So this will be my 3rd trip skiing and I'm ready to try a black run to get over my black run phobia.  I'm a very cautious skier.


I've read that some of the black runs at Steamboat should really be considered blues.  I'm interesting in feedback on which would be good candidates for my first black run.


Thanks in Advance!




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The easiest black runs, in my opinion, are Westside and the See Me/SeeYa pair.

These runs are groomed almost every day, so while they are steep, they seldom have moguls of any consequence.  Westside is reached from Rendezvous saddle.  You head straight ahead from the SouthPeak chair, then you will reach a point where you cna choose between Broadway, Westside, or Rolex.  Broadway is a green road to get back to Elkhead chair, to exit back up to Thunderhead.  It is a hard left turn at this point.  Rolex is straight ahead.  It is usually groomed once a week.  On the day it has been groomed, it is also smooth but steep (very steep).  Westside is a half-left at the junction.  Its only problems are due to the frequent grooming--someimes the snow cover is a little thin in spots, and it can be a little icy  (by western standards).  All three bring you back to the same spot, where you can choose Elkhead chair to head back, or Sundown Express to go back for another go.


See Me/See Ya are off the Christie chair.  Again, smooth, a little steep, and sometimes a little icy due to frequent grooming and man-made snow.  They will take you back to Gondola Square.


These are also fairly short, so if get on them and decide they are too steep, you can do a few traverse/kick turns and get down in fairly short order.

If you want to try some small moguls without the steep (except right at the end), I prefer Surprise, a blue-black that turns right off of Vagabond.  Be aware, however, that unless it has been groomed, you can get fooled.  The moguls get bigger ther further you go on the trail.  There are two bailout roads  if you decide you are in over your head (turn left on them to get back to Vagabond).


Have fun.



I agree with Westside. The run in section can raise some push piles later in the day. You can take Broadway and check out Westside from the bottom where the two trails intersect.

Two others are Ted's Ridge which is North facing and thus keeps good snow and Cyclone which is wide and not super steep. Cyclone would be my first choice on a groomer day. The Groomers leave a small mogul area on skier's right where you can duck in and out for some practice.

I would go for See Me (very short steep section), Teds Ridge (not as steep, but longer steep section), Cyclone (wide not too bad). The most important thing is that they are "groomed", with little new snow on top, good visibility and at a quiet time of day. I can't think of any "bad" blacks at Steamboat, but their difficulty is more to do with the snow/weather conditions....

We always look at the grooming and weather reports for the day. Other than that, take your time and "pick a good gap/time (in between other skiers) to go".

Have fun.

I have 3 sons and a wife that grew up 28 feet above sea level.  She is extremely cautious and I never thought that she would ski a black run.  All three of my boys, and my lovely wife, took Cyclone for their first black run.  Catch it after it is groomed and it's a nice starter.  It's right behind Four Points Hut.  

I have to agree with Cyclone.  One of my favorite "laps" is getting off Storm Peak Express chair, ski down Storm Peak (North or South), traverse past 4 Points Hut to Cyclone to either Drop Out (can get icy and keep your speed up near the bottom of Cyclone to enter), Vortex (usually has mogels), or Tornado Lane (narrow, not so steep, and usually heavy traffic)

Many people stay up the mountain once they have put in the effort to get up there but for a change we like to take the odd lap down to the base. Often in mid morning or mid afternoon the traffic is less there and you can play with speed and turn shape without having to worry too much about other skiers. This route is also useful if you have someone looking to build confidence as generally they do not have to worry too much about many other people around.

So instead of cruising down the Daze from Thunderhead we hit Valley View. At the bottom you need to keep speed up and you enter the Daze near the bottom on the left. You can then chose to go skiers right at the speed control gates and take See Ya, See Me or Voo Do0 or alternatively enter Lower Valley View on skiers left. This is one of my favourite trails as when quiet you can really rip it!

You then arrive at the base of See Ya under the Christie Peak Express lift and can choose this or the Gondy to go back up.

Down side is that there is no ski out from Valley View but you can bail out when you get to the Daze and elect not to ski the lower section.

If you think of taking this route you can check it out as you go up the Gondy in the morning or later after having travelled to the base after having skied on one of the cruiser blues like Vagabond and the green Right o Way or Vogue and see what the snow looks like, giving you a chance to make a decision whether to have a go or not.

what is the easiest way to learn moguls? I usually avoid them, but would like to learn how. Do I just need a private lesson, or is it fairly easy to pick up once you try?

Best way is to take a lesson and then practice.

Cyclone usually has a mogul field along skier's right and you can make a couple of turns and duck out if you feel uncomfortable.

Some get it right away with good lower body control and still upper body while some never get it.


How long of a lesson do you think it would take? If it is our 3rd or 4th day and we are comfortable with the blacks, but just want to learn moguls, I hate to pay for a full or half day lesson if it is something relatively quick?

IMHO, a half day would be good to get the basic tips and techniques from a qualified instructor. It would be best to do a private lesson since you can focus on what you need vs a group. Groomed Black runs and moguls are two different things.

After that it is practice practice practice.


Thanks so much for all the great info!


What about some of the blue blacks over in the pioneer ridge area?  I've never actually been to that part of the mountain.


Thanks again!



I usually stay out of there unless we have a big dump. It was left pretty "natural" so you have pretty narrow trails and lots of "things" around the area. The trails do tend to get pretty scraped off with some rocks showing up if there has not been a big snow recently but the off trail areas are OK most of the time. A good one to use is Longhorn (Blue/Black) but it does get a lot of Push Piles later in the day. Might be good for some easy bump practice. ;)




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