A fresh blanket of snow graced Steamboat last night and I headed out to enjoy the freshly fallen snow on our public land. Did you know that when you ski at Steamboat Resort, you are skiing on the Routt National Forest? Steamboat Resort operates under a Special Use Permit (long term lease) with the United States Forest Service to offer developed recreation opportunities (skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing) to the public. This land is your land, this land is my land...
I want to tell you a secret about why this makes a difference to your powder day. Under its permit and in cooperation with the Forest Service, land managers manage the forest health at Steamboat Resort. Recently, areas of Lower Mountain were thinned or gladed. This means that skiers and riders can enjoy wide open powder fields, where dense trees once stood. Look for these areas on Lower Mountain near the Thunderhead Lift area. With the fresh coat of powder, these gladed areas are perfect for making soft, rounded turns all morning. With fresh snow, these areas are epic, untouched for hours, and full of secret nooks and crannies for you to discover. Below are pictures of two different stashes that I'm talking about.
And today was no exception! I skied the gladed area all to myself and found endless, deep powder turns. Haven't skied Steamboat this year? Think you know Lower Mountain? Think again! Healthy forest = brand new powder stashes! These gladed "runs" don't have names on the map, although I've heard many different affectionate names created by some of the locals. I'll just call it like it skied today - peaceful powder paradise.
Because these areas were recently established, they are best skied with others. Although 20+ feet (!) of snow has fallen on Steamboat this year, unmarked hazards exist in this new world for you to explore. Grab a friend and head up this weekend to explore your public lands! It's snowing now and it's predicted to snow until early next week!
Alpine Skier/Powder Hunter