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Another Blue Bird day accompanied by another pretty good temperature inversion. -2 at the Condo and +24 at Thunderhead. Makes for some interesting planning for gear. I usually plan for the top conditions and just hurry from the car to the Gondy. Saw lots of folks that were wondering what to do with all the heavy jackets, etc after reaching the unload station. Just a tip, check the Pressing Glass report for the Mountain temp before gearing up. It always shows the Thunderhead Temperature.

After making a few runs on Storm Peak and Wally World and a break for Lunch at the Stoker bar I headed for the base via Heavenly Daze and See Me. They are holding up pretty well considering the lack of recent snow and the dazzling sunshine of recent days. I cut short the day to witness one of Steamboat's traditions.

Cowboy Downhill today!!!! Most of the Cowboys, and a few Cowgirl Barrel Racers, made it to bottom of the Dual Slalom Course in good order, if one considers lost skis and snowboards as not counting. Falls and spills aplenty after the jump half way down the course. Several more slips and falls in the gates by those who most recent experience with snow sports was via a magazine.

For those of you not familiar with the event, Cowboys and Cowgirls who are competing at the Western Stock Show come to Steamboat for a day of relaxation. The main event, started some 35 years ago is a timed event in a dual slalom course with about a 3 foot jump halfway. IF you complete the course, you must them lasso a female Steamboat Ambassador, appropriately dressed in a Duster and Cowgirl Hat, throw a saddle on a horse that may or may cooperate, and make it across the finish. Time for the best were in the 27 second region and ranged up to 45+ to numerous DNF.

The final event is an all out downhill race with all participants leaving at once, not counting a few who always jump the gun. In past years, they could avoid the jump by skiing or riding around it but this year, the organizers closed off that escape route, requiring all and sundry to negotiate the jump. After about 10-15 made it successfully, the inevitable happened and a mass of humanity and equipment was spread across the hill.

If your schedule permits it on your next visit, take in the event to see some really tough athletes competing in a sport unfamiliar to most of them including a couple of Cowboys from Louisiana who observed it was a little different from Water-skiing. As far as I could tell, all escaped without injury and I suspect they have had much bigger spills from Bulls and Horses not to mention Steer Wrestling and Calf Roping.


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Comment by jg atl on January 21, 2009 at 9:27am
Nice video on SPT. Here' s the link:

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