Winter is back — perhaps not for very long, perhaps not even for an entire day — so get out there and enjoy it while you can! I woke up this morning to a snow report of 2″ in the past 24 hours, and a powder cam image that promised a little blast of winter fun. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been enjoying the warm, sunny spring weather that’s graced the Yampa Valley recently. I’ve been getting out on my road bike and counting down the days until it’s time to mountain bike again. This morning, I wasn’t exactly ready to bundle up and ride the gondola into the clouds, but I’m sure glad I did. Fresh tracks, beautifully frosted trees and empty runs made for a quiet and serene morning on the mountain.
At 5am, the mountain reported temps of 15 degrees at mid-mountain and 11 degrees at the summit, so I bundled up. Walking to the gondola, I thought perhaps I had made a mistake. The base area felt much warmer than I had imagined (perhaps it was that steaming cup of coffee), but after a peaceful ride up the gondola, I sure was glad about those extra layers. Toward the top of the gondola, I entered into a mystical cloud and couldn’t help but grin at the sight of frosty trees and fresh snow.
A quick ride down Rudi’s to Blizzard to Four Points lift, and I could tell that today would be all about pockets: pockets of fresh powder and pockets of visibility in the chilly morning cloud. I found northern-facing runs like Rainbow and Buddy’s to be full of soft powder pockets, mainly toward skier’s left of the slope. A few inches of fluffy powder sitting gently atop a fast groomer was spring bliss with a touch of frosty winter! Keeping in mind the misty cloud, you’ll want to stick close to the trees (but not in them) to provide better contrast, and don’t forget your low-light lenses. Based on the forecast and the attempts the morning sun was making to peek through, I’d imagine this afternoon will be sunny and much warmer, along with the fun-filled weekend ahead.
A fun little thing to keep your eye out for on the mountain: bird feeders and all of the beautiful, native birds enjoying their social breakfast. At the top of Bar UE, I took a moment to admire a flock of Pine Grosbeaks and a few Mountain Chickadees that were joining in on the frosty morning fun. There is another bird feeder at the top of the gondola, near the large trail map sign, where you’ll find families of Mountain Chickadees and Black-capped Chickadees, along with other native birds enjoying a free meal.
A special thanks to Jennie who was willing to swap Straight Talk shifts so I can take my son to his first Easter egg hunt tomorrow, the Eggstravaganza at Steamboat Springs Middle School at 10am. I’ve never been, but I’m only imagining the fun to be had when 25,000 eggs are dropped out of a helicopter. Yep, that’s right. Steamboat sure does know how to have a good time! And speaking of a good time, make sure to save up some energy for a sunny, warm and Springalicious weekend in Steamboat.
Erin Campbell, snowboarder