A Dusting of Smooth
Having received an inch or two of snow each night for the past few nights, Steamboat’s slopes are in excellent condition. That little bit of new snow paired with warmer temperatures (and the fantastic snowcat drivers of course) has concocted groomers that are smooth, soft and wonderfully grippy.
In all honesty, I was pleasantly surprised with the conditions this morning. Waking up to heavy cloud cover and a snow report of hard-packed slopes with decent wind gusts, my expectations were set fairly low. Having missed First Tracks because I just can’t seem to get out of the door with two young kids at home, I decided to take a few lower mountain laps to warm up my legs. I believe I recently reported that Vagabond was the best run I’d had all year; well, I was wrong. Vagabond today, on this particular morning, was in incredible shape and here I am saying it again, but it really was the best (non-powder) run I’ve had all season! With a dusting of snow to keep it soft, and warmer temperatures to keep it grippy, I had a blast cruising down Vagabond with absolutely no one in sight. I found an inch or two of fresh snow to the skier’s left of the run, making it smooth, creamy and really, quite dreamy.
Since Vagabond was so much fun, I decided to check out Ted’s Ridge off of Heavenly Daze. Ted’s Ridge had a little bit more snow (I’m guessing that’s chalked up to it being groomed earlier in the night), and it too was in great shape. Avoiding the temptation to stick only to lower mountain groomers, I headed for Sundown Express where the clouds were lighter and more inviting than on Storm Peak. Despite the occasional strong “breeze” if you will, the slopes in the Sunshine Peak area were also in perfect condition. Taking some fun and easy turns on Flintlock, I found the Sunshine Olympian Trail to the skier’s right of the run, something I’d never noticed before. Venture onto this trail that takes you through some mellow trees to learn a little bit about some Olympians that call Steamboat home.
Another area worth checking out, especially if you have kids in tow, is the Rough Rider Basin near Thunderhead Express. Complete with a Sheriff’s Office, Jail, General Store, Saloon and more, this fun little area is sure to make your little ones giggle as they ski through buildings and little archways. While I’m obviously not a child anymore, I still had fun skiing through the Rough Rider Basin area and look forward to the day when both of my boys are a little bit older and can ski through these fun buildings with me.
And, if you’re skiing with kids, don’t forget the awesome tepees on Vagabond. For my three year-old son, it’s an absolute must to stop at the tepees for snacks or lunch when we’re cruising down Why Not.
For my last run, I had a hard time deciding between Valley View and Heavenly Daze, so I went with the run I typically don’t do: Heavenly Daze. As cheesy as it may sound, it really was heavenly with grippy corduroy underneath an inch or two of fresh snow, and again, absolutely no one around. See Me was just as much fun with pristine and untouched corduroy to the skier’s left of the run. With exceeded expectations on this Wednesday morning, I had quite the grin on my face by the time I reached the base area.
Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier
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