With only 22 days until the Steamboat Ski Resort opens for the 2014-15 season, and a fresh dusting of snow sitting on the mountains right now, it’s hard not to to finally get excited about winter. Usually a rough transition for me, to move from the pleasant days of being outside soaking up the sun, the fresh air, and the amazing views to bundling up to go outside to soak up the sun, the fresh air, and the amazing views. Hmmmm….that didn’t come out right. Point being that although the winter experience is an amazing one that I think everyone should come try out, living in it for 6 months can make for a little kicking and screaming as the weather gets cooler and the clouds roll into town.
This year is a bit different. With such a mild fall, we’ve had tons of time to enjoy the trails, watch the aspens change, fit in our last trail rides, bike rides, hikes, etc…and now it is finally feeling to me like it’s time for snow. While getting out in downtown Steamboat today, I looked up at the ski mountain and had a moment. The sun was shining brightly on the fresh white snow sitting up on the mountain. It hit me. I’m ready to ski. Now, don’t get me wrong. I could write an entire blog post on how much I love skate skiing, back country skiing, snowshoeing, horse back riding in the snow, going on a sleigh ride, you name it. I love all the outdoor pursuits that we share with guests when they are playing at Vista Verde on their winter vacation. But, I do save a special spot in my heart for downhill skiing. That’s where my roots lie, and, like many, that’s what brought me here to Colorado in the first place.
So, if you have been thinking about planning a winter ski vacation, do it! Come to Steamboat and enjoy the fresh powder we get so often, the tree skiing or the meandering groomed trails. In fact, imagine this day…..
You wake up to the sound of horses neighing at each other as the sun peeks over Wapiti mountain. Peering out of your cabin window, you see that the snow has stopped and the sunrise is turning the sky shades of orange, pink, and yellow. After a quick soak in the hot tub on the deck, where you finish watching the sunrise, you bundle up in your ski duds and head down to the lodge for a hearty breakfast…..including that amazing bacon that has ruined your bacon experience anywhere else in the world. As you finish up your last bites, Bubba hands you a lunch to go and Ryan comes in to tell you he’s ready with the Suburban by the front door. You and your ski buddies hop in the vehicle and head down the road. After a scenic drive down the Elk River Valley, Ryan drops you off right at the base of the Gondola. You swing by Christy Sports to pick up your rental gear (of course you stopped on your way in from the airport with Brandon and got fitted so it was ready to go this morning, as well as your lift tickets) and then hop of the Gondola for your first run.
Your legs are burning, but the skiing has been so good that you only stopped for a 15 minute lunch break. By mid-afternoon, all you can think about is that bubbling hot tub and the delightful dinner that Chefs Cholly and JT have prepared for you back at the ranch. Ryan is waiting for you as you slowly walk from dropping off your ski gear at Christy Sports and lay yourself into the Suburban. On the ride home, you enjoy watching the sun set over the valley floor, the cows munching on their hay, and a herd of elk sauntering across the meadow. Once firmly planted in said hot tub, you see the stars…..more stars than you could ever imagine seeing! It’s all you can do to get jeans and a sweater on to head down to the Lodge for dinner. The amazing meal is only topped by the delicious wine and the great conversation, as everyone recounts their adventures from the day. As you stroll back to your cabin following dinner, you are surprised by the fact that there are now even more stars in the sky than earlier. Fantasies of sitting in your hot tub again are quickly washed away by the comfortable bed, the low lights, and that pillow…..as you curl up and fall asleep earlier than you’ve been to bed in ages, your legs twitch a bit as your muscle memory revisits some of the amazing turns you made today. A winter day well played.
Ready to ski Steamboat? I am!