As I made my way up to the mountain today, I was greeted by a pink and blue pastel sunrise. On the gondola ride, I witnessed seven people and three dogs making their way up for an early hike. I sat back and thought about how diverse our mountain is on a day-to-day and even hour-to-hour basis.

Only in Steamboat do you see half as many dogs as humans skinning and snowshoeing their way up Heavenly Daze at 8 a.m. From a powder paradise to a groomer’s delight, it’s fascinating to me how the dimensions of our mountain change. People choose to earn their turns by hiking up, while others choose to take the gondola up and hike down on foot merely to admire the views. 

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A faint few of hikers and dogs making an early ascent

Those of us that are lucky enough to ski on a regular basis get to pick our lineup of runs based on snow conditions. Today was my favorite list of groomers starting off Sundown Express lift and working my way to Storm Peak Express. First groomer tracks down High Noon, Two O’Clock and Sunshine Lift Line were as good as it gets. Soft, grippy corduroy all to myself.

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First rays of sun peaking over Priest Creek

As I made my way across the mountain, I skied a perfect Cyclone — again, all to myself. The sun hadn’t hit this side of the mountain yet, so flat light was a bit of an issue. When these kind of obstacles arise, I take it upon myself to focus on looking ahead more than usual. Skiing outside of your comfort zone is a challenging way to improve your confidence and your skiing ability in fair-weather conditions.

Sunshine Lift Line in all its morning glory

This week continues to be a busy week on the mountain. MusicFest is in full affect at the Knoll parking lot and the base area. Each day is a free concert at the base area stage starting at 1 p.m. Make your way down for some great music and great people watching too!

Look ahead, plant your pole and SMILE!

Brett Buckles, Alpine skier

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