Monday, March 14, 2016

Adventures in Steamboat - 2016

Alright, let's switch to something a bit more in line with the current season!

Last fall, my friend Kim had a problem - leftover time share points that needed to be used.  Thinking of a ski vacation, she found January dates available in Steamboat, Colorado.  Kim wanted to know if I was interested in coming along.  Well......let's just say she didn't have to twist my arm!

Wild women in Steamboat!

I'd traveled to Steamboat twice before, most recently on a 2011 girl's trip.  Thrilled to be visiting again, I eagerly counted the days until our late January adventure.

Gondola Square

An unexpected four-hour layover in Seattle caused a later than planned midnight arrival into Steamboat.  But Kim and I were up bright and early the following morning, stoked to hit the slopes.  A shuttle dropped us at the foot of the mountain, and we grabbed a quick breakfast in Gondola Square.

"Let's ski over there!"

After picking up our passes (we lucked out and found a killer three-day deal!) Kim and I boarded Steamboat's iconic gondola for a quick trip to mid-mountain.  Deboarding, we consulted our trail map.  Steamboat is a huge ski area - it was hard to choose which run to try first.

Takin' a break at a mid-mountain lodge

We started out at the Storm Peak Express Lift.  From my last trip, I remembered some fun trails and good snow.  But the promised snowfall had yet to arrive, and the trails were skied-off and icy.  After a couple runs, Kim took a quick potty break at the Four Points Lodge, while I tried the cool Adirondack chairs out front.

The lodge we almost missed due to fog

Kim remembered the Sunshine Express Lift had some nice terrain.  Only one problem - it was on the other side of the resort.  We whipped out the trail map once again and plotted our route to get there.

Conditions were much improved on the south side, and we had some nice trips downhill.  But, late in the morning, the predicted weather system began to arrive, bringing with it thick foggy clouds.

Steamboat selfies

Visibility became an issue.  At the top of the lift, we could barely see ten feet in front of us.  Kim didn't like this at all.  As we traveled downhill, the clouds thinned slightly, but navigation became a challenge.  It's not a problem at my local ski area (which I know like the back of my hand) but skiing in the fog at a new, unfamiliar place wasn't fun.  While trying to find a nearby mid-mountain lodge, we kept following signs, but the clouds were so thick we didn't see the lodge until we were almost right next to it!

"See that great view out the gondola?  Not!"

While inside eating lunch, snow began to fall.  Thick heavy flakes filled the cloudy skies, limiting what visibility was left to nearly nothing.  Although the snow was beautiful (and we hoped for lots of it to fall!) it didn't help our wayfinding issue.

Foggy ride down

So, by mid-afternoon, Kim and I decided to call it quits and ride the gondola back down to the base area.  On a sunny day, the gondola ride gives spectacular views of the adjacent mountains, and valley below.  But not today!  Nothing to see but fog-shrouded slopes.

Dumping snow!

At the base area, the snow was dumping furiously.  The weatherman was predicting several inches overnight.  Kim and I were giddy.  Powder day tomorrow!

Second day sunshine - but not for long!

The next day dawned to partly cloudy skies.  Steamboat's website boasted seven inches of new fresh, fluffy snow had fallen overnight.  It didn't take much motivation to get us out of bed and up to the slopes!

Awesome aspens

Riding the gondola up that morning, Kim and I were treated to some blue skies.  Oh, it looked very promising!  Having had such a good time the prior day, we decided to head back to the Sunshine Express lift.

Frost-tipped trees

As we followed the trail to the mountain's south side, we noticed all the trees were covered in a frosty white coating.  Oh so pretty!  The Aspen trees that lined most of the trails were especially lovely.

Lots of fresh powder!

Oh was the snow fabulous!  A beautiful white carpet of sparkling white fluffy powder!  It was so soft and light - a dream to ski through!  Kim and I whooped and hollered with glee as we swooshed down the slopes.

Yahoo!  Powder day!

For the first part of the morning, sunshine dominated the skies.  It lit up the frosty trees and made the snow sparkle like diamonds. 

Admiring the scenery

The run under the Sunshine Lift was so nice, Kim and I kept going down repeatedly.  I had fun ducking into the Aspen glades, while Kim was content to slide through the fluffy untracked sides.  I got out my GoPro and documented the fun.

Sadly, by late morning our friend the fog was back.  Heavy clouds rolled in, and fat snowflakes began to fall.  Although I welcomed the additional snow, I wasn't too thrilled to battle low visibility again.

Clouds and snow came back

Still, we made the best of this special powder day.  After several more runs, lunch, and a warm up in the nearby lodge, Kim and I decided to go check out a couple runs by the Thunderhead Express Lift.

New snow smiles

But the morning's powder skiing had taken it's toll on poor Kim.  After one run, she decided to call it quits and take an easy run the rest of the way down.  I wasn't quite ready to stop, and told Kim I'd meet her at a nearby coffee shop.

I decided to try a black diamond run I'd eyed from the lift.  Although it looked a bit bumpy, I thought the soft snow would make it easier.  But ski runs always look a lot better from the chairlift.  Approaching the top, I discovered a gigantic field of moguls all the way down!  It was a quad-burner, and by the time I'd finally reached bottom, I was toast!

Foggy ski down

Instead of riding the gondola, I made a mellow trip to the bottom via the Heavenly Daze and Vogue Runs.  Then Kim and I met up, and spent a relaxing evening in our condo.

Two days done, one left!  We really hoped our final day in Steamboat would be a sunny one.  Would Kim and I finally luck out?  I'll share photos and story in my next post.

Sharing with:  Through My Lens


  1. I'm glad you had a couple days of fresh powder at Steamboat, Linda! The fog was an oddity --this whole winter has been unusual everywhere in Colorado with warmer than usual temperatures. I read today that snowpack is 40% average this year. We may get late spring snowstorms to bring that up to normal--hopefully!

  2. Makes me more than a little envious.

  3. looks a fabulous place to go sking and you looks like you are having marvellous fun

  4. That looks like fun, I can almost hear the breathlessness in your words. "Steamboat" seems an unlikely name for a mountain resort.

  5. Your post exudes enthusiasm and excitement that I just want to be there with you. Not that I know the first thing about skiing!

  6. Belas fotografias na neve.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

  7. Love those trees. Having to take an extra holiday - oh the hardship!!


    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  8. Hello, what a great trip with your friend. I know how much you enjoy skiing. Even with the fog the views are gorgeous. I love the aspens. Wonderful post and trip report. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  9. Oh you lucky lady! Looks wonderful! A lot beter skiing than we got here this year!

  10. Looks like you really had a good time

  11. I love the lodge in the fog! The Aspens are so lovely. Thanks for a wonderful posting and video. Lovely visit for me.

  12. What a wonderful trip! I know how much you enjoy skiing, so I can just imagine the joy you experienced.

  13. Looks beautiful. I've been skiing a couple of times in zero visibility(very slowly) when it was hard to know if you were still moving down the slope or stopped and it's never pleasant. Much better when you can enjoy the views.

  14. Great photos! What a fun trip! I love the aspens!!!

  15. This looks like an amazing time.Very cool. I wish I were a better downhill skier!

  16. This looks like a ton of fun! I am not really a skier, but I can appreciate the perfect setting from your gorgeous photos!

    We've yet to travel through Steamboat area...I'll see it in the summer sometime!

  17. I don't mind skiing, it's the chairlift rides I hate. I did it once, but I'm afraid of heights. They had to grab me out of the chair at the bottom I was holding on so tight. I fell on the ground and made a horrible mess of things. Never again. - Margy

  18. I've been waiting for this post! Bob and I watched the video. We haven't skied Steamboat in years, but we both like tree skiing if the groves have enough space between the trees. Steamboat has some great aspen groves. The fog or ice mist would give me fits - I often get vertigo if the visibility is low. We've gotten a couple feet of snow since the weekend. It's a heavier spring snow, but we're still whooping and hollering as we make our turns. Tomorrow, we're going to ski Vail with friends from MD - a pack of guys. I hope I can keep up!

  19. Really beautiful and fun series, Linda! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  20. You and your friend looks very fun. The snow scenery photos are very cool. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Your trip to Steamboat Springs sounds nice, fun and chilly. Scenery is beautiful. Thanks for letting me ski along with you again. Yes I would enjoy going to the tulip farm again with you.

  22. That looks like so much fun Linda. The varying weather, although not always favourable to skiing, made it even more interesting in your photos!

  23. How totally awesome for you. I just love the Go Pro video shots.


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