Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Skiing trees safely

When you see the heading "skiing trees safely" it's likely that your first thoughts are about not crashing into trees. Yes that's important and you really should wear a helmet, but if you are coming to Steamboat and planning to ski the trees, you really need to understand the dangers of tree wells and how to avoid them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Too many leftovers

We had dinner guests last night and we cooked enough food for twice as many people so now we have way too many leftovers to eat in the next few days.

Same problem on the mountain today. I went looking for leftovers in Wally World but with the gentler pitches the problem was too much snow. One small turn to miss a tree and you'd lose enough speed that you were stuck.

It was a little more skied out on the steeper slopes although there were still some stashes on Shadows, Lights Out and Kuus's Cruise.

I skied lazy and tired today - I suppose all the powder days this week have caught up with me - which means I wasn't nearly as aggressive with my line as I would like to have been, but it was still a great day.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Numbers can deceive

This morning's report said seven inches but it was the best seven inches you'll ever see, coming on top of nearly 30 inches in the previous 48 hours. While it wasn't the best day ever it was still pretty damn good. Sure the sun wasn't shining and the powder wasn't as light and dry as yesterday, but when you ski constantly from 8.30 am to 1 pm in deep, deep powder and there's still more out there when your legs finally give out, well that's a pretty good day.

I skipped the gondola line this morning and headed straight for the Christie Peak Express and Thunderhead Express combo. After a quick run down Vagabond and the lovely powder covered bumps of Surprise I took the BC Chair to the top of Whiteout for some really big powder covered bumps.

Then it was time for Pioneer Ridge. Today I'd made sure to stay in bounds with a run through the aspens of Fetcher Glade and another straight down Royal Flush. I then met some friends of my wife on the chair and skied Cabin Fever and Diamond Hitch with them.

From the top of the Pony Express I cut down through Nash Junction, Vortex and the Storm Peak Lift Line to meet my Aussie friend Nicole who it seems has forgiven me for pushing her so hard the first day we went out together. I enjoyed my previous runs through Fetcher Glade and Nash Junction so much that I took her back there for a repeat performance.

We found some great lines under the Bar-UE chair which we jumped back on and across to Morningside where we were hoping to find some good lines on Wake Up Call. Unfortunately it was a little cold and windy and the snow was a bit crusty and about that time we realised we were both getting quite tired. So we headed down via Crowtrack, Buddy's, Calf Roper, Twister, Hurricane and Moonlight to the Elkhead Chair and then across to Oops and Vertigo on the lower mountain to finish off with some really great powder bumps.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Best day ever

The report this morning said 15 inches and that was on top of an already soft base, so the snow was deep today - at least knee deep and waist deep in places - and as light and dry as you can imagine. The weather was also perfect. A comfortable 20F / -6C, no wind and plenty of sun.

So the conditions were as good as you could want and today I was ready to ski them. My mind was right, it's far enough into the season that my fitness is coming together, and in my fourth season living in Steamboat I'm now completely comfortable skiing powder.

I was a little slow getting started this morning so I didn't reach the top of Thunderhead until 9 am. I went right past the long line on the Storm Peak Express to the Pony Express which is where you want to be first thing on a powder day. My first run was to skiers' right. I was really excited about the untracked waist deep powder I found until I got to the bottom of the hill and realised I'd gone out of bounds and had a 200 metre traverse back to the lift ( in deep powder)!

Fifteen minutes and three buckets of sweat later my second run was straight down the middle followed by a run to skiers' left of the chair and then finally a run across through Nash Junction to the Bar-UE Chair. That was followed by Triangle 3 and then the trees between Twister and Hurricane where there was deep untracked snow that really shouldn't have been there by 10.30 am.

From there I took Moonlight down to the Sundown Express, deciding that on a day like today I had to ski one of my favourite tree runs. I chose Closet which was just awesome, before picking up some more powder lines on Oops and Vertigo on the lower mountain.

An awesome, epic day. Epically awesome. Awesomely epic. Wow!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Powder Sunday

Nine inches of fresh snow overnight according to the report, a pleasant 25F / -3C and no wind makes for a great powder day.

I was out early and on the Thunderhead Express chair when it opened at 8.30. A quick run down upper Vagabond and then right into untracked powder on the bumps of Surprise. That was followed by an early ride on the Burgess Creek chair which opened 5 minutes ahead of schedule and then first tracks on Sunnyside to the Sundown Express.

After a quick run through the trees of Shadows and Lights Out I met some friends at the top of the gondola. After than it was full on trees until about 12.30 when my legs screamed stop. I finished with a great run down Vortex on the lower mountain.

I'm off the the airport now for a two day trip to DC.

Friday, January 04, 2008


For day 14 of my 2007-08 season I skied with some Aussie friends, Tony, his daughter Nicole and her husband Peter.

It was reasonably warm today (in the 20's F), the holiday crowds are starting to dissipate and the snow is still a lovely buttery texture. It was a little overcast but other than that it was a perfect day for cruising around the mountain just enjoying the fact of making turns.

*In Colorado the term 'fourteener' refers to (climbing) one of the 54 peaks over 14,000 ft.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Here comes the sun

After two weeks of constant snow today was a beautiful clear sunny day.

It was -10F / -23C when I got out of bed this morning so I didn't head out until around noon by which time it was 20F / -7C, which seemed quite warm after the really cold weather we've been having in the past few days.

Nothing special to report in terms of the skiing, just cruising around enjoying perfect packed powder on a sunny day.