While frigid temperatures have blanketed the valley floor with a sparkling frost, more mild winter temperatures have graced our coveted ski mountain. This morning’s temperature by the river was a chilly -14 degrees, and even the base area was only 2 degrees; however, mid-mountain was quite pleasant at 20 degrees and the summit was quite nice at 12 degrees. Inversions seem to be a theme this ski season, but hey, I’m not complaining, because they’ve made for some fantastic early morning ski conditions.
This morning I felt as though I was chasing the early morning sun. Riding up the gondola, the sun peeked out as I reached the top of Christie, and then again as I reached Thunderhead. As I skied over to Sundown Express, I dipped in and out of the sunlight going around turns and down Huffman’s. Riding up Sundown was mostly shaded and a bit chilly, but watching the morning light dress the frosty trees in a layer of sparkles was a nice way to start the day.
Every run I took this morning was simply fantastic! The snow was smooth, soft and perfectly groomed; and I mean perfectly groomed. With empty slopes early this morning, I enjoyed carving some really nice turns that had the right amount of grip paired with the right amount of glide. Sunshine Peak and Morningside were both irresistible with the warm, bright and beautiful morning sunlight.
I was lucky enough to ski with my 4 year-old son on Sunday, which was another fantastic day on the mountain. On Sunday, the most recent snow was a little fresher and the slopes were in amazing condition. My husband gets to ski with our older son a little bit more, so I was quite surprised to see his progress in just the six weeks he has been on skis this season. Kids are so amazing, brave and resilient, and I love watching them grow as skiers and riders, particularly my own son.
If skiing down to watch the Balloon Glow on Sunday wasn’t enough of a surprise for Kaeden, I also surprised him with his first ride on the Outlaw Mountain Coaster, North America’s longest coaster at more than 6,280 linear feet. It also happened to be my first ride on the mountain coaster as well.
As we watched the balloons inflating for the Balloon Glow, we geared up for an exciting new adventure. I was the driver and my son was the passenger in a two person sled. Once we were all buckled up and ready to go, we sat back and enjoyed the ride up to the top of the mountain coaster, enjoying the evening glow on the mountain.
Once at the top, I was in charge of controlling the speed of our sled by using the manual brake and maintaining a safe distance of at least 80 feet from other sleds (denoted by markers on the course). Descending more than 400 vertical feet and rising up to 40 feet above the ground, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster is thrilling ride full of dips, waves, turns and 360-degree circles.
Needless to say, as our ride came to an end, my son wanted to go again and again and again and again. We both had a blast and continued our fun evening watching the Balloon Glow light up the base of the mountain.
Steamboat is always full of surprises, whether it be the sparkling morning light that leaves you feeling awe-struck, the fantastic snow conditions with the right amount of grip and the right amount of glide, the fun events like the spectacular Balloon Glow or the adventurous rides like the Outlaw Mountain Coaster, there is something for everyone to make their day one to remember.
Erin Campbell, alpine skier