Lower Mountain Groomers
Every day can’t be a bluebird powder day, but if you know where to look there is always a great time to be had on Mt Werner. The cold temps and high winds up top made that choice pretty easy for me this morning. Today is a lower mountain kind of day. While it might only be 4 degrees with 26 mph winds at the top of Storm Peak, everywhere below the gondola was actually pretty pleasant and made for some really nice groomer riding.
I started my morning with a fast lap down Vagabond from the Gondola to Thunderhead lift and was treated to some freshly groomed corduroy for my carving pleasure. There are a few icy spots on the roll-overs, but the edges of the runs are nice and gripy. When we have a few days of high winds, the snowflakes get compacted as they tumble around the mountain which means the groomed runs become firm but not icy. Since the wind is coming from the southwest, the best groomers on the lower mountain will be facing northeast where the wind deposited all that snow. So Vagabond, Rudi’s and Ted’s Ridge will be some of the softest groomed runs this morning.
I didn’t venture into the trees, but if you want a taste of our famous tree skiing you will probably have the best luck finding pockets of fresh snow in the Skiers right side of Closet and the Sideburn area. Once again, anything facing northwest will be holding the most snow from the last storm so if you are at the top of Storm Peak lift, try heading through Triangle 3 trees (or Buddies for a groomer) down to Cyclone for a nice long run. A good variation of this could be to take the lower Bar-U-E lift line after first cat track.
The best part about cold and windy mornings in Steamboat is that no one is on the mountain. You might have noticed how many photos I have where the slopes are empty. Well that’s because there is no one up there to photograph. The light is a little flat, but the terrain parks are wide open if you want to spend the day practicing your skills in the pipe or on the rails. Coming off a broken ankle, I wasn’t quite ready to head into the pipe, so I was content to enjoy wide open groomers from Thunderhead down to the base. Sometimes you just have to take what the mountain gives you and today the mountain is giving us pleasant temps and smooth runs down low.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder