Steamboat is notorious for its incredible powder skiing, and Storm Peak certainly earned its name for good reason. When winter weather settles into the Yampa Valley, gusty winds and copious snowfall can create poor visibility on the ski slopes. A lot of people head back to the condo when the weather isn’t cooperating, leaving empty runs and deep powder stashes for the rest of us. Here are a few tip to help you make the most of flat light conditions.
Change Your Goggle Lens
The color and tint of your goggle lens plays a significant role in your visibility. A lighter lens tint, such as yellow or rose, will greatly improve your vision when skiing in cloudy, flat light. Darker lens tints, such as brown or grey, are meant for bluebird days, and a clear lens is your best bet for night skiing.
Some goggles are sold with multiple, interchangeable lenses, and most ski shops carry an assortment of additional lenses. In Steamboat, you can also find a great selection of replacement goggle lenses at “Gondola General” located in Gondola Square. Or you can avoid the hassles of changing lenses altogether by simply investing in two sets of goggles: a dark tint for sunny days and a light tint for cloudy days.
Avoid “White Open Spaces”
Expert skiers head for the trees during white out conditions, but not everyone is ready to shred their way through a grove of aspens. If you’re not comfortable skiing trees, just try using the far sides of the run, avoiding the center white lane as much as possible.
Keeping trees in your peripheral vision provides contrast for your eyes to better adjust to poor visibility. When you play the wind correctly, the trees can also offer a bit of protection from high winds.
In addition to better visibility, you’re also likely to find fluffy snow on the edge of the ski slope. Snow naturally gets pushed to the outside of a run as skiers make their turns, leaving a tasty layer of “sugar snow” on the edges of the slope. The edge also tends to get less traffic, which means smaller push-piles and moguls to navigate. As you lay your turns on the edge of the ski run, try linking a turn or two between a few trees on the edge of the slope. This is a great way to safely develop your confidence for skiing trees before you drop into Shadows and Closets for your very first time.