Cold powder mornings in the mountains almost always offer a choice. Get on the mountain first thing and get first tracks, or stay warm for a few more hours and get the leftovers. With negative temps at the summit this morning, I can’t blame those who stayed in bed a bit longer. Fortunately for those who braved the sub-zero temps, it was well worth the effort. With a fresh 6 inches of snow blanketing Mt. Werner, the conditions were perfect for soft turns and amazing views.

Packed powder on West Side

As I write this, the clouds have started to pile back up on the mountain, but until about 9 a.m., there was a beautiful inversion layer blanketing the valley. When I made it up to the top of Sundown lift, the Flat Tops were just peeking out of the clouds, and the sun was shining on all the fresh snow. The 6 inches we got last night isn’t quite enough to fully cover up the moguls, but the windy conditions during the storm filled in the gaps pretty nicely. I started out the morning with a run down High Noon to West Side and found some really nice turns with powder on top of the groomed runs.

Sunny skies up top!

After a few runs on the groomers in Sunshine Bowl, I started to venture into Closet and Shadows to see what I could find in a few of our marquee tree runs. The big storm totals last week and the new snow meant the turns in the trees were nice and soft. The storm came in from the southwest with a lot of force, so if you are looking for the best pockets of snow, try riding in the north-facing tree slopes. In the Sundown area, that means the evergreens in Closet and the trees to skier’s right of Rolex.

Fresh turns in Shadows

If you looked at the Powder Cam at the summit of the mountain this morning, you might have noticed that the total up top was less than at the gondola. The wind probably pushed around a lot of the snow, but I think today might be a nice day to explore some of the lower-mountain runs in search of deeper snow. The grooming on Valley View was really nice this morning, but I would try out Concentration and Ted’s Ridge. Neither of them were groomed last night, so they should have about 6 inches of fresh snow on them. Since most people head straight to the top of the mountain, the powder stays good a little bit longer down there.

Morning light on Sundown Lift

Overall, the conditions on the mountain were pretty nice this morning. The light has been switching from full sun to misty clouds, and it’s a bit cold out, but the snow is well worth the trouble. After a slow start to the season, winter is in full swing in Steamboat, so make sure to get out there and enjoy yourself.

Dan Tullos

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