Steamboat Ski Resort in Colorado is famous for its “powdered champagne,” a term the resort has marked as a trademark. But the resort also offers visitors the opportunity to get off the beaten track and ski more challenging routes, weaving trees and unconditioned trails along the way. No one knows the resort’s extreme back country-style terrain better than Johnny Sawyer, the Ski Patrol supervisor who has worked on the mountain for more than 30 years. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Johnny to get his thoughts on skiing and snowboarding in this unique setting.
This is what he had to say.
What are the best inbound skiing/backcountry riding spots in Steamboat?
Pats along with the East Face. Most of this area of the mountain is oriented mainly north, so the snow tends to be more abundant, drier, and can ski more from storm to storm.
What is special about these areas?
“In the last three years, a small crew has entered this area of dense forest, particularly the Christmas Tree Bowl and No Name Chutes, to open up this extreme double black diamond terrain. This area was so heavily wooded that the goal was to maintain the natural environment, while opening up the entrance to glazed areas and natural lines. This ongoing effort, by hand and with chainsaws, has helped enormously in allowing skiers / cyclists to choose nearly a dozen natural lines through this glazed area.
What is the best time of the season / day to reach these areas?
Snow definitely drives when the patrol can open this area. Traditionally, with its rock bands and its slope, we look for several feet of settled snow as well as stability before opening this area. Additionally, continuous avalanche control work will also dictate what can be opened each day. That being said, since this area faces north, the snow remains in good condition throughout the day and throughout the season.
What are your favorite lines on Steamboat?
My two favorites are Johnny Chutes and Nailers. Both are not on the trail map so you will have to do some research work, but it will be worth it. The Johnny Chutes, who are in the heart of the Christmas Tree Bowl, and the Nailers, who went down two years ago, are skiing and riding in the true sense of a clear zone. Nice long lines with a steep and consistent slope that makes you feel like the only one on the mountain.
Tips for venturing into this extreme terrrain?
“Since this is a double black diamond, extreme terrain, always ski or travel with a friend in case something happens. Know where you are going or not going. Have the right equipment. No matter how tempting, watch the closures because there is always a good reason for it. In this area, avalanche control work plays a key element with open / closed state «.
Terrain options for skiers and riders are either unprepared or not adept enough for this extreme terrain
“For those skiers or cyclists who want to practice or experience this type of area, but don’t think they are ready, I would recommend Pioneer Ridge. Pioneer Ridge isn’t that steep or technical in what we’ve discussed, but it does offer long, natural glazed terrain and holds snow very well. Also, this area doesn’t see the volume of some of our other trails like Shades or Closets. The Pioneer Ridge / Pony Express lift gives you the feel of glacial, rural terrain and is something very different from the traditional cut trails in many resorts.
Where to get more information about Steamboat and Limousine
For more information on skiing and snowboarding in Steamboat, Colorado, visit the Steamboat website and limo lux Denver limo. There you will discover more about the nearly 3,000 acres of skiable area, more than 160 individual runs, the elevator system, terrain parks and much more. You can also buy lift tickets and book accommodation, of course.
Patrols and locals reveal the best extreme sports of skiing and snowboarding in their resorts
Do you want to learn about other ski touring spots? Check out our picks for the best ski and snowboard back country resorts to find more destinations for expert skiers and snowboarders. And if you’re not sure what exactly back country skiing means and riding off-limits to ski resorts, our Back country Skiing and Snowboarding story can help. Also, if you are going skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling or doing any other sport in the field when the snow covers the mountains, read our tips for surviving an avalanche. The article lists online and other sources where you can learn from the experts about the skills needed to stay away from avalanche prone areas and tips that can help if you get caught in an avalanche.