I was riding up the gondola this morning with a very nice family from upstate New York, and after a few pleasantries, they got down to the brass tax.
“Where should we go ride today?”
That can be a tough question sometimes, but the answer today was an easy one: Stick to the groomers. They responded by asking about the trees.
“Why rush into the trees? The snow will be here tomorrow,” I said.
This exchange got me thinking about a time long ago, before I lived 5 minutes from a ski resort. Back when riding meant braving I-70 traffic or packing up for the long haul up to Jackson Hole or down to Silverton. When you travel a long way to go skiing, you rarely get to pick and choose based on the weather. You pretty much have to book your tickets and hope for the best. Fortunately for most of our visitors, this has been the perfect year for the long weekend.
Weather can be a fickle thing. Over the course of a season, you would think that it would snow about the same amount on each day of the week. This year that hasn’t been the case. Don’t fret though, if you are visiting Steamboat, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. From my completely non-scientific analysis, I have determined that most of the good snow this year has fallen on the weekends and into Monday. So if you look at the typical arc of a weekend ski trip, it couldn’t be much better.
If you’re in for the weekend, here is the game plan:
Thursday: While you will be excited to get out there on day one, there is no rush today. Get your legs back on the groomers this morning, and this afternoon you can dip into the trees or take a run up top on the double blacks. Taking it easy day one lets you see where you are at in your skills and warm up for the goodness to come.
Friday: It’s supposed to start out dry, but a storm will be moving in and the mountain should begin to soften up. By now, you have figured out how to get around the mountain, and it might be time for a little exploring. Take a longer tree run, or do a couple of laps up top. You could even try out one of our terrain parks.
Saturday: This should be the day! Try and take it easy Friday night because that’s when most of our snow is going to fall. Get up early and ride like there is no tomorrow. Enjoy the urgency of a powder day and pack as many runs as you can into your morning. Ride until you can’t stand anymore and head down for a well-deserved beer at the base.
Sunday: Hopefully you stretched last night because you will probably be sore. Try and get out there early, but if you went big yesterday, no one will blame you for taking it easy. I won’t even judge you if you want to take a dip in the hot tub before hitting the slopes.
I can’t guarantee that the incoming storm will make for an epic weekend. But even if it doesn’t, at least you’re in the mountains.
Dan Tullos, snowboarder