Technically speaking, it is still fall, but with a recent blast of fresh snow and extremely cold temperatures, it certainly feels like winter in Steamboat Springs, and it is glorious!  This morning boasted a temperature of 3 degrees, which made for stunning scenery around the Yampa Valley.  Frosty snow-covered trees, snow crystals sparkling in the morning sun, ice chunks floating down the frigid Yampa River and the sea of cold mist that engulfed the base area made for a simply beautiful morning in Steamboat.

As I rode up the gondola today, I noticed quite a few snow guns ablaze, working hard to solidify the base that we need to open more terrain.  While crews are trying to make as much snow as possible, they are also doing a great job of timing their work so as not to blow snow directly onto skiers and riders.

From Thunderhead, you’ll notice even more snow guns in action on upper mountain, along with the snowmaking crews in bright orange suits.  These crews have been working very hard to produce as much man-made snow as possible, so long as Mother Nature cooperates and gives them temperatures below 25 degrees.  As a reminder, uphill traffic is discouraged for now to give crews the best opportunity to make the snow we need to open more terrain.

Speaking of terrain, the same 6 slopes and 2 lifts (Christie Peak Express and the Gondola) are open, and as more people come to Steamboat to ski and snowboard, it’s a great reminder to be Slopewise as we’re all sharing the same open terrain.  Maintaining your speed and control, giving skiers and riders ahead of you the right-of-way, looking uphill when merging or to yield to others, observing all signs and warnings and not stopping to obstruct trails are all key elements to the skier’s and rider’s responsibility code of conduct, also known in Steamboat as Slopewise.

Powder the Saint Bernard, who works for the mountain, gives Ski Patrol a good opportunity to talk to skiers and riders about this responsibility code.  She is 11 months old and part of the Ski Patrol crew, enjoying her work day in and day out.  Powder is an excellent greeter and allows Ski Patrol the time to talk to skiers and riders about being Slopewise.  She of course enjoys a lot of love and attention from skiers, riders and most of all, her Ski Patrol family.

I enjoyed spending a little time with Powder this morning, watching her catch some freshies of her own at the top of Thunderhead.  With the 8.5 inches of snow we received Sunday into Monday, there are still a few patches here and there of untouched champagne powder®.

Today was my first day back on my snowboard for the season, so it was fun to mix it up and take some different turns on this lovely Wednesday morning.  Riding down Heavenly Daze and Vogue, I found some softer little snow stashes to the side of the slope, but made sure to maintain my speed as there were not only a good amount of skiers and riders on the slopes, but also the occasional icy patches.

The mountain is starting to look more and more like winter.  As long as we can hold onto colder temperatures and allow for the snowmaking and grooming crews to continue to work their magic, I’d imagine we should see some more terrain opening up in the relatively near future.  For now, continue to do your very best snow dance that you can; let’s impress the snow gods and goddesses so they’ll come to Steamboat and do a powder dance along with us!

Happy Wednesday!

Erin Campbell, snowboarder

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