First Tracks in Steamboat
When you book Steamboat First Tracks three weeks out to coincide with a client visit, you certainly hope for either a fat Champagne Powder® snow day or a sunny corduroy dawn, but today exceeded all expectations.
My very charming and punctual guests showed up at 7:45am and we immediately boarded the Gondola and headed up the mountain under grey skies and a tolerable 15F/-9C with a report of 1”/2.5cm of new snow. From the top of the Gondola, we rode down Spur Run to Huffmans to the Sundown Express lift, where we claimed chairs #1 and #2 of the day, and as we climbed out of the Sunshine basin, we popped through the clouds into a brilliantly sunny daybreak. Sunbeams peaked through the snow-covered aspens and illuminated the snow surface with a diamond-like sparkle, and the whole world warmed.
Our first plan was High Noon top to bottom, and it was a fast and effortless descent on a smooth as glass surface with enough fluff on top to generate some serious face shots. As I neared the turn to Lower High Noon at Rendezvous Saddle, I recalled that steeper Westside was groomed overnight and would be untouched by other riders, so I lead my posse that way instead. Good choice –very fast and very fun! Next we hit Tomahawk. Yes, it’s a gentle blue Wally World run, but untouched and pristine with the sun coming up and frosted with new powder – oh boy! – we did it twice.
Then our private mountain opened up to the general public, so we made a move across the top to Storm Peak Face to Triangle Trees to Cyclone to Vortex – all steep black runs groomed overnight and riding beautifully. The Burgess Creek lift then took us back up to Thunderhead for warm beverages and breakfast at the Stoker Bar. Once rested and refueled, it was time to fulfill a request for some tree skiing. From my favorite munchkin forest to the right of Buddy’s Run (not on the trail map – come and see me and I’ll take you there!) to the Sideburn side of Shadows, we were marveling at the depth and lightness and softness of the snow.
Then alas it was time to get on down and back to the desk, though I could have gone on snowboarding all day, as the turns were so free and easy. This was day #22 for me this season, and it definitely goes down as one of the top five so far! I also heard a couple of “best day evers” from my riding partners.
Steamboat stats for today, 24 January:
- 250”/635cm total snowfall to date
- Midmountain base of 72”/183cm
- 96”/244cm at the top (I must remember to get a picture by the Buddy Werner statue at Storm Peak – I’m now taller than him, and he stands 14 feet /427cm high in summertime!)