When I first peeked at the early morning temperatures, I was tempted to crawl back in bed until things warmed up a bit. But having lived here long enough, I knew that at the peak of the mountain the weather would be about 10 degrees warmer. And sure enough, it was.

As I skirted my way around the Sunshine Lift Line area of the mountain, I could immediately tell that last night’s below zero chill left nothing but super dry, awesomely light and fluffy stashes of powder to find all around. As I ducked into the gentle sloping aspen groves I found, my skis easily sliced their way through ankle-deep puffs of white. I was half expecting things to be a bit set up and perhaps even crusty, but this was not the case at all. The snow is in top shape today.

Sunshine
And the groomed trails were just as enjoyable. There’s been so much snow over the last week that even with the overnight snowcats packing things down, the snow lends itself well to carving immaculate arcs in the trail. I would describe my first few groomed runs as crystalized “pow.” I think the wax on the bottom of my sticks was in hog heaven getting a chance to rip across some of the best groomed slopes in the country.

Wittlinger skiing
And as I picked my way over to the front side of the hill, there seemed to be a feeling of “do no wrong.” Perhaps it was because I was participating in my all-time favorite sport, but skiing today was especially serene. Sure, the nip in the air was a factor to consider when choosing my gear today. But generally speaking, the mountain couldn’t be in any better shape to explore.

Warren Miller once put it best:

“If you’re lucky enough to be in Steamboat, you’re lucky enough.”

Sundown Lift Line
Enjoy the holiday week and take a minute to throw a warm smile at the lift operations crew today. Those hard-working team members are here to make your day just a tad more enjoyable so please remember to return the favor.

Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier
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