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TRIP REPORT: Steamboat Resort - December 2018

Colorado grabbed the early-season headlines thanks to a parade of storms to start the 2018-19 season. Steamboat Resort in northern Colorado has been one of the main beneficiaries with over 70 inches in December and a snowpack tracking above the 30-year average. 

My friends and I decided to spend our New Year's Holiday exploring the beautiful town and every aspect that the ski resort had to offer. Temperatures were in the single-digits each day but thanks to the cool temps and low December sun angle, we enjoyed phenomenal snow conditions. This included 9 inches of fresh overnight snow at the summit for the morning of Monday, December 31st. 

We'll start with a quick overview of the mountain before jumping into the details of my final (powder) day of 2018.


Resort Background

Steamboat offers 2,965 acres of skiable terrain, accessed by 18 lifts and 169 trails. The mountain stretches from a base elevation of 6,900 feet to a summit elevation of 10,568 feet.

Our friends at Zrankings list Steamboat's True Annual Snowfall at 368 inches. 44% of the mountain is considered difficult terrain, 42% intermediate, and 14% easy terrain. 55% of the mountain features a west-facing aspect, 23% south-facing, 20% north-facing, and 2% east-facing.

The 2018-19 season kicked off on November 21st and is scheduled to end on April 14th. The lift operating hours run from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm (weather and lift depending).


My day started with the normal routine of waking up early to write forecasts for Colorado and Wyoming. It was then off to the Base Area to get in line for the Gondola, which started running at 8:30 am.

After the initial Gondola ride to the summit of Thunderhead, we blasted down Rudi's Run and Lightning to grab one of the first chairs up the Four Points lift. Mountain Operations were able to groom before the heavy snow arrived late the previous night so we were able to ski fluffy powder on top of grippy corduroy. 

From the top of Four Points, we enjoyed first tracks down Cyclone and Drop Out. These were my favorite non-tree runs of the day. 

We then quickly loaded the Storm Peak Express lift to access our first tree run of the day down Sideburns and Closets. The series of photos below feature my good friend Ian Silberman enjoying the Champagne Powder® Snow.

Once we finished the leg burner down to the base of Closets, we popped out onto Moonlight to make our way over to the Sundown Express lift.

From here, we opted for another tree run between Three O'Clock and Two O'Clock. Soft turns after soft turns for your's truly continued.

Following back-to-back tree runs, we took the Sundown lift up and ventured back into Morningside. This is the only east-facing terrain on the mountain and provides a nice refresh of the warm, early-morning sun on a cold morning.

The Morningside lift also provides access to the hike-to terrain off of Mt. Werner, which includes No Names, North St. Pats, and East Face.

From the summit of the Morningside lift, we decided to drop into Christmas Tree Bowl and Chute 1.

The photo below is taken from the bottom of Chute 1, with Erik Smith skiing. Erik is OpenSnow's Mobile App Developer and also moved to Steamboat Springs with his family during the fall of 2018.

From the bottom of Chute 1, we skied into Big Meadow and Bug's Run. This area featured low-angle powder turns, which was perfect after multiple tree runs and a steep lap down Christmas Tree Bowl. 

After taking the Storm Peak lift back up and skiing down Storm Peak North, we took a quick break in the Four Points Lodge. This is a great mid-mountain location to use the restroom and also grab a coffee, beer, or lunch.

Our final two hours of the day were then spent exploring the terrain around the Pony Express lift, as well as off of the Burgess Creek lift. Skiing hard in single digit temperatures took it out of us and even though the snow was still soft at 1 pm, we called it a day with one last run down Ted's Ridge.

With 100% of the mountain open and over three months left in the 2018-19 season, it's an ideal time to book Steamboat for your next powder day or destination ski vacation. 


Visit Steamboat.com for all lodging, event, and other ski-related information. 


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