Live in Steamboat long enough and a few things are likely to happen. You will complain about having to drive anywhere that takes longer than 10 minutes, your bike will be worth more than your car and you will eventually become a powder snob. I am guilty of all three of these things. However, this early season has broken me of one of them. It turns out, I still love boarding on groomers.

Looking down a groomed trail

The mountain was pretty empty this morning so almost every run I went down was perfectly smooth and fast. I started with a customary run down Rudi’s to Storm Peak lift. From there, you have three options. You can go down Buddy’s, straight down Storm Face or you can head all the way out to High Noon. Despite the foreboding sign telling me that the traverse back is 1.25 miles, I headed out to High Noon.

It was there that my season of awesome solo groomers continued. Last week I had Heavenly Daze all to my self. This week it was High Noon. The run is in great shape and has a lot of little rollers that aren’t there mid season. With no one in the area there is plenty of space to make big carves all the way across the run. It’s a rare experience to ride this one without anyone else around, so I suggest getting up early and seizing the opportunity. Taking Duster all the way back to Rainbow Saddle from Rendezvous can be a bit of a chore on a snowboard, but the snow is fast out there, and it wasn’t bad. I only had to kick one small section and the rest flew by.

Steamboat terrain park

After a few runs up top, I headed over to the front side of the mountain for a straight shot all the way to the base. The run was pretty empty and pretty smooth, so I decided to ride switch the whole way down. After only one near fall, I made my way into the park to practice some rails and check out the step-up jump at the base. There are a lot of great features on Headwall this year for all levels. If you aren’t comfortable on rails, there are a lot of boxes that will help you work your way up.

So don’t worry, the powder will come eventually. It always does. Now is a great time to practice all those skills you neglect, maybe ride a little park and reconnect with your groomer loving self.

Dan Tullos, snowboarder

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