Steamboat, CO Jan 27-28, 2024

Ski race time in Steamboat came much earlier this year than last for us (2023 March Steamboat).

Ironically much warmer than late March last year too. Temps probably hit ~30F on Saturday and even the upper 30's on Sunday on the lower mtn.

2" reported on the Saturday am snow report which amounted to: dusting at the base, ~1" top of OG Gondola, and 2" on the upper ~1500 vertical. For reference the snow stake camera is almost exactly next to the top of the new Wild Blue gondola (maybe ~one lift tower away). The races had odd (for the race world) scheduling. With a girls race in the am on Saturday, before boys in the afternoon. Then for Sunday a very early 7:30am load with 2 full races (4 race runs), but finished racing by ~1:45pm leaving a bit of time to ski then as well.

Lines were very significant on Saturday and minimal to even non-existent on Sunday which felt very strange. Part of it was the NFL playoff games in the afternoon on Sunday, but not at all clear why so much less crowded in the am. The new Wild Blue Gondola, while useful, is now the most popular way out of the bottom and so the most crowded on busy mornings, though it only opens to the public (only open for ski school before that) 30 minutes into the day. So all around a busy, complex weekend trying to race, trying to do freeskiing where race skis would not get damaged, etc...

Snow was mostly about as expected which good coverage, with a handful of random non-obvious spots where you had to really pay attention (not a lot of rocky places which makes it worse; where you forget to even watch then find yourself in a random seeming mine-field of rocks for a minute). Overcast up top both mornings. With a cloudy layer sticking to only the very N part of Colo on Sunday which finally broke up just before the racing finished. Wasn't sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing. Better light vs flat light, but just too warm out, especially with the sun.

Any moisture at all means the top is going to be in the clouds.

Original gondola top station in the background with the new Wild Blue in front

Son wanted to try out the new Mahogany lift which is to the lookers left of Pony Express. That is where we ran into the Moose on the loose from above the above video. Probably at least 75 skiers 'trapped' for ~15 minutes or so.

A patroller showed up and banged his poles together which moved it along for a bit but we all had to side step up ~10-15 verts and sneak through the woods to our left as it refused to budge after a bit...

Then came racing priorities.

While I snuck in freeruns up top between race runs.

GS racev2.JPG

Note how sunny it is ~30 miles away to our south on Sunday am

OG Gondola with no real lines mid morning

New 10-pack Wild Blue gondola at the mid-station

Wild Blue crosses over 2 chairlifts

Crossing Thunderhead in these pics


Oh yeah in between freeruns and grabbing Jr lunch, etc.. there was some racing going on...

But eventually warm and sunny freeskiing too...

The new-this-year Mohagony Express is difficult to get to; having to ride Pony Express first. Probably almost 50% of the new terrain is hike back stuff to far lookers left side of the new pod. Hike back looks like a decent pitch from the top, and it is N facing terrain, but we did not have time to go see just how much hiking is involved. Upper lift line is decent pitch, though nothing too steep. Lower lift line is low angle though. Could be a spot to hide from crowds on crowded days though... (right side of pic is the Pony Express terrain, the hike back stuff is well off to the lookers left).
Very cool to see a moose on a trail, as long as there's no adverse encounters.
I almost went to Steamboat for a couple days in mid-Jan, but with cold and snowy roads I stuck with just visits to Monarch and Copper. I might still get over there this winter from SLC. That new 10 pass gondi looks nice! I guess it will quickly bring the hoards to the popular Sunshine Express part of the mtn?
it will quickly bring the hoards to the popular Sunshine Express part of the mtn?
With the new 10pack, the Sunshine and Sundown lifts all meeting in the same spot up top there are huge numbers of people at that top area now. I'm wondering how bad it'll get up top if/when they upgrade the chairs to 6packs (certainly justifiable given the crowds on those lifts on weekends).
I guess I'm internet famous now?

Just kidding. Probably only viewed by a tiny number of people. Though I only heard about the linked Powder article because one of the Eldora race coaches mentioned last weekend that he had someone send him the link to it... Moose Article