If you would have told me a few months ago that the season would start out like this, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Over 70” of snow in fell in November, we had sub zero temps in town for almost a week and we opened with the most terrain I’ve ever seen in my nine years on the mountain. Then the rains came. Mother nature decided to send us some freezing rain on the evening before scholarship day, locking all that glorious powder beneath a 3/4” layer of ice. But instead of harping on the negatives this Thanksgiving, I want to talk about the positives toady.

Steamboat gondola

Life in the mountains is about rolling with the punches. Sure we got some tough luck with the rain, but the mountain was absolutely gorgeous this morning. It’s not too cold up there and the sun rising over the ice covered aspens was breathtaking. To add to that, the groomers are excellent. The grooming team has done an amazing job getting so many of our favorite runs open and in great shape. After all, how often do we get top to bottom riding on opening day?

My first run this morning from the gondola down to 4-points lift was fast and grippy. Even though the snow is a bit firm, if your boards are tuned it was perfect for carving. After a ride up through the aspens to the top of 4-points, I headed down Rainbow to see what the rising sun was doing to the groomers. The shady spots where still fairly hard, but the second the sun hit the slopes this morning, the corduroy softened up and was perfect for making turns. In addition to fast groomers, there was almost no one out there this morning. It was a weird experience to look back up Heavenly Daze and realize I rode the whole way without a single other person on the run.

Chair lift at Steamboat

I never thought I would say this, but we are in luck, the temps on the mountain should get above freezing today. That not only means that the groomers will get softer during the afternoon, but it might get warm enough to weaken that crust thats holding all of our powder hostage. I ventured off the groomed paths once this morning to see just how bad it was in there. Needless to say, it was’t very fun. However, I could see it getting better with some sun and it might be worth trying this afternoon. Remember that despite the great coverage, it is still early season and there are a lot of hidden obstacles and downed trees in there. So be cautious, you don’t want to end your season on opening day.

To sum it up, even with the rain we have a lot to be thankful for this year. Top to bottom groomers, sunny skies, beautiful scenery and a great war story to tell about the inch of ice. So strap on your skis and boards and go enjoy the mountain before stuffing yourself full of turkey this evening.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Dan Tullos, snowboarder

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