One of the first milestones in getting the mountain open every year is top-to-bottom skiing. I wasn’t able to make it up over the weekend when Storm Peak Express opened, but I’m pretty happy it did. The lower mountain is great, but most of our terrain is above the gondola, so even getting a few runs open up top adds a lot to the Steamboat experience.

First light on Rudi’s

I was eager to get to the top of the mountain this morning, so instead of taking a warm-up run down low, I headed straight down Rudi’s to Storm Peak Express. The run down was in great shape, and there was even some corduroy left from the morning rush. I decided to stay on the groomer, but I noticed that Blizzard was open and ungroomed if you are in the mood for a short bump run.

Storm Peak face

Riding up Storm Peak, you start to notice how much more snow there is above the gondola. As you climb past Four Points, it starts to feel more like midwinter, instead of early season. Even though Buddy’s Run is open and perfectly groomed, I decided to make my first run down Storm Peak South. I’m not going to say it was great, but all things considered, there were some lines on the side that weren’t bad. Once you pass Four Points and head down to Rainbow Saddle, the conditions got a lot softer and smoother. To my surprise, lower Rainbow was groomed out nicely and had a really soft layer of snow on top of the hard pack.

A good line down the face.

After my trip up top, I decided to check out the lower mountain and see what kind of shape upper Vagabond was in. With how busy the snowmaking crew has been, it wasn’t surprising to see that there were no bare spots on Vagabond. Since it’s mostly north facing, the snow hasn’t warmed up much during the daytime, so there aren’t any crusty spots, either. The downside to taking Vagabond down from the gondola right now is that you have to traverse back halfway down, but the conditions over there make it worth it.

Upper Vagabond
The sun in the clouds

It was a bit cloudy out there while I was riding, but the sun is shinning now, and it should stay that way most of the day. So whether you are just getting into town for the holidays or you are taking a long lunch break on the mountain, it’s a great day to be on the mountain.

Dan Tullos

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