Skiing in the Clouds
Tiny snow crystals are falling from the sky and the groomed terrain on the mountain is holding up nicely. All in all, this is a great day to be on the mountain.
Heading my way down to the upper mountain lifts, Rudi’s Run was in as good of shape as anyone could hope. The surface was smooth and the overnight grooming crew did an incredible job manicuring the run into a skier’s delight. The rippled goodness of the groomed lines kept things light and fast and the early morning light was overcast but clear. Headed to the top of the mountain however, I entered a dreamlike state…
With low hanging clouds spilling delicate drops of white moisture, the conditions were a bit different on the upper mountain trails. High Noon was wide open and smooth but the pace was slow. On a day with this type of visibility, it’s best to proceed with caution and care. But part of the enjoyment for me was to feel the terrain with my whole body and rely less on my eye sight and more on the deep feeling under foot. Skiing in the clouds is just another way we can all let our muscle memory disappear and ski or ride with all five senses.
Making my way over to West Side, I was happy to see the clouds clear as I entered a trail with more naturally challenging terrain. The surface on the run has been left slightly less touched by grooming machines which is good for the more adventurous skiers seeking a slightly higher level of technical gliding. The coverage overall was just fine and only a few natural hazards exist, which all seem to be helpfully marked. The main avenues of traffic such as Rainbow and Heavenly Daze are perfectly pleasant to swish and slide today, and options like Norther will give your legs an early season test of stamina. One of the biggest and best surprises of the day lives on the Sunset trail. This gateway to mid-mountain was perfectly groomed with very little sign of other skier traffic. It could be a great option for egressing down from Storm Peak.
So as the snowfall continues to build, my hope is that tomorrow’s report holds loads of fresh snow to discuss. But for now, I’m happy to report that our December conditions continue to hold up well. Happy Trails from Steamboat!
Dave Wittlinger, Alpine skier