I definitely over-dressed this morning. I’ve been getting myself so used to cold early morning temperatures that I forget to even look at the thermometer before heading up the gondola. Needless to say that the upper mountain temps are refreshingly warm and delightful. And the finely tuned snow couldn’t be better.
With the sun brightly shining on the Sunshine side of the mountain (go figure), I first elected to play around on Flintlock, Quickdraw and Tomahawk. This is an area of the mountain I found perfect for warming up my thighs and calves and generally getting my blood pumping for an exhilarating Sunday on the hill. At one point, I popped over to Baby Powder and ducked into some trees my 9-year-old daughter showed me yesterday. And what a great find! If you explore the area, you’ll soon locate what I’d call a “tree cave” that feels like your own fort in the woods. With birds chirping from almost every branch, this is actually a pretty cool place to take a short breather with the family.
Once my legs and mind were primed and ready, I headed back to the Storm Peak and Four Points area of the resort. Here’s where I found several leftover stashes of fluff in the trees off Twister on skier’s left of the trail. Even those who just hug the edge of the run will find extremely carvable, ungroomed terrain that stretches for a boundless number of turns. The trail choice is also good for those looking to fine tune their all-mountain riding and sliding. With snow covered boulders and undulating fall line, this is a great test of one’s fitness and agility. However, don’t be shy because the trail is also intersected by several cattrack crossings so there is plenty of opportunity to stop and rest along the way.
I also found some of the groomed black diamond trails to be a delight as well. In this list, I’d include Rolex and Valley View. Rolex was a run I skied early and Valley View was my way down to the bottom. Both consisted of packed powder with just enough creamy top layer to sink and edge. The groomed natural snow on these trails provides enough platform to hold your weight while powering through your turns and a forgiveness that eases the glide.
Throughout the morning I couldn’t keep my eyes from staring to far off distances. The blue sky and uninterrupted visibility made my day that much more enjoyable. I couldn’t help but stand in awe of the expansive beauty we’ve got enveloping our resort. Steamboat is a very special place to play and always seems to put a smile on my face.
So enjoy your day on the slopes today. Take as many mental photos as you can and try not to lose the spirit of the mountains that lasts well beyond the sunset.
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier