Posted on 14 Mar 2018

Spring Skiing Tips in Steamboat

“Corn snow” is a classical skier’s phrase for what happens to the snowpack in spring…where that name comes from is anyone’s guess. All I know is that come every spring, getting a few runs on the ‘corn’ is a real treat. Regardless of the name, the result of the snow ‘corning up’ is softened gravel-like pellets that look like white corn kernels. For snow to become corn requires a week or two of freezing nights alternating with warm, snow melting days. The snowpack changes under the action of this daily melt and freeze cycle almost overnight.

Sunscreen is very important - Apply often - Favia

Timing is very important. Seasoned spring skiers, don’t get to the lifts too early. At Steamboat Resort, you should be on the hill around 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning. This is when the spring snow starts to soften, to give, to relax, and turn into the soft corn pellets. As the softening begins, you’ll begin to relax and enjoy the pure pleasure of spring skiing with beautiful gliding fast turns through yielding but solid snow that, for a few hours at least, seems to get better and better and better. Corn snow also makes moguls so easy to ski that you’ll feel like an Olympic freestyle skier!

Equally important to your time on the slopes is your choice of where to ski. Spring skiing strategy is simple: follow the sun. From my perspective I want to start on the snow that melts earliest and at Steamboat that means the eastern facing slopes of Morning Side to start. By 10:30 the Morning Side snow should be plenty softened to allow you to carve in non-stop runs to the bottom of the lift. Take at least two runs in the Morning Side area. Next migrate a little to the southeast with the long runs of Sunshine Peak. These long carving runs will make you feel like you are invincible on skis! As the sun rotates more to the west (around 11:30ish), advanced skiers will want to move to the famous tree runs of Twilight and Shadows. The corn bumps keep your speed checked just enough that skiing around the gladed Aspen trees is simply a dream. And last but not least I’ll meander farther to the northwest for runs down Hurricane, Cyclone, and finish on the bumps of Vortex.

Wear layers and bring a bag to put them in – Leo

And most of all, don’t feel you have to keep skiing until the lifts close either. I’m happy to call it an afternoon around 1:30ish to meet with my posse and break down our epic day. Finding the wind-down spot is as important as finding the corn. Make sure that your choice of relaxation location has sun, songs, and suds! As a German friend of mine explained “a beer never tastes as good as after a long hike in the mountains.” I find that a beer at Slopeside restaurant never tastes better than after a good day of skiing Steamboat corn!

Kate recommends the Rendezvous deck

-Gardner Flanigan - General Manager and avid skier

Rendezvous | Moving Mountains



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