There’s just something about how the sun casts long shadows at daybreak that puts my soul in a state of morning euphoria. Watching that bright circle of flames in the distance warm the air and give life to the frosted snow makes my knees almost melt. It’s springtime in the Rockies, and things couldn’t be better.
Early runs like Sundial, Tomahawk and Baby Powder were a natural choice first thing as I found myself chasing the light. The Sunshine Chairlift side of the mountain was a great place to begin my Saturday skiing adventure. I found the groomed terrain a tad chilled as last night’s freeze put an overlying crust on the mountain. But as anyone who’s ever skied our mountain during this time of year knows, things will soften quickly. Trails like High Noon, One O’clock and Spike are next in line to feel the grace of that glowing ball in the sky.
I didn’t have the opportunity to ski any of the terrain on the Storm Peak or Pony Express side of the mountain, but I suspect these runs will remain as packed powder until things begin to gel by midday. Long afternoons on the mountain in the glory of March make me want to slow roll and enjoy every natural undulation that Mt. Werner provides. It’s shaping up to be a fairly busy day on the mountain, so take care to keep your head on a swivel and respect those enjoying the outdoors alongside you. If your legs need a little rest, the Four Points Lodge seems to be the happening spot these days. I recommend you grab a chair outside and soak up the rays.
In addition to slush bumps and tremendously gooey snow later today, you can expect some entertainment at the base of the ski area. Check out Nahko and Medicine For The People playing a free concert on the Steamboat Stage in Gondola Square. Festivities kick off today at 3:30pm. If you’re up for a little adventure on your last few runs of the day, I’d encourage you to explore the Lil’ Rodeo Terrain Park adjacent to Stampede. The playful features you’ll find there are fun for ages 4 to 94.
And a last word of a advice from a Straight Talker who knows. DON’T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN.
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier