I wouldn’t complain if we had a winter where it snowed a foot every day and we didn’t see the sun for five months, but it’s always nice when the sun peaks into the valley and lets us get a glimpse of our winter wonderland. It was especially welcome this morning when the 5 a.m. report was showing 0 degrees at mid-mountain and -5 degrees at the summit. With the cold weather and bluebird skies, today is all about following the sun.

The best place to start a sunny day like today is pretty obvious if you just go by the names of the lifts. Sunshine Peak and Morningside get the first light on the mountain and are the best places to start for good visibility and more importantly warmer runs. Even with the sunshine, I would still recommend wearing some face protection. After all, frostbite can happen on bluebird days too. I started out with a great run down Tomohawk to Ramrod.

Great conditions on High Noon

Great conditions on High Noon

Once you’ve warmed up with some wide open groomers around Sunshine Peak, you can start heading over to the Sundown area as the light moves around the mountain.  The first runs on Sundown to warm up will be High Noon down to West Side. I came down West Side around 9:45 and the first rays of light were just hitting the upper slopes. So if you wait until after 10, you should be good to go. Once you’ve had your fill of groomers on the south side of the mountain, it’s time to switch it up and give Storm Peak a shot. The sun wont hit Storm Peak Face until around 10:45 or 11 a.m., so it’s not a bad idea to stop in at Four Points for a coffee or hot chocolate to warm up.

Warming up on West Side and Rolex

Warming up on West Side and Rolex

If you are just up for the morning or prefer riding the lower lifts, the best options for staying warm will be upper and lower Valley View and Heavenly Daze.

Lower mountain fun

Lower mountain fun

Valley View

Valley View

There you have it. Even negative temps can’t ruin a beautiful morning at Steamboat. So don’t let the cold scare you off. The snow covered aspens and glistening sunshine will be worth adding an extra layer. If you are looking for a way to celebrate tonight, be sure not to miss the torchlight parade and fireworks  at the base starting at 5:20 p.m.

Enjoy the last bit of 2015 on the mountain, and have a great New Years Eve!

 

Dan Tullos, snowboarder

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