds had arrived, as I only saw a handful of skiers for the first chunk of the morning. By mid-morning, the base was bustling with ski school students, instructors and visiting skiers — even a class of future rippers waiting to hit the terrain park.

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SnowSports School gets rolling

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Winter wonderland off East Face

It’s feeling festive in Steamboat after Santa made his appearance at the base yesterday, another fabulous fireworks show last night and seeing kids hobnobbing with mascots on Saturday.

If you are a last-minute holiday shopper, there are so many great places to shop locally, and it helps to keep our small businesses thriving. Personal favorites of mine are the Homesteader with delicious house-made sweet treats and kitchen goods, The Steamboat Art Co. for something unique, and Ranch Organics for lovely soaps and lotions made right here in Steamboat. There are too many great places to name here, but how nice is it that we have so many local shops to choose from when showering our loved ones with Christmas treats?

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Dark mornings will turn lighter soon

We are coming up on the winter solstice, which arrives officially this Wednesday at 3:44 a.m. MST. The time leading up to it tends to be a time of review, when the trials and tribulations of the past year appear for one more look. The solstice is said to signify rebirth, and the beginning of lighter, longer days is widely celebrated throughout the world. It’s feeling like one big extended celebration here, and I am looking forward to the days getting a little longer.

Enjoy the slopes today!

Jessica Berg, Alpine skier

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