The Pony Express
Growing up, The Polar Express was one of my very favorite Christmas books. Now, as I read it to my 18 month-old son (who, mind you, can hardly sit still for a page or two in most books), I see the magical wonder in his eyes. Sheer amazement, pure magic. The Polar Express truly is a special gift to share the holiday spirit with someone special. What is also a special gift to share the holiday spirit is the opening of Pony Express… yee-haw!
That’s right, Pony Express is open for the season, and it’s fantastic… Merry Christmas! Since Pony opens at 9am, I started my day with a quick run down Rudi’s to Blizzard to Four Points, which was in great groomer shape. It was a bit chilly this morning to say the least (3 degrees when I got on the gondola), but actually felt a little warmer than I was expecting… and will only warm up as the day progresses and the sunshine starts to dress the mountain with a glimmering sparkle. The groomers are in perfect shape – grippy, soft and fast. Last Sunday into Monday, Steamboat received an uncharacteristically heavy, wet snow, which is great base-packing snow… and then it turned into the light and fluffy champagne powder® that we all love. Currently the mid-mountain base is 40″ and the summit base is 45″, and there is a dusting of fresh and light snow on top, especially in the trees.
After a little bit of some groomers and a little bit of some trees off Four Points lift, I went straight to Pony Express to catch one of the first chairs up. Pony is a local’s favorite, offering some of the best tree skiing the mountain has to offer. It also offers some nice groomers, one of which is my favorite on the mountain – Longhorn, with its narrow steepness and amazing valley views. At the top of Pony I went left, straight for Middle Rib. Now, I know people have been hiking up to ski Pony runs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially as I saw a decent amount of tracks riding the lift up, but I was more than pleasantly surprised to find fresh, untracked powder… powder day off Pony lift! I dipped in and out of the trees on Middle Rib and Outlaw, finding the best turns I’ve had all season. As I’ve reminded people in previous blogs, I will again warn you to be cautious and watch for hidden obstacles like fallen trees and rocks, expecially on new terrain that has just been opened… but all in all, Pony has some great powder stashes waiting to be found. I was more than surprised on this Christmas Eve to find Pony’s light and fluffly powder, as were some of the riders ahead of me, shouting out in pure bliss… yee-haw!
As of Christmas Eve, new trails open include Sunnyside, Moonlight, Lights Out, Chute 1, Vertigo, Wrangler Carpet (Adult Learning Center)
Also as of Christmas Eve, new lifts open include:
Christmas is a busy, busy, busy time of the year… but it’s also fun. There is a lot of fun to be had on the mountain, especially off of Pony Express. Thank you Pony for making my Christmas Eve magically wonderful, just as The Polar Express has done for many, many years. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good day on the mountain!
Erin Campbell, snowboarder