Upper Mountain Glory
It is really quite impressive when you compare upper mountain in Steamboat to the Yampa Valley below. It’s a stark contrast, and one that has left some people doubting our beloved mountain. I’m here to say that there is simply no room for doubt and that upper mountain is, in all honesty, in fantastic spring condition!Drinking coffee on our back deck yesterday and watching the sunrise on our back deck today, there is no doubt that spring is in full bloom at our house and all around town. The grass is green, flowers are blooming, aspen leaves are starting to bud and the animals are out and about. Just this morning I saw a hawk peacefully perched in a tree below our house, a coyote scampering through the meadow below, a hairless fox intently stalking its morning breakfast and a mother and baby moose quietly grazing on Boulevard as I rode up the gondola. Spring is here and it’s amazing!
If you are in town or in Gondola Square looking up at Steamboat Ski Resort, you will see a lot of brown. After all, lower mountain is predominately closed. Upper Vagabond syncs up with So What to take you to Burgess Creek or Storm Peak lifts. Beyond that, Heavenly Daze to Vogue is the main (and only) avenue that takes you all the way the base on your skis or snowboard. There is no green slope that will take you to the base, but downloading on the gondola is an option, and for young kids, can really be quite exciting as you “take-off” down the mountain.Transport yourself to upper mountain in Steamboat and you are in a completely different world! The snow coverage is not only solid, it’s impressive on the runs that are still open (which is a lot when you consider there are still 115 open slopes as of April 12th).Because of the heavy cloud cover last night, the temperature remained warmer than usual overnight, which made early morning skiing on upper mountain quite the treat. For starters, no one was around. I saw maybe a dozen other skiers all morning. I don’t recall ever skiing in Steamboat on a quieter morning, and it was glorious!Upper Vagabond, Cowboy Coffee, Over Easy, Buddy’s Run, Upper Rainbow, Moonlight, High Noon, Westside, Heavenly Daze and Vogue were all so much fun this morning! The corduroy was mostly soft and smooth (it was still a little firm in places, and there was the occasional divet), and I simply couldn’t get over the snow coverage. With a base of 44 inches, there is more than plenty of snow to make the last four days of ski season great.Believe it or not, I had not been over to Morningside all season. Generally I visit Morningside on a powder day, en route to North St. Pats. Well, today is not a powder day, it’s by all means a spring skiing kind of day, but taking a mellow run on Cowboy Coffee and then standing at the top of Mount Werner was a real treat on this spectacular Wednesday morning. The brilliant morning sunshine, the deep blue Colorado skies, the stunning views, the warm temperatures and the soft groomers… what’s not to love about today?!Reflecting back on this ski season, I’m reminded of great powder days in December and January. In fact, I believe my first seven blog posts were all done on powder mornings. February and March were unusually warm, but I recall plentiful sunshine and a lot of really nice turns on soft, grippy, pristine corduroy. Last Wednesday was one of the best “groomer mornings” if you will that I’ve ever had in Steamboat. And today, my last day blogging was fantastically fun in so many ways. In the end, it’s hard not to have fun when your spring skiing or snowboarding, but Steamboat sure does make it easy to have ‘boatloads of fun by keeping upper mountain’s slopes in superb condition. Thank you to all of Steamboat’s hard-working employees for another great ski season, and while I cannot wait for mountain bike season, I’m already looking forward to next year’s ski season!Happy end-of-ski-season and happy Wednesday!
Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier
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