Wednesday morning in Steamboat felt very calm, mellow and serene. With no crowds and hardly any other skiers or riders on the mountain, I enjoyed the peace and quiet while cruising some of my favorite slopes.
On my way to the mountain this morning, I stopped to enjoy one of my favorite sights: a hot air balloon gently drifting through the Yampa Valley. It was quiet, calm and peaceful, yet the vibrant colors on the hot air balloon created a stunning contrast with the mountain as a backdrop.
While riding up the gondola, I noticed the lighting was better than expected as the sun was attempting to break through the morning clouds. I was not witness to any blue patches in the sky, and I believe heavy clouds will remain most of today and tomorrow; however, the sun’s strong rays were able to provide the mountain with some subdued sunlight, creating a mellow, relaxed and downright “chill” feeling on the mountain.
While the lighting was better than expected, I would still recommend using your low-light goggle lenses to provide you with better depth perception and visibility. I would also recommend sticking to the nicely groomed runs, where you’ll find abundant corduroy featuring great traction and only the occasional firm patch, mostly on lower mountain.
Last Friday I skied with my son and my dad, enjoying soft and smooth groomers on a beautiful, sunny day. As we skied, we were impressed with the great snow coverage, especially on upper mountain.
It is no secret that the weather and snow gods and goddesses have not been too kind to Steamboat (and most of Colorado) this year. Currently, Steamboat has received 231 inches during the ski season. Compared to my favorite record-breaking winter where Steamboat received 489 inches, that is a lower than usual number. Despite the discrepancy, Steamboat crews have done an incredible job making the mountain the very best it can possibly be with the low snowfall totals and warmer-than-usual temperatures. I give huge kudos to the snowcat drivers and ops teams who are working hard and continuing to make our mountain awesome, day in and day out!
If you have looked at the forecast, or looked up at the sky, you might already be aware that a storm is brewing. According to Joel Gratz’s Daily Snow Report, we should expect to see a storm Thursday night through Friday afternoon, bringing 4-8+ inches of snow. Joel expects a break in the storm Saturday, which is great for the 3:30 p.m. free concert featuring The Commonheart that afternoon. Another storm is expected Saturday night into Monday morning, and Steamboat is expected to see 6-12 inches during that time.
As is common with spring storms, we may see rain near the base, but upper mountain should receive steady snowfall throughout the storm. With warmer temperatures, we likely will not receive Steamboat’s infamous Champagne Powder® but should expect to receive decent snowfall to make for some fun powder turns and great base-packing snow that will last through Closing Day on April 15.
With 11 days left in the ski season, I hope you find time to get out and enjoy some calm and mellow turns on Steamboat’s serene slopes.
Erin Campbell, Alpine skier
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