Skiing their passes off: Steamboat’s biggest ski bums don’t miss a day on the mountain
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Plenty of Steamboat locals proudly consider themselves ski bums, skipping office meetings and visits from the in-laws to hit fresh powder pockets.
But as of Friday, only seven could claim the accolade of skiing and riding every day at Steamboat Resort this winter season.
Of those seven, three could actually be tracked down for a quick interview about their perfect records — after they hit the slopes, of course.
It wasn’t much of a surprise when the first call to Charlie Noble was muffled by wind in the background.
“I’m skiing right now, but I’ve got my headphones on,” he said.
This is the first year Noble has never missed a day of skiing — or in his case, Telemarking. He owes his personal record to the more than 400 inches of snow the resort has received at its summit this winter.
“The conditions were great this year,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t miss a day.”
Most frequent skiers at Steamboat Resort as of Thursday, April 11:
• Steve H.
• Kenneth M.
• Jason R.
• Mark L.
• Peter S.
• Charlie N.
• Chantal K.
• Doug H.
• Will P.
• Chad L.
• Mark W.
The owner of Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, Noble usually works night shifts. That leaves plenty of ski time during the day. Now that his two kids have grown older and more independent, he has even more time to focus on the mountain.
To make sure the weather never deterred him, he splurged on boot heaters and what looked like sleeping bags for mittens.
Noble enjoys a good groomer day, but on powder days, he favors the backcountry terrain where fresh tracks are more plentiful. He plans to celebrate closing weekend with a yearly tradition of barbecuing in the out-of-bounds area near South Peak.
It all started with a honeymoon trip to Steamboat for French native Chantal Kane. She spent her 20s in the Swiss Alps but succumbed to the Yampa Valley curse in the ’90s. Her life ever since has focused more and more on outdoor adventures.
Now that she is retired, not even her husband takes precedence over skiing.
“Nobody can have me in the morning except Buddy,” she said, referring to the lucky statue of Buddy Werner at the top of his namesake run.
If it isn’t already clear, Kane takes her passion seriously.
The only woman to ski every day at Steamboat Resort this winter, she has missed only one day on the mountain in the past five seasons.
Not a moment goes by when she takes the mountain for granted.
“Every day I am able to get on the gondola and ski. I feel so lucky,” she said.
With Closing Day quickly approaching, it is with a heavy heart that Kane retires her skis for mud season.
“I’m very sad it’s over,” she said.
Like Noble, it took Ken Mauldin several decades to find his perfect place in Steamboat, or more specifically, on the tree runs near the Morningside ski lift.
“If I get to pick, that’s where I’m going,” he said.
Mauldin moved to Steamboat five years ago from a town just outside Atlanta. He owns an online business training company based in his home state that runs on East Coast time.
“That gives me afternoon flexibility most days,” he said.
Mauldin usually only logs about 30 to 40 days each season. This year, he wanted to change that.
“It seems like a bit of a waste to live in such an amazing place with such a wonderful mountain and not take advantage of that,” he said.
At the beginning of the season, his goal was to avoid making excuses for not heading to the mountain. He didn’t have any particular goal in mind and didn’t track his days until he surpassed the 100 mark.
“It turned out to be more than I thought,” Mauldin said.
With another nod to Noble, he plans to close out the season with a lap on Buddy’s Run and a good-luck tap of the ski town legend’s statue.
For the second year, the resort will hand out prizes to the most frequent skiers during an awards ceremony in Gondola Square before The Wailers take the stage for the free concert Sunday.
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