Here we are, reveling in bluebird skies after a glorious streak of snow storms. It’s cold out there, even with an inversion that makes it as much as 40 degrees warmer up on the mountain. As opposed to the -26 degrees I read on my car’s thermometer as I crossed the Yampa River on the valley floor this morning, it was 16 degrees at the base of Sundown and 12 degrees  at the bottom of Four Points.

Heat rises. Follow the sun and stay high on the ski area  today for maximum warmth. I promise, it’s worth ignoring the thermometer at your condo.

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An early ride up Elkhead as sun hits the slope.

Cold temps are keeping the snow dry and carvy. The groomers have turned to packed powder, so they’re fast all over the mountain.  Part of the magic of Steamboat is that once you get on the ski area,everyone is really spread out. I had long, solo cruises down One O’Clock, Sunset, Valley View and See Me this morning. The corduroy was impeccable and so were the views from the Flat Tops Wilderness  to Sleeping Giant and beyond.

The sun is rising fast, and the sky is clear. It will continue to warm as the day goes on. The holiday spirit is strong out there, with skiers and riders from all points east lapping up our winter. I couldn’t help giggling with a posse of teenagers from New England and then a family from Minnesota who were experiencing first-timer Steamboat awe this morning.

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Frosty pines along an empty One O’Clock.

Bundle up in lots of layers. Cover all your skin. Go ahead and spring for a pair of little hand warmers for your mittens. And don’t hesitate to break for hot chocolate because there is plenty of sweet snow to carve out there for everyone today. While you’re ripping it up, have some fun with the run tracker on the brand new Steamboat Live App.

A fresh burst of snow is forecast over the next couple days. Let the pile-up continue. Then we should have a starry night for the start of 2016. That’s all the better for Steamboat’s epic fireworks and torchlight parade on Thursday evening.

As we ramp up for New Year’s festivities, find a little après ski  tranquility while playing at the Tibetan sand painting at the Bud Werner Memorial Library today through Wednesday.  Steamboat locals went crazy for this during a residency with some visiting monks last summer, so our public library has revived the fun to add a dose of bright color to our white winter. It’s an awfully nice place to warm up while you’re perusing downtown, too. There will be chakpurs (authentic sand painting tools) and colored sand available for everyone to try this ancient Tibetan art form while adding to a large community sand painting.

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Steamboat’s Community Sand Painting in progress, summer 2015.

A fair warning to our visiting skiers and riders: Beware the Yampa Valley Curse while you’re down there at the library. Their infamous bumper sticker reveals that it’s not just Steamboat’s Champagne Powder that lures you in.

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Bumper sticker spotted downtown Steamboat.

Wishing you peace, happiness and many sweet powdery turns as we roll into the new year,

Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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