Let the Steamboat holiday traditions begin. The Sugar Plum Fairy and all her adorable little angels, mice and snowflakes will dance the “Nutcracker” this weekend…but it appears that during dress rehearsal last night the Snow Queen did a fine job sprinkling both the stage and our ski area with a blanket of fresh snow.

And it’s still snowing!

At mid-mountain we are seeing the prettiest kind of big, fat, slow-dropping flakes. They’re lacy, picture-perfect crystals that beg to be analyzed as each individual lands upon your ski jacket.

And the powder prediction calls for a continuous stream of freshies right through Christmas. Yep, a steady flow of snow storms has lined up for the official launch of winter this weekend –  our favorite Steamboat tradition.

Lift attendant at Steamboat

Also, yay for the lifties at Storm Peak Express, who are ringing in the holidays with a Christmas tree decorated with tinsel, emergency tape and broken ski poles. Now its branches are anxiously awaiting your powder-encrusted face shots. Get after that fresh snow, then slide in and see Kelly for a portrait. She’s ready to capture your snow-crusted beards and powder-packed goggles…all of which will be laminated and hung on the tree for everyone’s lift line admiration.

While we await everyone’s smiling powder faces to deck the tree, I vote for today’s snow-bedazzled Buddy Werner to be installed as our inaugural ornament.

New snow on the cord is like butter this morning, and it’s keeping things soft in the trees. Check out the pint-sized bumps on Cyclone today – the soft snow and spacing is just right. Also, it’s still deep in Morningside, which just opened yesterday, so head out back for some untracked trees. 

Backcountry access is closed for good reason – it’s just not safe yet. Ski Patrol has kindly asked for our cooperation and the Colorado Avalanche Center lays out the facts. But that’s a-ok because we’ve arrived at that point on the mountain where you can ski or ride pretty much all over the ski area. Even though the Pony Express lift hasn’t opened yet, you can still make the traverse and hike over there to catch some soft in-bounds stashes – terrain like Middle Rib that longtime locals fondly recall as having been some of the finest easy-access backcountry in the days before the ski area expanded and the lift and official trails were installed. Today, you can earn those sweet turns old-style Steamboat.

Buddy Werner Statue

Today wraps up Passholder Appreciation Week, your last chance to take yourself to a decadent half-price lunch at Hazie’s or do some last-minute Christmas shopping with your passholder discount. (Santa, I have been a very good girl and I’d like a GoPro, please!)

For those who are just rolling into town for the holidays, Sunday looks super fun.  Santa is arriving Steamboat-style on the winter solstice – via the ski slopes, on horseback. Plus, the Face Vocal Band from “America’s Got Talent” is performing, and a torchlight parade and fireworks will light up the sky at the end of the darkest day of the year.

Welcome, winter!

Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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