Steamboat Springs Decades ago, a group of excited skiers in their teens and early twenties hiked up the backside of Storm Mountain from Rabbit Ears Pass. They had waited for early spring when a layer of crust made for easy skiing. They raced each other through trees that would someday make way for groomed runs.
"We would ski for hours and then hope that we came out in the right rancher's corral," said Loris Werner.
In the late 1950s, the mountain saw its first bulldozer in the area that is now the site of the Christie III lift. Four years and 11 land acquisitions later, ranch land and forest was cleared for the lower mountain runs of Vogue, See Me and Voodoo.
The first cuts spread like cracks in glass up the mountain, forming Heavenly Daze, Vagabond and Concentration.
Then crept up the mountain to Four Points. Gordy Wren, Marvin Crawford and John Fetcher named all the first trails.
Four Points was named after Fetcher and Wren spotted a four-point buck while searching for an upper terminal site for the Four Point lift.
As the mountain grew from a handful of runs to a mountain of runs, trails were named in such a way that monuments were laid to those people Steamboat should never forget, history was recorded and jokes were told.
Those who venture into the resort's terrain park won't soon forget the name "Bashor," but few will know the story of Carl "Shorty" Bashor, the run's namesake.
Bashor's family owned the property that the run crosses.
"He had a makeshift ranch back up there," Werner said. "He was a little short guy, a midget actually. He was a funny little guy."
Bashor was too short to drive so he hitchhiked everywhere, Werner said. He took rides from pickups and always rode in the back.
"You'd pass a truck on the road and see Shorty's head sticking out," Werner said. The ski resort purchased the Bashor property for $7,000 in 1964, a year after Shorty Bashor died.
Like Bashor, much of the mountain was named for early settlers, developers or long-time employees.
"Buddy's Run" was named after Loris Werner's brother, Olympian Buddy Werner, who was killed in an avalanche in Switzerland in 1964 and for whom the mountain was named in 1965.
"Ted's Ridge" was named for longtime cowboy and slope maintenance employee Ted Cordova. Cordova drove a groomer in the winter and a bulldozer in the summer.
"He probably worked on 85 percent of the trails and lift terminals on the mountain," Werner said.
"Rudi's Run" was named for Rudi Schnackenberg who worked for a number of years at Howelsen Hill, Werner said, and then came over to the Steamboat Ski School when the mountain first opened.
"He worked for me as a supervisor until he passed away from a heart attack," Werner said. "Rudi's Run" was named after Schnackenberg's death.
"It used to be Central Park," Werner said, "but Rudi worked out of the Thunderhead office so we thought it was appropriate."
"Huffman's" was named in honor of longtime ski patroller Garry Huffman who died in 1981.
"Huffman was working for TIC when we were first putting in the snowmaking. He was run over by a Cat," Werner said.
"Jess' Cutoff" was named for Jess Brenton.
"Jess was an old timer," Werner said. "He cut most of the lower trails like See Me and Voo Doo back when the trees were being cut and stumps and rocks were dozed."
Many of the other trails were named with common themes in mind to make it easier to remember where you've been.
Those on Sunshine Peak are named after time references. For example, High Noon, One O'Clock, Two O'Clock and Three O'Clock are trails named for the hour at which they are hit by the sun. Rolex, because of its northern exposure, made it a premium run in an area of time themes.
"Rolex" got its name because of the quality of the run, Werner said. "The Rolex brand is a known quality."
Rolex management was more than happy to lend its name to the black diamond run.
"They came out for the grand opening and skied it with four feet of powder for the ribbon cutting," Werner said. "Things really worked out well with it."
In 2001, the resort installed the longest superpipe on the continent near Bashor and called it Mavericks. It was named after Steamboat's Western Heritage, the culture of free riding, and a legendary big-wave break in California.
Nature named much of the mountain for the early developers and continues to inspire names as the resort fills out.
"Elkhead got its name while we were looking in the Priest Creek area," Werner said. "There was this hole in the snow and we were wondering what it was. When we looked, we saw an elk head that hunters left behind and coyotes had been eating."
Not all the names have been officially recorded, but longtime locals probably know certain areas by the names Dead Man's Curve, Squid, Spilt Rocks, Sun Dog, Art's Stash, Castles, Killer, Muskrat Alley, Twistercane, West High Noon, LA Freeway, Land of the Little People, Seven Turns, 1:30, 2:30 and Sideburn.
The "Closets" area got its name from the locals, Werner said.
"It was closed but they would ski it," he said.
Other runs and how they got their names:
n Nelson's Run is named for freestyle skier Nelson Carmichael, six-time U.S. champion and Steamboat Springs' native, after he won the bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. Nelson was the first Steamboat Olympian to medal in the Olympics.
n Burgess Creek is named after Perry A. Burgess, 1875 homesteader and one of the early founders of Steamboat Springs.
n Spike was named when Loris Werner ran into a spike elk while searching for a trail location in 1982.
n Routt County ranch brands were used to name lifts and runs including WJW, Bar-UE, Flying Z and Triangle 3.
n Ski Patrol Director John Kohnke, then a lift operator, named Daybreak in a 1974 contest. Nearly 10 years later, another patroller, Matt Newman named Between in 1983. Ski patroller and trail crewmember Wes Richey, who helped cut the line, named Sundown.