Serene morning light can turn a normal day into a spectacular one. Wednesday morning in Steamboat was spectacular given the stunning morning light, nicely groomed slopes and significant inversion that warmly welcomed me to the top of Thunderhead.
As I crossed the Yampa River on the way to the mountain this morning, the thermometer in my car read -17 degrees. Brrr! Walking to the base area, there was a definite chill in the air with a temperature of -1 degree. As I stepped off the gondola at the top of Thunderhead, it felt almost beach-like in comparison with a temperature of 21 degrees. Ahhh! That is a difference of 38 degrees from the valley floor to mid-mountain!
There is a huge inversion in Steamboat today making it really quite pleasant for skiers and riders on the mountain. By 9 a.m., the official mid-mountain temperature was already a toasty 29 degrees. Even the summit temperature was registering 19 degrees. As long as you get to mid-mountain and stay higher up, you should expect to see temperatures stay in the mid- to upper 20s and move into the lower 30s as the day progresses.
With clear skies come colder temperatures as we’ve witnessed the past few mornings, and with colder temperatures comes a texture of snow that I particularly love. Colder snow means that it is fast and grippy at the same time, with very few firm patches spread across the slopes. It’s almost like it’s too cold to be firm, so there is this awesome quality to the snow on days like this where it holds your edges nicely while also allowing you to smoothly glide as fast (or as slow) down the slopes as you like.
With comfortable temperatures on the mountain and a great texture of packed powder on the slopes, the only thing left to make today more spectacular was the sun, and it was shining bright! Early morning light witnessed from high on the mountain is one way to define zen. The tree shadows that fall across the slopes as the morning sun rises from the east paired with the radiant views of the Yampa Valley and Flat Tops Wilderness Area to the south and west is its own spectacular. When these three variables of weather/temperature, conditions and lighting come together, it can easily turn a normal day into an absolutely spectacular one. For me, that is my morning zen!
Steamboat is now offering the most skiable terrain in Colorado with more than 2,300 acres currently open. With more snow in the forecast this weekend and later next week, we will likely be seeing even more terrain open in the weeks ahead.
Starting tomorrow, the 33rd annual Steamboat MusicFest will bring the finest Texas and Americana music to the Boat. With 70 bands performing over six days, there is a lot of excitement over the increasingly diverse lineup of artists with styles ranging from country to rock, blues to bluegrass, folk to western swing, and everything in between. For more information, visit The MusicFest at Steamboat. For skiers and riders, remember that the Knoll Parking Lot will have limited spaces available, so parking at the Meadows Parking Lot and riding the shuttle may be your best bet.
Whatever your day brings, I hope the variables collide for your day to become a spectacular one.
Erin Campbell, snowboarder
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