Normally I don’t write the Straight Talk report on Fridays. I’m more of a Wednesday kind of girl, but when I woke up to a bona fide “It’s a powder day in the Boat” snow report (970-879-7300), I couldn’t wait to get out the door and on the gondola. What a nice little Friday surprise Steamboat had in store for me and all of those other early risers out there. Merry Christmas Eve, eve!
I rode up the gondola with some really nice people from Texas who absolutely love Steamboat and always seem to find themselves coming back time and time again. I think I know why. They think Steamboat is the best mountain in Colorado and very family friendly, which it absolutely is. So instead of planning my powder day morning route, I enjoyed a friendly conversation with some visitors who know Steamboat well and always love their trips to the Yampa Valley.
Ok, enough about gondola rides; let’s talk powder! My very first day on the mountain this year was a 9″ powder day; however, it was still early season and not smart to venture into Steamboat’s coveted trees. So today, Dec. 23, was my first real powder day of the season, allowing me to make some oh-so-sweet and soft turns in my very favorite trees. The theme of the morning was untracked powder on every single run, which is a rarity on a great powder day. With a lot of visitors in town, locals who may be traveling for Christmas and a 7″ snow report up top, I think a lot of locals who normally would press glass on a day like today, simply weren’t out there.
My intention was to head straight for the two-thirty trees (in between Two O’Clock and Three O’Clock), but my board kept floating so softly atop pristine powder that I found myself riding a mostly untracked Three O’Clock. It was perfect. Whenever I ran into some tracks, I simply hugged the side of the run, dipping in and out of the trees, finding great powder stashes everywhere. My next plan held true after a quick ride up Sundown as I went straight for Closet, some of the absolute best trees Steamboat has to offer (which is saying a lot). I definitely found myself squealing with glee as I charged down fresh powder, finding my favorite clearings and then dipping back into the snow-covered trees.
It was a mystical morning on the mountain with a morning fog that would rise and fall, giving way to gorgeous views of the sun-kissed Yampa Valley. The skies overhead gave way to occasional blue, so with a little time, it should be a nice, sunny afternoon on the mountain. Sideburn had some awesome powder left for me by my fourth run. I thoroughly enjoyed one of my personal favorite tree runs (sorry, can’t let you in on my little secret), before heading to Elkhead for what I thought would be my last run of the day.
As you may already know, Elkhead Express is a brand new high-speed quad this year, and it’s fast! By the time I reached the top, I realized I could take a few more powder turns before heading down to the base of the mountain. By hugging the right side of Sunnyside, I found some great, untouched powder that iced my powder morning cake. After another super quick Elkhead ride, I went straight for Valley View, which was groomed overnight and a personal favorite. The morning fog was rising as I transitioned from upper to lower mountain, so the visibility was pretty tough, but I trusted my board, kept to the side of the run and again, enjoyed some untouched powder.
If you were able to ski or ride this morning, then I’m sure you are having a very merry Christmas Eve, eve. If you weren’t, then I hope you’re able to get out and enjoy some Christmas turns over the weekend. The snow is in great shape and there’s plenty of it. With the crazy warm and dry fall we had, I am so impressed at what great shape Steamboat is in. December has been a great month for snow, and as a little Christmas present to all of us, there is more snow on the way for Christmas Day! Ho ho ho!
Happy Friday and a very merry Christmas to all!
Erin Campbell, snowboarder