Start your engines, skiers and riders! There are a couple inches of fresh up there on the mountain and the local giddiness of Steamboat Springs’ Winter Carnival is about to converge with the global mania of Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Add this weekend’s predicted 12-inch powder day to the mix, and it will be Steamboat’s ultimate trifecta.
Both Winter Carnival and the Olympics kick off with ample pomp and ceremony during the coming week. There will be mini princesses from Soda Creek Elementary School wearing crowns in Olympian Hall while international athletes hoist more than 90 flags in Pyeongchang’s new Olympic stadium. We’ve got the Lighted Man; they’ve got the Olympic torch. We’ve got skijoring on Lincoln Avenue; they’ve got the K-120 hill. Everybody’s got pins.
Much to our glee, the number of fireworks per capita might rival one another for a single night in Steamboat vs. South Korea. And no matter which side of the planet you’re on, everyone will be rooting for winter. Let it freeze. Let it snow. The groundhog saw his shadow, so let the games begin.
The forecasters are saying that we’ve got a long trajectory of fresh snow on the horizon for February. That’ll make it all the better to put your inspiring nights of TV-filled Alpine turns to practice. Today, you can lay down the slalom turns on a mighty fine layer of freshies. Two inches of snow made an enticing blanket for Mount Werner. That low-viz cloud that locked everyone in yesterday has lifted to a light cloud layer at the top and flakes are falling from the sky. Meanwhile, the turns are soft and buttery all over the mountain. It’s skiing fast, too.
West Side was so perfect I had to lap exactly the same shot twice. I started with a cruise from the top of Three O’Clock, down High Noon all the way to a speedy drop down West Side. On the other side of the mountain, Rainbow is a scream and the mini-bumps on Sideburn are soft and manageable. The snow feels especially nice in that mid- to upper-mountain zone.
While Steamboat’s 15 local Olympians set out to win medals and set new records, it’s noteworthy that we’re setting the record straight back home. Our small-but-mighty, city-owned Howelsen Hill — that humble stretch of steeps rising with ski jumps from the Yampa River — was officially declared America’s oldest operating ski area this week. Yep, just another reason we’re Ski Town, U.S.A.®
Get out your rockin’ cowbell. We’ve got a boatload of winter games to cheer about!
Jennie Lay, Telemark skier