Monthly Archives: April 2009

Steamboat Springs


Ever since we were kids, DSC_6362we’d read about Steamboat Springs, legendary for its “three-tier high” snow.  This season, Tiffany was able to find good hotel rates for Steamboat Springs so we decided that this would be the place to visit this year.

Mike Germano, an old friend from college who now lives in the Denver area, was able to join us.  It was great seeing and snowboarding with Mike DSC_6403again and I hope we get a chance to do that again soon.

Steamboat is set about 3 hours apart from the other major ski resorts in Colorado, and even then it is about a 25 minute drive on a small country road from Hayden regional airport.

The mountain was impressively large, with some really great runs. Most of the runs were groomed. DSC_6408The mountain as a whole wasn’t very steep, and combined with the grooming and all of the restaurants it was obviously an ideal venue for families. We never went through the day without at least one pit stop at the many warming huts to fill up on good food and lighten our wallets.

Snow conditions were packed powder that was
conductive to enthusiastic high-speed carving.  DSC_6458It had dumped the week before we were there, and it dumped the week after we left, but
we weren’t so lucky to have fresh snowfall while we were there.

The picture on the top shows us posing in front of the trail sign for Rudi’s Run.  We just know that this run must be named after Rudi Garmischt from Hot Dog: The Movie.  How many other Rudis do we know?

Rudi: You people… stay out of our way. You may ski on zat side OR on zat side, but stay out of zee meedle!

Dan O’Callahan: Hey, Rudi, you can kiss my ass. Not on zis side and not on zat side, but right in zee meedle!


156,506 vertical feet in 6 days


Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has a promotional program called the Vertical Foot Club. People who sign up at Guest Services and successfully ski or snowboard 100,000 vertical feet in one week receive a certificate and one day’s free ticket for the following season. Lately, this is nothing to sneeze at because ticket prices are approaching $80.web

This year, I went with just Ryan. Paul Burns, who was planning to come, stayed behind to prepare for his Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant’s exam.

The first two days, it snowed at the top of the mountain, with a great deal of wind. The new tram’s digital windspeed meter recorded 50 mph of continuous lateral wind. While we were
web_1enjoying the rapidly depleting snow on the top half of the mountain, someone we rode up
Thunder lift with suggested that we try the
Hobacks, which we hadn’t done in years. The Hobacks are a large expanse of ungroomed, untouched terrain along the south half of the resort, and are famous for either having great snow or miles of impossible ice formations. We found the snow there to be pristine and spent much of two days on the Hobacks.web_2

As the week progressed, it became warmer and conditions transformed into true spring slush, which drove us to the terrain park. This year marks the first time since the early ‘90s that I have dedicated a lot of time just to the halfpipe and terrain park, and I think we were beginning to see some results by the end of our trip.

On Thursday, we had our 7th web_4Shrimp Festival on Ship’s Prow, an outcropping of rock overlooking Rock Springs Bowl.

We’d known about the Vertical Foot Club for years, but had never joined or even tried tallying our vertical feet. This year, we set out to see how much vert we shredded in a day. Ryan used his brand-new Garmin GPS, a gift from Tiffany, which kept very accurate GPS data throughout the day. web_3From the GPS data, we were able to see how many times we took each lift and from these data we calculated our total: 156,506 feet in 6 days. Our highest total for a single day was 28,612’ on Day 5, and our lowest was was 21,816’ on Day 1. Other interesting GPS statistics: we did 18 Après Vous quad runs, 16 gondola runs, and 12 trams. Our maximum speed was 40 mph and, of all places, this was on the catwalk at the bottom of the Hobacks.

DSC_6698.jpgderivative=medium&source=webThere was only one hitch. We never did go to Guest Services and enroll in the Vertical Foot Club, so I guess we won’t get our free tickets after all.