The day after St. Paddy’s Day in Steamboat is traditionally a very quiet day, especially first thing in the morning on the mountain. Last night’s leprechauns were still in bed when I first buckled up my boots and clicked into my bindings today. And as a stiff breeze rolled over my shoulder from the west, I could tell that a storm was definitely brewing.
My first tracks were on top of snow that was glazed and fast. There’s no denying that when temperatures hit the 50s Saturday afternoon we were going to see some frosty smooth conditions Sunday. Zipping across frozen corduroy left a feeling in my feet no different than what I imagine Mikaela Shiffrin experienced when racing to gold in the giant slalom last month.
As I explored some of our lesser traveled terrain, I couldn’t help but eye the horizon as dark clouds made their way ever-closer to Mt. Werner. I did manage to find some pleasantly untracked snow from the top of Sundial between Tomahawk and Kit. It’s a short pitch but almost always overlooked by the masses that enjoy skiing this area of the mountain. The snow here was thick but forgiving, and a handful of turns later, I popped myself out onto Tomahawk for a thrill ride of rollers to follow.
As I continued to stare in awe of the snow that is destined to dump here shortly, I elected to head over to the famed Broadway Bench. This perfectly placed picnic area can be found along the Broadway trail best accessed from the South Peak lift. This is a tremendous place to relax and unwind while soaking in a massive view of Priest Creek below and the Flattops beyond.
So here I sit, writing today’s report without seeing the first flakes of white in the sky just yet. But if the luck of the Irish is still hanging over our fair city, then I have no doubt we’ll be graced with a fresh layer of snow by day’s end. And to me, that’s a heck of a lot better than the fabled pot-o-gold.
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier