Count this a lazy day on the mountain with wide open runs and a lot of terrain to enjoy.  I think a Sunday like this, at the tail end of a long holiday weekend, is a special time to get out on the slopes and enjoy the peace and quiet of a mountain to yourself.

My day started with a quick loop down Heavenly Daze and over to Vogue.  The snow was packed powder but grippy.  I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was for me to sink my edge into the top 2 inches and feel the security of a well-supported turn.  And boy was it fast.  The overnight glaze gave the trail some extra “zip” and I loved every minute of it.  The fresh layer of wax I recently applied gave my sticks the glide I’ve been craving all summer and here I am, shooting down the surface of our National Forest.

Lower mountain

For those looking to tackle some more undulating terrain, I’d recommend heading over to Hurricane.  The surface is a bit bumpier than you’ll find on groomed runs like Rainbow which creates a nice level of challenge for those early-season thigh muscles.  The mountain patrol has down a great job of getting this run open with as few natural hazards as one could wish in these beginning days of the season.  I chose to duck out onto Chisholm Trail and tackle lower Rainbow from here and wasn’t disappointed.  The sweet sound of corduroy buzzing below my feet was exhilarating.

Cat track at Steamboat

Towards the top of the mountain I couldn’t help but feel the onslaught of a possible winter storm.  Conditions were a bit colder and windier standing atop Storm Peak.  This left runs like upper Two O’clock as a nice, sheltered trail to ski my way down.  The snow here was smooth and well maintained.  The coverage on these upper-mountain trails is terrific which allowed my skis to run a bit more freely.  All in all it was a delight to once again enjoy the views from 10,000 feet above sea level.

So get out there and enjoy the snow.  This has been an incredible opening weekend and all signs point to an incredible season ahead.  

Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier

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