Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Aussies

I skied today with my friend Michael, his sister Amanda and her friends Therese and Vicky all from Australia.

It was a funny sort of day in terms of the weather. It was reasonably warm so we sat on the deck at Rendezvous for lunch and then it started snowing so heavily our lunch got covered in snow and then the sun came out again.

Here's today's track. 21,355 vertical ft (season total 813,130 ft) in 4:40.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Clinic 7

I had local's clinic again today and the focus was on bumps.

The Ridge was especially nice and fortunately I talked Jamie into doing it twice. Plus it was a beautiful bluebird day.

Here's today's track. 12,595 vertical ft (season total 791,775 ft) in 4:40.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 65

I was a bit busy this afternoon, so I'll blog today's skiing later, but here's today's track. 16,882 vertical ft (season total 779,183 ft) in 2:56.

Update 4:10 pm, 30 January: It started out misty like this in the morning but by lunch the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. Michael and I just cruised around working on his technique.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hard to go easy

Michael took a rest day today. I've pushed him hard and to his credit he has managed 60,000 vertical ft in his first four days which with jet lag and altitude is pretty damn good.

I said to him when I came home "you know how I promise to go easy on you and I don't? Don't take it personally because I do it to myself." I had every intention of taking it easy today and I started out that way with a run down Vagabond. But the snow was better than I expected and before I knew it I was ripping up the trees. Closet in particular was excellent as was the middle of Storm Peak face.

Here's today's track. 15,124 vertical ft (season total 762,301 ft) in 1:58.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pressing glass

We were are the gondola early enough this morning to press glass because the fly boys were heading out of town early this afternoon and wanted to squeeze in as much skiing as possible on their last day.

The report said one inch at 5 am but it seemed like more than that. First tracks on Tornado was sweet as was a freshly groomed 3 O'Clock. Closet was great, as was Sundown Liftline, 2 O'Clock and everything else we skied today. Here's the track. 16,456 vertical ft (season total 747,177 ft) in 3:19 (including 25 minutes in the gondola line).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Easy on Michael

It wasn't a powder day today which was good news for Michael since he was a bit wrecked after two powder days first up. So we just cruised around on the groomers on perfect packed powder (well apart from a few trees and bumps just to keep things interesting, like Vertigo on the way home).

Here's today's track. 15,968 vertical ft (season total 730,721 ft) in 2:52.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More powder

Today was a a powder day again, which took me completely by surprise because the report at 5 am said four inches in the past 24 hours and I'm sure at least that much feel during the day yesterday. Fortunately we were at the gondola early anyway.

Once we got into the trees it was knee deep all over the place with the occasional waist deep wind ridge, especially on The Ridge, 2:30 trees and Triangle 3. Skier's left of Tornado was great as was skier's left of Hurricane and skier's right of Sundown Liftline. But the best run of the day was first tracks on Buddy's; four inches on top of a perfect groomer is like flying.

Today was also day 61 for this season which is significant because the most days I've managed in a season to date is 60 in 2005-06.

Here's today's track. 16,372 vertical ft (season total 714,753 ft) in 3:40.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The powder arrives

My best mate Michael arrived from Australia yesterday and eight inches of fresh (and still snowing) arrived last night with him.

We met the Aussie pilots at the gondola at 8:15. Via Rudi's to Four Points first up and down to Cyclone which was nice, and then across to Pony Express since the Storm Peak Express was closed due to ice.

Longhorn first up was excellent (apart from a couple of spots where all the powder had been blown off the ice) but Royal Flush was a little too bumpy for the snowboarders in the group so we cut across Nash Junction to the Bar-UE chair. Deep wind-blown drifts of powder in Triangle 3 were so nice we had to go back to seconds.

We then decided to hit the other side of the mountain. Priest Creek liftline and the trees to skiers' left were totally sweet, but by then most of the group were tired so we decided to leave some fuel in the tank for tomorrow which is looking like another powder day.

Here's today's track. 15,233 vertical ft (season total 698,381 ft) in 4:08.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Another clinic

Today was my sixth local's clinic. We learnt something but I was too cold most of the day to remember what it was. But at least there was a couple of inches of fresh snow.

Here's today's track. 13,702 vertical ft (season total 683,148 ft) in 4:52 (lots of standing around).

Friday, January 22, 2010


It was tricky deciding what to wear this morning since it was warm and sunny at 10 am but the weather forecast said windy with increasing cloud. I erred on the side of warmth. I was glad for the extra layer because it was windy enough that the gondola was closed this morning and it was certainly quite chilly at the top of Storm Peak.

Here's today's tracks. I skied with the Aussie pilots again today. 14,207 vertical ft (season total 669,446 ft) in 2:35.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Waiting for the snow

The weather forecast seems to be indicating that we will finally get some serious snow over the next few days. We had a couple of inches in the past 48 hours, and even that is an improvement, but what we really need is a couple of feet. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, all there is to do is keep skiing. Here's today's track. 17,814 vertical ft (season total 655,239 ft) in 3:53.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Aussie pilots

I skied with some Aussies today who are friends of friends and are all pilots for Virgin Blue.

Here's today's track. 17,491 vertical ft (season total 636,902 ft) in 3:05.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A little snow...

...makes all the difference.

Between the 5 am report of no new snow and 10 am when I hit the slopes an inch or inch and a half of snow fell. With high moisture content it stuck to the hard pack making a nice surface to ski on.

Best run of the day was Westside. It was nicely groomed, deserted and unskied, but by the time I returned for seconds only twenty minutes later it had been skied out.

Here's today's track. 18,004 vertical ft (season total 619,411 ft) in 2:23.

Monday, January 18, 2010

At least it wasn't crowded

That and the fact that it wasn't windy are the only good things I can say about today. The snow is not good - thin in places, icy in others - and it was overcast (sort of snowing but not really). Best run today was Vagabond / Betwixt / Lower Concentration.

This is on track to be the worst of the six ski seasons I've live in Steamboat (granted I've had a great run of above average seasons). Let's hope February turns out to be a bumper month to prove me wrong.

Here's today's track. 14,894 vertical ft (season total 601,407 ft) in 1:58.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bump Sunday

Today was mostly practising moguls wherever I could find bumps that weren't to hard or too big, mostly off to the sides of the groomed on Storm Peak face.

Here's today's track. 12,637 vertical ft (season total 586,513 ft) in 1:59.

Whilst the fine weather we've been having for the past week and a half is nice, please, please, please let it snow!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Final clinic

Today was the fifth and final session of my local's ski clinic (except that I'm planning to sign up for the next round of five lessons starting next Saturday!)

Today we took what we've been learning and applied it to the bumps. Big difference. It seems once you get the fundamentals right, even the hard stuff comes easier.

It was warm today; warm enough to have lunch on the deck at Rendezvous.

Here's today's track. 12,966 vertical ft (season total 573,876 ft) in 4:57.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rinse. Repeat.

Today was very much a repeat of yesterday and the day before and the day before that and I expect that to continue while we wait for snow (last night's reported quarter of an inch doesn't count!)

Here's the track. 13,674 vertical ft (season total 560,910 ft) in 2:10.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Half century

Today was my fiftieth consecutive day of skiing this season.

Conditions were very similar to the last few days (unfortunately the snow forecast for last night did not arrive), so it was a few high speed runs (Cyclone early was excellent) followed by practising skiing switch in Wally World.

Here's today's track. 15,610 vertical ft (season total 547,236 ft) in 2:13.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Shaped skis

There was a revolution in ski design in the mid-90's resulting in shorter skis with wider tips and tails and narrower waists (greater sidecut). These are the skis that 99.9999% of skiers use today. But there are still some old timers like Nicole's dad Tony who are only now catching on. We finally got him on shaped skis today and it only took him a couple of runs to realise what he'd been missing.

Here's today's track. 13,126 vertical ft (season total 531,626 ft) in 2:20. The forecast is for snow tonight. Only an inch is forecast, but you never know in the 'Boat - sometimes an inch turns out to be a foot!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A good kind of boring

This morning in the gondola one of the other passengers said something like "it's getting boring skiing all these perfect sunny days" to which I replied "yes, but it's a good kind of boring". It was good enough that I skied 21,409 vertical ft, my biggest day for this season so far, without even trying.

Here's today's track in 3:30. The season total is now 518,500 vertical ft.

Monday, January 11, 2010

One third

Today was day 47 of 137, which is a close to one third of the season down as you are going to get.

I skied today with my Aussie friend Nicole and her mum (Midge) and her dad (Tony).

The sun was out and the crowds weren't, so again it was just another day in paradise cruising around the groomers.

Here's today's track. 12,330 vertical ft (season total 497,091 ft) in 1:50.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I had to drop Marie and her mother and sister at the airport this morning for a short trip to Vegas and LA, so I didn't get out on the mountain until 1.30 pm.

It was another bluebird day and it's been a while since we've had fresh snow, so it was definitely a day for the groomers. I did some of my normal high speed carvers, but where it was flat enough I practised skiing switch (backwards) which we started learning in yesterday's clinic.

I think I mastered it turning right (or to my left since I'm facing backwards) but not so much turning in the other direction. I'll try again tomorrow and if I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong I'll have to give my instructor Jamie a call.

Here's today's track. 14,423 vertical ft (season total 484,761 ft) in 2:06.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Clinic 4

Today was the fourth session of my local's clinic. Whilst it was very cold this morning, thanks to an inversion it was much, much warmer on the upper half of the mountain. The sun was out, there was no wind, and not many people, so all in all a beautiful day.

There's no track today due to a problem with the GPS. I can still calculate today's vertical of 15,758 vertical ft (season total 470,338 ft) based on the lifts I rode.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Forget about Yemen

After the Christmas Day bomber it seems the focus is now on Yemen as the safe haven for terrorists.

Well it's not Yemen I'm worried about; it's those damn Canadians to the north of us. If Canada Geese bringing down US Airways Flight 1549 didn't alert us, those Canadians sending us their frigid air once again really ought to ring some alarm bells; it was -17F/-27C at 6 am this morning!

I waited until noon to head out, by which time it was 10F/-12C; with the sun out and no wind it seemed quite bearable, until I came back inside and my face began to thaw. Only then did I feel it. But at least the snow was still awesome today. One O'Clock was the best run.

Here's today's track. 13,049 vertical ft (season total 454,480 ft) in 1:48 (plus a 35 minute stop for lunch with Marie, her Mum and sister who came up in the gondola for a look around and to take some pics).

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Cold vs powder

With the 5 am report showing six inches of new snow (although much of that falling during the day yesterday) today was technically a powder day. Today was also very cold early; too cold to head out first thing for only six inches (12 inches would have been a different story).

So I didn't go out until around 10.30 am by which time any freshies were well and truly gone. But the quality of the snow was still awesome. Deso's Descent to Flying Z for the first time this season was sweet as was Twister (first time top and bottom this season; the bottom half has been too rocky until now). 3 O'Clock, groomed for a change, was good but 2 O'Clock was even better.

Here's today's track. 14,971 vertical ft (season total 441,531 ft) in 2:25 .

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Snowing again

The report at 5 am said three inches, but it starting snowing harder after that, so it was more like six inches by the time I hit the mountain around 10.30 am. A cold front is moving down from Canada and is meant to bring more snow over the next few days. It's snowing big fat soft flakes right now and forecast to increase in intensity tonight but at the moment it's still surprisingly warm at 32F/0C.

The trees to skier's right of Tornado were particularly good today. Kuus' Cruise and Sundown Liftline were also nice; a little wind blown, but consistently so, meaning the crust was predictable and therefore wasn't that hard to ski (especially on the fat boys).

Here's today's track. 12,924 vertical ft (season total 426,560 ft) in 2:12.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

One O'Clock

Today was largely unremarkable, apart from a run down One O'Clock where the snow was almost perfect.

Here's today's track. 12,616 vertical ft (season total 413,636 ft) in 1:50.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Day 40

Today was my fortieth consecutive day on the mountain (I feel like I ought to insert some sort of biblical reference, but somehow I don't think skiing is mentioned in the bible).

It was a truly beautiful day. The sun came out and nobody was around; ideal conditions for ripping up perfectly groomed packed powder. A freshly groomed Tornado was excellent, as was Buddy's and upper Rainbow. Away from the groomers, Sundown Liftline still had more than enough soft left to be totally enjoyable.

Here's today's track. 14,832 vertical ft (season total 401,020 ft) in 1:57 or 7,606 vertical ft per hour. Short of skiing every run like an Olympic downhill course, that's about as fast as you can rack up the vertical.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


It's hard to say whether today was a powder day. On the one hand, there was only about 3 inches of fresh snow over night. On the other hand, there was a total of nearly two feet over the past four days so there is plenty of soft snow to be found. Today I especially enjoyed Storm Peak face and the upper part of Twister. Sundown Liftline was also sweet.

Here's today's track. 13,461 vertical ft (season total 386,188 ft) in 2:10.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Powder from nowhere

Today was a bonus day. The forecast yesterday was for snow later today and when I looked out the window at 4 am this morning and saw no new snow, it seemed to be confirmed, so I went back to sleep only to be completely surprised to see six inches of fresh when I got up at 8:45; and it was still snowing hard!

Today wasn't an epic powder day, but it was a powder day nevertheless. The trees between Rainbow and Sunset were particularly good, but my best run of the day was the (soft, powdery) bumps of Surprise which I skied almost perfectly.

I skied today with my Aussie friend Nicole who has only just arrived back from Australia and was therefore a little slow, and a local friend Big Al who is in his 70's but still skiing strong.

Here's today's track. 13,803 vertical ft (season total 372,727 ft) in 3:15.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year

Today wasn't a repeat of yesterday, but there were still some surprisingly good spots in the trees so it was a good start to 2010. Plus it was a lot less crowded with many people recovering from last night. Especially good were the 3.30 and 2.30 trees.

Here's today's track. 11,046 vertical ft (season total 358,924 ft) in 2:10.