New Terrain Opens; Feelin’ the Winter Spirit
It looks and feels like wintertime in the Boat, with the frosty, snow-covered trees and 16 inches of fresh powder in the last 48 hours. I should say 16 inches and counting, as storms are lined up again this week. According to Joel Gratz’s report on OpenSnow, we could see another storm as early as tomorrow afternoon, and another to follow sometime between Thursday night and Saturday.
There’s more to celebrate with runs like Vertigo, Valley View, Dropout, Bear Claw and Dropout open today. There were rumblings on the chairlift that Sundown will open soon, with First Tracks soon to follow. It feels like the middle of winter, and that made me feel the holiday spirit, too.
The mountain is in great shape today, with the groomers feeling soft and velvety underfoot and still plenty of fresh snow to be found in the trees, albeit not untracked. After the delicious, stormy powder day Sunday, there was plenty of soft snow to be found on runs like Sideburn, Closets and Shadows, and Bar-UE lift line. I mixed it up as it’s just so rare to catch so much corduroy before it gets tracked, and I found myself in one of those lucky cycles where I was just ahead of the crowds.
I started with a run down Rudi’s with full-on corduroy, and for the first time this year, I skied upper Rainbow, also corduroy, to Hurricane, which was still very soft, with plenty of fresh snow. It’s great to be riding Storm Peak, and I had to check out Sideburn since it was so nice yesterday. There were still many soft, fluffy spots to be found. Those who venture farther toward the Sundown side will be rewarded as well, and the hike out isn’t that bad. Think of it as a triceps workout — part of your early-season ski conditioning.
Dropout looked lovely with all of the fresh, barely tracked snow, though I didn’t have the chance to venture over there today. It is so exciting to have all of this amazing powder, but maybe not the time for full speed, tips pointed ahead, as you will still see plenty of lumber and bushy obstacles in your path. It’s great to have a 43-inch base (and a week of promising forecasts ahead). Taking it slightly slower and making more turns will only get you in better ski shape for when the REALLY big one comes.
It was quiet this Monday morning, at least in the earliest part of the morning up here. In a rare moment of preparedness, I was first on Four Points lift for a peaceful ride up on the chilly, cloud-blanketed mountain. There are so many moments that keep us here in Steamboat and keep others coming back. I ran into a group of friends who were longtime locals when I first lived here in 1995, and here they are, all together, still ripping it up on a Monday morning. Makes you think about the spirit of Steamboat and the feeling of place that is what truly makes people create a home and life here.
Steal a few of your own special moments this season, away from the bustle and busyness. One I will carry with me, besides these times on the mountain, is from last Friday. We were having a holiday concert rehearsal with about 20 five- to seven-year-old violin students. The kids who knew the carols were playing their little hearts out, the others sang along, and then the parents put down their phones and sang along. For that time, everyone in the room felt a joyful moment of coming together and making music without distraction.
I hope you will have many of your own moments on and off the mountain this season.
Happy Monday and happy powder week!
Jessica Berg, Alpine skier
Jessica Berg is a freelance writer and Suzuki Violin teacher. She first moved to Steamboat after college in the mid ’90s and, after a long hiatus, is happy to call Steamboat home again. She runs a private violin studio out of her Steamboat home and teaches violin with Boulder Suzuki Strings. She holds a degree in magazine journalism from Ohio University and loves blogging about mountain life.