Steamboat’s recent cold snap has been a memorable one so far. Not just for the -20-degree numbers, but for the massive amount of Champagne Powder® that proceeded it as well. I would be telling a lie if I didn’t admit to a slight hesitation in getting myself up and out of the house this morning. The frosted-over thermometer read -27 degrees, and I cringed to think about braving those temps out on the hill.

But, alas, once I made my way to the top of the mountain, I was all smiles! The sunbeams began burning their way through the atmosphere, and I could feel them permeating through my clothes. I was layered up with full face coverage. Being prepared is half the battle!

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Finding Fluffy Leftovers

Today’s goal was to ski areas of the mountain that I haven’t been to this season. My usual first ascent towards the Priest Creek side of the mountain sent me far skier’s right for my inaugural cruise down Tomahawk to Quickdraw. The snow was squeaky and dry, yet still fast, smooth and super fun. I made my way up South Peak lift and ducked off into Broadway trees. To my surprise there was still tons of fresh snow and trackless lines! I wiggled my way through, smiling and giving thanks for my Saturday morning meditation.

A rapid ride up Elkhead lift brought me back to main mountain where I continued to venture to the opposite side of the mountain. After a fun-filled, carve-tastic cruise down Lower Rainbow I headed all the way to Pony Express lift for my seasonal-first trip to far northeast side of the resort. Again, the sun greeted me as I crested the top of the lift.

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Pony Express Glory

I was in the mood for more high-speed carving, so I made my way down Longhorn. This run is no joke! Narrow, steep, meandering and long –with ever-changing fall-away–it’s an ex-ski racer’s dream of a run.

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Longhorn

I was pleasantly surprised as to how empty the mountain felt this morning. There were definitely people up there, because at 8:30, the Knoll Parking Lot was already full! Perhaps they chose different runs that I did. OK by me!

Or perhaps a plethora of the cars were Alpine racer and Freestyle skier families in town for competitions on the All Out and Voodoo competition complexes, respectively… This sight gave me the chills and so many fond memories. How many places in the world can put on two elite-level competitions on the same day and right next to each other. Steamboat is a special place! Good luck to all the ski racers and bump skiers out there today. If I didn’t have to go home to hours of snowblowing I’d be headed back up to spectate!

Stay covered, stay warm and stay smiling!

Brett Buckles, Alpine skier

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