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enjoralas

The Walts take on the west! Steamboat 2/3 - 2/10

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Day 1: Travel day, or "eff this, I'll do it myself" (next time)

Up at 530 am to leave at 615 for the drive down to Philthy to make a  930 flight to Denver. Pops picked me up just a bitt late and we rolled out about 640. Made good time and puilled into the valet lot at the Parking Spot I on Essington. See them for all your PHL parking needs. 

They had us over at curbside check-in by 800 we were checked in just minutes later. The curbside guy was able to add my KTN to the itinerary without a hitch, something they couldn't do over the phone yesterday. If I end up on one of these group trips again I'll opt out of the travel portion . It's hell not being able to manage my own reservation . 

Breezed thru precheck and waited for pops to clear security with the unwashed masses. Went down to the gate, stopping along the way to buy a diet My Dew. Always buy your drink as soon as you see it, don't figure you'll wait until you are closer to your gate. Might end up being the only place that sells it and now you gotta walk all the way back. Ask me how I know. 

Caught up with one of the supervisors from my office, and met his girlfriend. Hit up McDoogals and got a sausage and cheesse Mc Griddle without the egg. No one needs me eating eggs right before getting in an enclosed metal tube with them for 5 hours. It a humanitarian thing.

They opened the desk so went up and paid $50 to upgrade boarding position to A9. Another byproduct of the group booking was not being able to check myself in or buy the cheaper early bird check-in, so we ended up at the tail end of B group which could not stand. A9 got us the exit row with its copious amounts of room, so it was money well spent. 

The flight was uneventful. Enjoyed 3 bloody marys courtesy of the super cheap drink tickets I bought on eBay.

Grabbed the bags and skis and boarded the bus for the 3 hour bus ride that turned into 4.5 counting grocery stop. Had a cool older driver tho, and enjoyed looking at the mountain scenery. 3+ hour bus ride are something else I'll look to eliminate from future trips if possible. 

Got tok Steamboat after dark and unpacked groceries and bags. Went down to soak in the outdoor hit tub for about 30 minutes before it closed at 10. Back in the condo now and about to grab some sleep. Plan is to be up at 630 to head over at 745 to grab a pair of glove liners then be ready when the gondi opens at 830.

First day of western skiing is tomorrow!

Edited by enjoralas
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Have fun, wishing you lots of fresh snow. Looking forward to T.R.s and pictures.

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Forecast looks decent  

https://opensnow.com/dailysnow/colorado

Fyi - take notice of what times what lift opens. Some lifts have later openings, at least the last time i was there. Its kind of odd, but you can jump on the gondy, get off and ski to a lift that doesnt open for another 20 mins. 

Post pics. I really like that place. 

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I too enjoy my McGriddles sans egg, though I'll fart in an airplane for sure........

Can't wait to hear about your first day, hope it was super dope and your legs are straight up fried.........

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1 hour ago, Johnny Law said:

I too enjoy my McGriddles sans egg, though I'll fart in an airplane for sure........

Extra GNAR points for airplane farts and claiming them!

 

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Anxiously awaiting the report from the Walt's first trip out west! Always a grand experience! 

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Steamboat is reporting 6.5”, and more on the way. Not to shabby. Looking forward to a good TR. 

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DAY ONE:

Sunday we decided to take it slow and get acclimated to the mountain and the altitude. The plan was to ski at least a green run then a blue run off the gondola to get a feel for the ranking of runs and the altitude, and then make the decision about moving up to the summit. As it turned out, we haven't had any issues with altitude, and I've found that the green/blue/black ratings have been nearly on par with the likes of blue, with the exception that most all the blacks seem to be ungroomed.

My dad and I had planned to be out for first gondi, and were, but ended up waiting for our suitemates to get out there, which took much longer than it should have. By the time they made it out it was nearly 9:00 and that coupled with a short shutdown meant the line for the gondola was hella long. We instead headed over to the Christie Express and took that to up, and skied down Boulevard to YooHoo and took the Thunderhead express back up to the Thunderhead lodge on the gondola level. We skied down Why Not, which was a really flat cat track like trail that in hindsight we should not have bothered with and really burned the hell out of my legs. 2/3 of the way down, at an intersection with Vagabond, a blue cruiser, we all agreed to abandon Why Not and ran out Vagabond. We took the Thunderhead back up and decided that since we enjoyed the run down Vagabond at the end we would take that trail down from the start.

We had a great run down and I was really digging the conditions, as was my dad. It was nice to not have to even think about whether we were going to hit ice, or even scraped off hard spots. Even when the trail was bumped up, the tips just blew through the snow or the skis just slid right through it. We took the Thunderhead express back up and popped into the lodge to use the restroom and get some water.

We all decided that we weren't having any problems with the altitude so we were going to head to the top and check out the Sunshine area. After a near-altercation with a snowboarder who decided to sit down literally in front of me in the only 30 inch opening to get to the trail head, (he took exception when I said "Why would you stop there?" after running into him and tried to pick a fight, but I just skied away) we headed down Spur Run to get down to the Sundown Express and took it up to the Sunshine Peak. Once there we skied down the green in that area, Sundial to Rendezvous Way, breaking off to ski Sunhine Lift line and took the South Peak lift to the Rendezvous lodge and had  lunch. I had a Curry bowl with Shrimp, green curry, brown rice, shrimp and veggies. It was delicious, a bit pricey at about $17 with tax, but we got $10 per day on-mountain food credits as part of our group so for $7 it was a bargain.

The other three decided they had enough for the day and planned to head back down, but I was unwilling to go down without checking out some more of the terrain in the Sunshine area, so I stayed out for a couple more runs. I skied down a fun short blue, Spike, and took the Sunshine lift back up. Close to the top I had my favorite "moment" of the trip to that point when the chair came out of some trees to reveal a massive, wide, intermediate grade slope stretching seeming as far as I could see in both directions. I knew we were going to have a lot of fun skiing this area the next day.

I skied down Tomahawk back to the Sunshine lift, and then decided to head down so skied High Noon all the way down to the Elkhead lift. While skiing down to the gondola level, I saw a sign that said "Tired from skiing? Take the gondola down!" and my legs being pretty beat at this point it sounded like a good idea. But then I decided that I didn't want to end my first day with a gondola ride, so I headed over to ski down Vagabond again.

About 1/3 of the way down Vagabond, I realized I wasn't on Vagabond, but had dropped in one trail early on Rudi's Run and ended up on a trail called Lightning.  I didn't have any trouble with the run, but was disappointed to realize my tired legs would have a much longer cruise back on a much flatter cat-track like green called BC ski way to get back to the base. For some reason, while making the many turns I need to to stay in control on steeper terrain burns up my quads, very flat terrain just kills me even more. And I feel it more in the hips than the quads even.

After a torturous glide back to the base, I managed to find the little trail that lead back to our condos and skied (with a little skating/poling) right back to the balcony of our unit. I popped out of the skis and walked around the front and dropped skis and poles off with the ski valet. Went in and slapped on the bathing suit and went to soak in the hot tub for about 45 minutes. Then about 25-30 of the 33 on the group trip jumped on a shuttle to head downtown to the Tap House where we had a section of the dining room reserved to watch the Super Bowl. It was a great atmosphere to watch the game in, with so many Eagles fans. Great game, and congrats to the Birds. Service at the restaurant was slow and disorganized, but somewhat expected since they only had 2 waitress working the entire section with 30 of us plus about 10 other Eagles fans that happened to get the tables we didn't have.

Took the shuttle back to the condo and hit up the hot tub for a second session, great party atmosphere going on. Light snow was falling, and I was really looking forward to hitting the mountain the next day.

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Are you planning on hitting the Strawberry Park hot springs while out there?

You'll be glad you did, especially if you go up on a crystal clear night!

Also snowmobile tours are pretty fun out there too, if you have/want a down day.

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2 hours ago, GrilledSteezeSandwich said:

Nice report.  Was looking at the steamboat trail map as I was only there for two days four years ago on a skifari. I hope day two includes lots of powder. 

Day 2 was yesterday, going to start a report in a bit. There was some powder, but I wouldn't say lots.

 

 

2 hours ago, indiggio said:

Are you planning on hitting the Strawberry Park hot springs while out there?

You'll be glad you did, especially if you go up on a crystal clear night!

Also snowmobile tours are pretty fun out there too, if you have/want a down day.

 

I'm hoping to hit the hot springs. Today was our down day, my roommate and his girlfriend did a snowmobile tour but we opted to just hang out around the condo. Earlier forecasts had today looking like the best powder day, but that storm sort of merged with yesterdays and fizzled a bit so we decided to take our off day today. Now we'll ski three straight before leaving Saturday.

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Day THREE: Second Ski Day, or "Ever skied on Dippin' Dots?"

 

Woke up for our second ski day and our suitemates weren't planning on heading out until a bit later because my co-worker was dealing with some shin blisters due to a misaligned boot the day before. Our goal was to hit the Sundown lift right around the time it opened at 9 am, and we were able to accomplish that within 5 or 10 minutes. The mountain reported about 4 inches overnight, but we ended up finding spots of about 6 inch deep or so. It ended up being a pretty short day due, at least run wise. 

Our problem was making a strategic mistake and heading to the Sunshine area because we really wanted to check out that terrain, despite the fact that this is the area where they offer first tracks. We probably should have headed over the backside to the Morningside area or something first thing. 

At any rate, we took the gondola up and repeated the previous days ski down Spur Run (without the aggro snowboarder) and hit the Sundown lift. Took it up and as we neared the summit the wind was howling, visibility was ridiculously poor, and it was snowing a weird sort of pellet snow that looked like Dippin Dots. It definitely wasn't ice pellets, but it held together like it was. It didn't really affect the skiing all that much, but it hurt a bit when it hit the part of the face not covered.

We headed down a very crowded Tomahawk and it was very difficult to see beyond 20-30 yard or so. We made it down without any real trouble, and pulled up before the end and elected to cut down Ramrod because it didn't look like too many people had been that way yet. It was a great decision and we had an awesome run down that. Not a ton of powder, found a bit on the edges, but not all tore up and visibility was nice because we had give up a couple hundred feet of vert. Right at the end of the run, after I had pulled up at the lift, I looked up in time to catch Pops going down in what I call a no-fault collision where another skier and he came together in each other's blind spots, but he swears he got run into from behind. Either way, he was generally okay but would stiffen up later.

We took the Sunshine lift back to the top and on the way up we decided that a trip down the Sunshine Lift line trail looked like it would be fun, and identifies some trees skier's left that we thought we'd like to check out. As we approached the top it was still socked in, if anything things were worse. We turned the wrong way off the lift, and ended up unable to get to High Noon which would lead into the lift line, instead funneling onto Tomahawk again although this time we stayed left and started down Quickdraw. We decided to see if we could play around in the woods skier's right and see if we could make it over to where we had intended to go.

We had some fun in there, nothing anyone else here would really think was anything interesting but it was a nice change from straight groomers for us. We came across some signs for the "Olympian Trail" which I'd  like to check out more thoroughly on a better vis day. We noodled about in the trees there for a bit, and did indeed pop out on the lift line. We skied that back down popping into and out of the trees a few times as we went, again, not doing anything crazy. Man, it was fun, but it was much more tiring than just heading down a piste. 

We decided to take the South Peak lift up to the Rendezvous lodge and get some water and rest the legs for 15 minutes or so. We headed back out and skied Spike down to the Sunshine again. Back up top we debated whether we wanted to make another run in the sunshine area, but instead opted to ski along the ridge for a bit and drop down into the Morningside area on Cowboy Coffee. We had a fun run down that with some mild tree skiing as well. We hit the Morningside lift and decided we would work our way back down to base, stopping for lunch along the way. 

I had my first fall of the trip (of the year, i think) although I'm not really counting it, lol. We were standing in the scrub on the side of Buddy's Run gesturing with my ski pole and discussing what line to take when I shifted my weight and sunk into the powder and before I knew it I was laying on the ground laughing. So my first fall was while I was standing still.

We skied down Buddy's Run cutting off onto Calf Roper so we could hit the Four Points lodge. We wanted to eat here (my dad spotted a pot pie that he was really coveting) but after like 10 minutes without finding a spot to sit, I insisted on bailing. My legs were getting totally cooked, and I wanted a seat. We headed back out and down Rainbow, and when we realized we couldn't make it back to the Thunderhead lodge from there we skied down Vagabond and took the Thunderhead lift back up to the lodge. By halfway down the run I was absolutely done and ready to be off the skis. Originally we were thinking about going back for a rest and then coming out for an afternoon session, and so we probably should have just kept going to the bottom but wanted to eat up there and knew we could download on the gondi so we headed back up. 

We went up to the third floor and got lunch. We both got Pho, my dad got chicken broth with chicken and I got curry broth with curried chicken. It was delicious, but I was a little too heavy handed with the Thai chilis when I added them after and went through about three bottles of water with my soup. Right after we sat down we were joined by Ed and Kim, our suitemates, and we all ate together. With their late start our companions had planned to head back out, but a complete whiteout had moved in fog-wise, to where we couldn't see the peak OR the base from the gondi station, so we all decided to download on the gondola and live to ski another day. 

Spent some time soaking sore muscles in the hot tub, while Ed and Kim made some salmon and baked potatoes for dinner. After dinner went out for another round. We have a premium location on our condo, 2nd floor but that means it's walk in from the ski valet, and the hot tubs are right in front of our unit and down half a flight. The whole complex is about a 1500 foot walk to the gondola entrance. 

Headed to bed with plans to take the day of on Tuesday, unless I woke up at 730 to find that we had been dumped on. That didn't happen, so went back to bed and slept until 9 am. Did nothing all day today but lounge around the condo and rest up to hit the hill in the morning.

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Day Four: Non-ski day, or “On the fourth day he rested”

 

Didn’t do a thing except sleep in, sit around, and make dinner. This is about all I have for today:

 

4DA453F1-1465-4857-80EE-07D37CE17EB2.jpeg

 

Also pulled the files from my GoPro and my old one I gave my dad, pieced together a pretty boring edit; we had poor camera angles but hope to get better footage and pics the next three days:

 

https://youtu.be/ShGJqsLRod0

Edited by enjoralas
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7 hours ago, enjoralas said:

I'm hoping to hit the hot springs. Today was our down day, my roommate and his girlfriend did a snowmobile tour but we opted to just hang out around the condo. Earlier forecasts had today looking like the best powder day, but that storm sort of merged with yesterdays and fizzled a bit so we decided to take our off day today. Now we'll ski three straight before leaving Saturday.

The snow you encountered was most likely https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graupel which has a weird consistency.   We sometimes get it at Blue during a conversion from snow to rain.

You don't need a down day for the hot springs, just check the weather for a clear night and make plans to get a bus ride or drive up early evening after early dinner.
The number of stars you'll see out there will blow your mind.

Edited by indiggio
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4 hours ago, GrilledSteezeSandwich said:

Enjorales how did the rest of your trip go??

 

3 hours ago, Shadows said:

totally forgot you were there. must bee good

It was pretty good. No more snow fell after skiing day 2, but it was still a great time. I’ll finish the report eventually, but it might not be until next week. Non-work time is going to be pretty tight getting the house ready for out of town company this weekend.

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32 minutes ago, enjoralas said:

 

It was pretty good. No more snow fell after skiing day 2, but it was still a great time. I’ll finish the report eventually, but it might not be until next week. Non-work time is going to be pretty tight getting the house ready for out of town company this weekend.

No trivia Tuesday tonight???

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