We’ve been blessed with another 5” of fresh snow overnight, bringing Steamboat in at a respectable 30” in the past week. To be honest, it’s skiing like an extra fat 5″, light and fluffy, and lots of big, delicate flakes continue to swirl out of the sky.  It is indeed another powder day in the ‘boat.

Pony Express was a lovely and lonely place to be this morning.

Folks around here have been as giddy as the unsuspecting elephants, otters and polar bears who got a freak snow day at the Oregon Zoo this week. Except this is Steamboat…so we’ve learned  to expect a constant barrage of snow, kind of like we’re getting used to moose traipsing around downtown or popping up on the ski area. We’re spoiled that way. It’s a stellar weekend to be in the Rockies!

If pow is what you seek, stick a bit higher on the mountain (although, I must admit that my fresh tracks down Valley View were splendid on the way down!). Vagabond to Surprise was no surprise this morning — always a keen way to start a powder day — plus I got a quick visit with  Ali G, a past StraightTalker who is now teaching skiing (a lucky lesson for you if you catch her!). I skied right past the gathering crowd at Storm Peak Express and directly onto my solo ride up Pony Express this morning. Laps on Longhorn and Quickdraw were quiet, fluffy and untracked.

Fresh tracks and snow-caked trees on Longhorn

Frigid temperatures are behind us. It’s balmy in the 20s up there today. The sun is intermittently peeking between the pines and some high clouds. A foggy layer is lingering, over the mountain, evoking a layer of calm silence. Falling snowflakes persist.

Days like this make Flying Z irresistible. Truth is, that fun run with its open trees, weird pitches and relatively steep drop  on skier’s left at the bottom are my tele turn dream.  Especially with a soft blanket of freshies.

A glimmer of sun through a foggy sky, looking toward Storm Peak

As you ski and ride farther afield, stay aware as you head out the gates. Avalanche danger in our zone of Colorado is officially “Considerable.” That’s orange on the avalanche map. We’ve received a lot of snow and no one should assume the storm has settled in the backcountry.

Looking for a taste of something local and adrenaline-filled tonight?  Hometown adventurer Kim Hess will be at the Chief Theater talking about her quest to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam – that’s a feat that includes reaching the seven highest continental summits, plus the North Pole and South Pole. She’s angling to be the youngest person to finish the circuit, with Antarctica next on her list. Among the intoxicating stories that she’s sure to share is being waylaid on the mountain by Nepal’s devastating earthquake during her first attempt at Mount Everest, then returning to the Himalaya to summit the world’s highest peak last spring. Tonight, Kim shares photos, stories, inspiration and motivation from the five summits she has scaled so far. She’s smart, strong, funny and ever-so-lovely…and I can’t wait to see her knock this Grand Slam out of the park!

Mysterious skies and sweet turns on Surprise

We’re operating under the first full moon of 2017 – the one that Native Americans generally call the Wolf Moon. Give that big bright orb in the sky a hearty howl, skiers and riders. Perhaps she’s listening, which is probably a good omen for all those predicted storms swirling on the radar, because February’s full moon is the Snow Moon.

Ahoooouuuuuuuu!

Jennie Lay, Telemark skier
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