Monday, March 29, 2010

Winding down

The season has another two weeks to run, but I'm pulling the plug at the end of this week to get back to work (specifically on a project in South Africa that I was working on 12 months ago).

Today was a total contrast to Saturday's wintery conditions; very warm so once again it was all about slush bumps. The Ridge was good, Twister was excellent, Whiteout was great apart from the last few turns which I muffed (I'll put that down to fatigue after hammering the previous fifty turns) but the best run of the day was the super slushy bumps on Vertigo on the way home.

Here's today's track. 12,740 vertical ft (season total 1,524,466 ft) in 2:18. That rate is a little slow because I skied most of today with my friends Ted and Wendy and their three young daughters, so lots of stopping and waiting.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March surprise

To my complete surprise given the trends of this season and last night's weather report, today was a powder day. Not an epic powder day, but a true six inch powder day nevertheless. On top of that it continued snowing quite hard for much of today. The snow on me and my mate Rob in this photo is simply the accumulation whilst we were riding the Bar-UE chair.

Here's today's track. 20,407 vertical ft (season total breaks the 1.5 million mark at 1,511,726 ft) in 3:48.

There were so many good runs today it's hard to pick the best one. Probably Shadows, but 3.30 trees, 2.30 trees and Typhoon all come a close second.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rob returns

My Aussie friend Rob from St Louis who was here over Christmas with his wife and son is back for a short spring break ski trip with just his son this time, so I skied with him and some of his friends today.

There was a couple of inches of fresh this morning and it's been snowing all day. It was a little "dust on crust" but not as bad as I would have expected, probably because it didn't get cold enough last night to freeze yesterday's slush really hard.

The powder bumps today were especially nice. Best run of the day was a non-stop bump-fest straight down the fall line of Whiteout which really got my heart rate up (175 bpm). Twister was also good as was The Ridge (twice).

Here's today's track. 15,612 vertical ft (season total 1,491,319 ft) in 3:42.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Very nice

Today's skiing was much better than I expected. We only had two inches of snow yesterday (despite the fact that the Front Range got hammered) and some wind last night, so I expected a rerun of Saturday's horrible conditions, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.

Here's today's track. 18,270 vertical ft (season total 1,475,707 ft) in 2:31.

1. Rudi's / Lightning - I discover to my delight that it's packed powder rather than the dust on crust I was expecting

2. Triangle3 - often when it's been windy the snow is dropped here. Not today. a bit disappointing

3. Tornado - the bumps to skiers' right had enough soft snow in the troughs to be pretty good

4. Upper Buddy's - nice packed powder

5. Cyclone - nice bumps to skiers' right

6. Storm Peak Liftline - this section between Vortex and Drop Out was unskied at noon, so I laid down these tracks

7. The Ridge - whilst a little crusty from the wind, the snow was at least five inches deep here

8. Drop Out - nice bumps off to skiers' right

9. Sideburn - pretty good snow in the trees here

10. Lower Rainbow - perfect packed powder for carving high speed GS turns

11. Storm Peak Face - there was a section in the middle here about five metres wide where the snow was several inches deep and largely untracked

12. Hurricane - excellent bumps to skiers' left

13. Twister - largely untracked freshies at 1 pm! This was definitely the best run of the day

14. Nelson's - not quite as good as Twister but still nice

15. Norther / Vagabond - with the exception of one small icy section of Vagabond packed powder all the way home.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Slush bumps

I said yesterday that I wanted to ski slush bumps and today it was warm enough for me to get my wish.

First run was skier's left of Surprise (which gets the sun earliest) which was nice and soft as expected. I follow that with the middle of Storm Peak face / Rainbow then 2 O'Clock and Quickdraw which were all OK.

The next run - after a quick burger on the deck at Rendezvous - was non-stop down a bumped up 3 O'Clock which really got the heart pumping and by that time the sun had softened the bumps to just the right consistency. Sundown Liftline after that was even better (and got the heart pumping even more, at least according to my heart monitor) and 3 O'Clock a second time was still great. Whiteout wasn't as soft was I expected even at 3pm, so I hit the bumps on Surprise again and Norther and then Vertigo on the way home.

Here's today's track. 19,218 vertical ft (season total 1,457,437 ft) in 2:40.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A little better

The best thing I can say about today is that it was a little better than yesterday, but not a whole lot. It was a beautiful sunny day, but it simply didn't get warm enough to melt the hard snow. Fortunately tomorrow is forecast to be warmer because I've got a burning desire to ski some slush bumps...

Here's today's track. 10,848 vertical ft (season total 1,438,219 ft) in 1:31. I won't even bother to try to nominate a best run for today because it was all quite mediocre.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Low expectations met

I went out today with very low expectations and they were well and truly met.

Why was I so pessimistic? Because of the following chain of events:

1. It was warm on Thursday so the snow got very soft
2. A cold front moved in Thursday night so the snow refroze very hard
3. It started to snow on Friday morning but only a couple of inches, and then the wind blew it all away
4. It stayed cold today, so despite the fact the sun was out the snow didn't soften at all.

I arranged to meet some friends, John and Alta, today. Alta was the smart one; she bailed after one run whilst John and I persisted in the hope that we'd find something better. On that note, the best run of the day is hard to pick because none of it was much good. Upper Sundown Liftline or skier's right of Tornado where snow had blown into the troughs between the bumps were both sort of OK, but you had to ski so much rubbish to get to them it wasn't really worth it.

Here's today's track. Only 9,296 vertical ft (season total 1,427,371 ft) in 1:52.

Friday, March 19, 2010


With my unbroken run having come to an end earlier this week, I decided not to ski yesterday. I'd been finding our two hour tai chi class on Tuesday and Thursday nights very hard going when also skiing the same day. Plus it was supposed to snow last night, so I thought I'd wait for the freshies today.

Whilst the forecast also included some wind, it didn't say anything about 70 mph winds that would close the entire mountain for the second time in less than a week! At least the wind is forecast to drop off today whilst the snow is expected to continue through tonight, so fingers and toes are crossed for a powder day tomorrow!

P.S. If you are thinking of Tai Chi as those slow, gentle, flowing exercises old Chinese people do in the park, it's actually a martial art; the full name tai chi chuan translates as "supreme ultimate fist". And the slower you do it, the harder it is. You will understand why it's tough after skiing if you think of it as two hours of lunges and squats and standing on one leg like this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm back

Those of you who have been paying attention (yes, that's you Rob K) will have noticed that after 107 consecutive days of skiing reports I've not posted anything in the past few days. The cold I could feel coming on last Friday laid me flat.

So it was great to get back on the mountain today, even though conditions were nothing special. It's Spring skiing right now, but it was a little cloudy meaning the snow was slow to soften. It's also not helped by the fact that a few years ago our idiot politicians decided to move the start date for daylight savings from the beginning of April to early March. So it's even later in the day before the snow softens.

Best run today was definitely the slush bumps on Surprise.

Here's today's track. 15,810 vertical ft (season total 1,418,075 ft) in 2:22.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Powder bumps

Desipte the fact that I didn't hit the mountain until 10 am, there were plenty of lovely powder leftovers from yesterday, so I decided to take advantage of the powder bumps today. Here's today's track.

1. Norther - powder bumps
2. Storm Peak face right under the chair to skier's right of Tornado - more powder bumps
3. The Ridge to skier's right of Buddy's to Vortex - still more powder bumps
4. Sideburn to skier's left of Hurricane - even more powder bumps
5. The middle of Storm Peak Face to Twister - you guessed it, powder bumps
6. Closet to Lights Out - trees followed by powder bumps
7. Whiteout - humongous powder bumps which proved that nailing these bumps yesterday was no fluke, and was therefore the best run of the day
8. BC Liftline - yep, powder bumps which I skied surprisingly well considering how tired my legs were by this time.

I'm still not super smooth in big, hard, icy bumps, but otherwise I'm skiing the bumps really well which is something I've aspired to for a long, long time.

I woke up with a slight tickle in my throat this morning and almost didn't go out. I'm so glad I did. Of course I may be too sick to even get out of bed tomorrow, but that's another day as they say.

14,700 vertical ft today (season total 1,402,265 ft) in 2:16.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another four

It seems to be the pattern this season for the 5am report to say four inches. But it's been snowing all morning so it was more than that, especially on north facing slopes. So I was at the gondola at 8:20 expecting good things and I wasn't disappointed.

Here's today's track. I thought I'd try something different and number the runs in the order I skied them.

1. Norther - first tracks
2. Four Points Liftline - first tracks
3. Triangle 3 and Typhoon - freshies
4. Shadows - freshies but a little dust on crust on the lower half
5. Kuus' Cruise - like Shadows
6. 2:30 trees to skiers' right (or 2:45 trees if you like) - lots more freshies
7. 2:30 trees to skiers' left (or 2:15 trees) - even more freshies
8. Tress to skiers' right of Rolex - more freshies and closer to eight inches than four
9. BC liftline - awesome powder bumps
10. Whiteout - even more awesome powder bumps
11. Home via the top of Whiteout and trees to skiers' right of middle Vagabond.

Hard to pick the best run, but I think #10 wins simply because this was the the best I have ever skied Whiteout, but Rolex trees come very, very close.

Compared to yesterday's abysmal effort, total vertical today was 18,620 ft for a season total of 1,387,565 vertical ft.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Living here in Steamboat and skiing regularly you get pretty good at judging the weather and what you should wear. At least most of the time. Occasionally, like today, you get it wrong. Badly wrong. I was so under-dressed today that miserable would be the only word to describe the feeling. Combined with the fact that the snow wasn't great I pulled the plug after a mere 45 minutes.

How did I get it so wrong. Well it was very warm yesterday, and despite the fact that I was dressed lightly I still cooked, so sub-consciously I was reacting to that experience despite the fact that it was overcast rather than sunny today. And the weather changed while I was heading up the mountain, so by the time I reached the top it was shrouded in a cold, damp fog.

Here's today's track. 5,310 vertical ft (season total 1,368,945 ft). That's my lowest vertical since December 7.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

2.30 at 2.30

We had to drop some Aussie friends at the airport today, so I didn't get out on to the mountain until after 1 pm. I expected it to be nice Spring skiing by then, but not nearly as nice as it turned out to be.

After getting nice lines in Typhoon and Closet, and a reasonable run on the Sundown Liftline (at least on the top half - below Duster it was like cement) I hit the 2.30 trees which were so nice I went back again. Here's a shot of a sweet line I got through the 2.30 trees at 2.30 pm!

After that I hit Closet again and then the slush bumps on Whiteout and BC Liftline.

Here's today's track. 15,214 vertical ft (season total 1,363,635 ft) in 2:08.

Monday, March 08, 2010


The report this morning said two inches of fresh snow. All I can say to that is "don't buy land from the guy who took that measurement."

Today the mountain was shrouded in fog so thick and wet and cold that by the time I finished my first run down Buddy's the front of my jacket was coated in a thick layer of ice.

Combined with the spring hard pack, the total lack of visibility made it the sort of day when you only go out because you stupidly told the whole world that you are going to ski every day this season!

I did have a couple of good runs when the fog lifted for about 15 minutes; down Cyclone and lower Rainbow where the snow was still a little soft.

Here's today's track. I nearly called it quits after 30 minutes but in the end I managed 13,356 vertical ft (season total 1,348,421 ft) in 1:53.

Sunday, March 07, 2010


If the snow yesterday was like glue, today it was like lovely creamy smooth butter. The snow on Rolex in particular was the best I've ever seen it when groomed. The skis just carved an edge effortlessly all the way down. Despite the fact that it's a pain to get to, it was worth doing twice.

Here's today's track. 14,138 vertical ft (season total 1,335,065 ft) in 2:38.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


The report this morning said five inches of new snow, but I was feeling quite tired this morning and was meeting some friends at 10 am, so I failed to get out early to ski the freshies.

It was still nice until around midday by which time it was very warm and the powder had turned into glue. It's tiring once it gets like that so my legs are really feeling it right now even though I bailed early.

Best run of the day was definitely Closet first up although the bumps on BC Liftline on the way home were still pretty sweet as well.

Here's today's track. 11,868 vertical ft (season total 1,320,927 ft) in 2:39.

Friday, March 05, 2010

100 days

Four inches of fresh was a nice treat to celebrate my one hundredth consecutive day of skiing this season.

Amongst the evergreen trees on north facing slopes was the place to be today. That's where the snow got the least sun yesterday so it was powder on top of a soft base rather than the "dust on crust" to be found elsewhere on the mountain.

Best run of the day was undoubtedly first tracks (at 9:15!) through Typhoon. Closet was nice enough to do twice and powder bumps down Twister were fun as were powder bumps on Surprise, skier's right of lower Rainbow and BC Liftline.

Here's today's track. 15,438 vertical ft (season total 1,309,059 ft) in 2:10.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Rapid vertical

It was a nice sunny day today, although a little windy, I got out early before anybody was about and the groomers were perfect so I ripped it up. Lower Rainbow was doubly nice.

Here's today's track. 16,762 vertical ft (season total 1,293,621 ft) in 1:46. That's 9,488 vertical ft per hour.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Weird Wednesday

Both the weather and the snow conditions were all over the place today. It started out sunny and then the clouds rolled in and the light got very flat and then the sun came out again. And the snow was still fresh in some places, slushy in others and still hard from the refreeze elsewhere.

Best run of the day was short swing turns down a nicely groomed Hurricane. Buddy's was also very good.

Here's today's track (technical issues - coming soon). 14,826 vertical ft (season total 1,276,859 ft) in 1:50.

Update: 11:41 am, March 4. Technical issues resolved. Here's the track.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ski buddies

I went out to today planning ski by myself today but I soon ran into an Aussie friend and we then ran into some more friends and before we know it there were about a dozen of us zooming around the mountain together enjoying the sun and the perfect groomers.

Best run of the day was lower Rainbow, followed closely by Buddy's.

Here's today's track. 14,305 vertical ft (season total 1,262,033 ft) in 2:45.

Monday, March 01, 2010

March begins well

Like last Thursday, the snow report today said four inches and that seemed about right but it was still an awesome morning on the mountain.

I didn't get out until around 8:45 am but there was nobody about, so my first run down Twister at 9:15 was freshies all the way, as was my next run down Triangle 3/Bar-UE liftline, and even the one after that through Closet which was sweet. But the best runs of the day were to come; Sundown Liftline and then twice through 2:30 trees which were skiing much deeper than four inches.

On top of that I skied some great bumps on the way home including Norther and Mother Nature, both of which I nailed.

Here's today's track. 15,194 vertical ft (season total 1,247,727 ft) in 2:14.