Ahhh, Mother Nature.
Did you read yesterday’s Straight Talk post? Unfortunately, it will need a little amending.
Gorgeous fall, check.
Insta winter, check.
Amazing early powder runs for the hard-working crews getting the mountain ready, check.
Unpredictable Mother Nature, check.
So here’s the deal: I will always be honest with you about the skiing. I am a powder snob. I grew up in Colorado following my dad into the backcountry, learning to ski more by flailing around in deep snow than carving a turn on packed resort slopes. I like it soft and deep. I am spoiled, I know. Alas, today wasn’t the deep, soft stuff we had been waiting for while digging out our cars, finding our winter gear tucked away in the garage and racing to the ski shops to get our gear tuned. (A word of advice: If you haven’t already, get your skis tuned.)
Mother Nature delivered a doozy of a storm last night in the form of rain, giving us a tricky layer on top of all that lovely, soft fluffiness. It is, dare I say, ICY. Do not get off the groomers, and if you must, do it right under a chairlift so your crash can be cheered from above. Then get back on the groomers, which are improving as the day goes on. There is sun on the horizon, which will help soften up the trails. The top of the mountain is foggy, but there’s so much terrain open that it is worth a tour. Lower mountain is softening up quickly and it will warm your legs up for the true powder days to come. That’s what you can expect from today, straight up.
But there are many other sides of today, and they are also the honest truth:
I love skiing. I love being out in the mountains. I never regret getting up on the hill. I never tire of the views. And today was no exception. It is so great to return to this sport I love, to feel my legs burn, to see familiar places covered in snow — places I haven’t seen since April. At the bottom of every run this morning I was smiling, laughing and so happy to be out.
I wasn’t alone in my good cheer. As we reconvened at the bottom of Rudy’s Run to get in line to ride up Storm Peak Express, everyone was still cheering, laughing and smiling. Some of it maybe was laughing at the not-so-awesome conditions, our not-so-ready ski legs or our not-so-beautiful turns, but it was still good cheer all around. No one bailed, no one wished they were elsewhere. This is what we do in ski season. We ski. We go up and see what it is all about. We go on a little adventure.
It is Scholarship Day, which means 100% of all ticket sales go to support the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s scholarship program for young, local athletes. Scholarship Day has raised over $850,000 in the past 20 years. This is might be my favorite part of Steamboat: the community. It is not easy to make a life out of a mountain town, but it is just a little bit easier in Steamboat because people care so much about their community. So go brave the mountain today if for no other reason than to support your community, the community that you like to vacation in, or the community that you stumbled upon for this Thanksgiving holiday — a community that will work its way into your heart for years to come.
Lastly, I love my new boots. Even though they are UGLY. Thanks Todd L. Fellows for talking me into them. You were right.
Happy 2014- 15 season everyone! Just go make turns; you truly won’t regret it, even if you’re not inspired to ski right up to closing bell.
Ali Givnish, Alpine skier