This blog comes to CSCUSA from Kristen Lummis of BraveSkiMom.com.
Spring skiing at Steamboat is amazing. But we’ll get to that.
1. Ice Castles
Act fast if you want to visit Steamboat’s Ice Castles (http://www.steamboat.com/things-to-do/winter-activities/ice-castles.aspx). Located near the base village, across from the Torian Plum condos, the Ice Castles are magical, entrancing and really amazing. And, they close on March 31st.
Go at night for the best effect. LED lights embedded in the ice create an ever changing and otherworldly glow. The castles are built with “farmed” icicles created on fencing and then stacked and shaped by three “ice architects.” The base of the multi-room castle is up to 200 inches thick and some of the walls are close to two stories high.
2. Happy Birthday Billy Kidd!
The first time an out-of-state friend asked to join him in skiing with Billy Kidd, I thought he was crazy. “What? You want me to do what?” I pictured cameras flashing and crowds jostling to shake Steamboat’s skiing ambassador’s hand. I didn’t picture any skiing.
WRONG. Don’t let the crowds that gather by the Thunderhead trail map put you off. Most of them are there (as I suspected) to shake his hand and snap a picture. For the handful that stay to ski with Billy Kidd, it’s worth it.
Mr. Kidd, a silver medalist at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics, shares stories, insights and tips. Listen to him, do what he does, and make some of the best turns of your life as you follow him down Heavenly Daze, an intermediate run.
This year, both Kidd and the resort are celebrating significant birthdays. Ski with Billy and celebrate his 70th birthday on Saturday, April 13th (http://www.steamboat.com/things-to-do/events/2013/04/billy-kidd-turns-70.aspx).
3. Happy Birthday Steamboat!
The second weekend of April is also closing weekend and your last chance to join in Steamboat’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Springalicious festivities (http://www.steamboat.com/things-to-do/springalicious-festival.aspx) begin on Saturday, April 6th with a 50th Anniversary Fashion Show, featuring anyone (even you!) with ski clothes from the 1990’s or earlier, and end on Sunday, April 14th with a concert by Head for the Hills and Leftover Salmon. In between, enjoy the Pool Party Rail Jam, the 33rd Annual Cardboard Classic race and the 6th Annual Pond Skim.
4. Spring Skiing
With just shy of 3,000 acres of terrain and a vertical rise of 3,668 feet over six different peaks, there is plenty of good spring snow to go around at Steamboat (http://www.steamboat.com/). Since spring skiing is all about timing. Start too early in the morning, and you may be fighting hard, frozen crud. Wait until the sun is high and the snow is soft, and then head as high as you can.
Storm Peak and Morningside
Storm Peak has something for everyone. The super long and fast Storm Peak Express zips up 2,169 vertical feet in only 7 minutes, depositing skiers above 10,000 feet in elevation. This is a great place to bash soft moguls, find powder stashes in the trees, or rip down Buddy’s Run, a classic blue groomer, named for local son and Olympian Bud Werner.
On the other side of Storm Peak you’ll see a gate to Morningside. Although gates at ski resorts often signify extreme terrain, Morningside is an intermediate bowl, perfect for families looking for adventure.
Chutes and Glades
This is not to say that all gates at Steamboat are for everyone. If it’s extreme terrain you crave, take the Morningside lift to the top of Mount Werner. Here you’ll find gates to a set of serious chutes and the tight trees of Christmas Tree Bowl.
Enter the gate, and after cruising over small, soft moguls, the chutes drop out from under you, but only for 4-5 turns. At the bottom, the terrain evens out, with powder fields and trees to explore as you make your way back to the Storm Peak Lift.
The Sunny Side of The Mountain
Sunshine Peak is the third top o’ the mountain option at Steamboat. Take the gondola up and follow the morning sun to the Sundown Express and Sunshine Express. The Sundown Express has more advanced terrain, while the Sunshine Express is all about fast blue groomers and short intermediate tree shots.
On soft spring snow, you’ll ski like a hero and finish your season on a high note.