A few days of sun and warmer temps is always nice in the middle of winter, but let’s be honest: Powder is what we are all here for. This morning marked a change in weather patterns from a high-pressure system that has been sitting over the Rockies to a low-pressure system with a couple of storms sweeping in over the state. While we wont be getting a few feet from this storm like they will in the Sierras, it will bring around 4-5 inches per day through the weekend. The snow was just starting to fall at the top of the mountain around 8:30 this morning, and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna stop for a few days. Of course, the beginning of a storm cycle usually brings cold temps with it, and today was no exception.
For some reason, the balmy 7 degrees my car thermometer showed this morning convinced me to leave the down jacket at home. Don’t make the same mistake as I did. Not only is it cold and little breezy at the top of the mountain today, but the extra moisture in the air is bone chilling. If you dress properly, though, you will be rewarded with some great turns as the day goes on.
The main runs around Sundown were all in pretty good shape but could use a little snow to cover up a few ice patches that developed over the last couple of days. Two O’Clock and high noon were freshly groomed and really grippy first thing this morning. The best run I took at the top of the mountain was the first run down Storm Peak Face. If you are lucky enough to be up for First Tracks, make sure to be at the top of the Sundown lift at 9:07 a.m. when the patrol drops the rope and opens the traverse to Storm Peak. Normally, you might have to beat a crowd of powder hungry locals to the goods on that side of the mountain. Today was a different story, as there was only one dedicated skier chomping at the bit to get those fresh turns.
After realizing that I wasn’t dressed nearly warm enough, I decided to head below the clouds and take a few lower-mountain runs. The conditions down low are pretty similar to those up top, except the visibility is better because you are below the clouds. Vagabond was riding well this morning, but be careful of a couple of icy patches at the top of the lower section. The better option would be going straight down Heavenly Daze from the top of Thunderhead. There weren’t any big patches of ice, and the snow was nice and firm for carving.
As the snow continues to fall throughout the day, the conditions on the mountain should only get softer. So don’t be shy about waiting until the afternoon to get up on them mountain, just make sure to throw on that extra layer.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder