Although snow is in the immediate forecast, many resorts are still hurting for the stuff, especially places like Steamboat. So when I realized wow, I’m not going to get the powder I crave as often as I thought I would living in a mountain town, I had to completely revamp my sleep schedule. Early mornings equate to fresh groomers and sunshine in the terrain park, so in order to achieve these things by 8:30 a.m., I had to force myself to lessen the boozing and the late nights partying hard at the bars (even though the bluegrass and the local bands up here kill it every weekend). No more taking shot-skis, dancing wildly with snow bunnies, or even thinking about doing hard drugs in local bathrooms. Instead, I bought a nice bag of local “medicine,” signed up for Netflix, and started watching documentaries on snowboarding and doing arts and crafts in the evenings.
When that annoying alarm clock went off at 7 a.m. the first time, I woke up telling my mother I already graduated and am not going to be late for math class, soon after realizing the only schooling I would partake in was how to finally land a 360 in the park. Even though I still have not accomplished this feat, I have found some things in the process. The morning is alive with fresh energy and a mountain can be at its most peaceful times just after sunrise.
The drive, or bus ride, is actually calming due to the fact that a healthy breakfast and fewer people allow less of a rush on the roads, and in your mind. The people that do come out are the ones who are looking for what you are looking for-fresh snow all to themselves, which in turn allows one to feel more alone and less exposed to the social chaos that a busy mountain beholds. A morning mindset is a crisper, clearer version of the groggy mind that follows a late night and sleeping in. No hangover equals a sounder stomach for trying more daring things, and well rested legs yield sharper, harder turns giving you the power to literally be a better rider or skier.
All these things are just a background thought to the atmosphere. The chairlift ride up can be a frosty one, but breathing deeply with fresh mountain air can really inhabit all of your sensory emotions, giving a euphoric feeling of vitality as you ascend. The sun peeks slightly through the forests and glistens carefully off the freshly groomed crystals of snow waiting beneath the chair. The grooves in the snow point you in the only direction you need to go, which is down. It’s as if the mountain just went to the barber, and now the result is so smooth that it cannot be anything but ultimately attractive to the human eye. Spiritual vibes emanate off of the mountain, giving one a certain aura of happiness in the calm environment. There are too few people to give any sense of cramping, so the ride is smoother, alleviating fear of running into another person.
These moments of morning sunshine and the sense of quiet one receives from the experience is therapeutic to the soul. The cold air zips quickly past your facial features, heightening one’s senses and waking one up to the world, almost as if you rose with the sun and are doing the same work to give the world its energy. By the time lunch hits, you’ve already had a full day of riding and nothing is better than feeling quite accomplished with yourself before the afternoon even has time to take its first breath. Immerse yourself in the brisk morning, Colorado, and milk this precious snow for all it’s worth-or at least what it’s worth to you.
Louie Garramone is a ski bum currently living up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He loves chasing reindeer, doing donuts in the local parking lot, and climbing unbelievably high mountains for no reason at all. As an outdoor enthusiast, he loves nature and has a massive rock collection. Read more about his escapades and natural highs, or follow him on WordPress.