We seem to have a tradition here in Steamboat of epic powder dumps in honor of our past Presidents. The official 9:00 AM snow report says ten inches up top and eleven mid-mountain, but the chatter on the lifts has rumors of some runs boasting 18 inches of the fluffy stuff. As your objective journalist I invite you to judge for yourself.
[photo: snow-blasted knees on Nelson's Run]
I certainly found plenty of stretches where the powder was piled a foot or higher. Of course it's been a snowy February, so this morning's powder has piled on top of previous accumulations in certain spots for extra deep snowy goodness.
[photo: fresh snow blowing up above waist-high]
For those not so sure what to do with this much fresh snow, I found runs like High Noon and Heavenly Daze had been recently groomed and skied enough even by 10:00 AM to provide carvable packed powder conditions with less of the fluff.
I dug out my snowboard today (a toy I'm not quite as comfortable on as my skis) and discovered an extra benefit of days like this. For any of us who are still learning, this is a day of much cushion and forgiveness. It's like the moguls have their own shock-absorbers. The big rolling bumps on Nelson's Run were definitely forgiving, thanks to all this snow. The steeps are more manageable because all that fluff tends to check your speed a little. I found myself pushing it, trying tougher runs and tighter trees than I normally would. It wasn't always pretty, but I never stopped grinning.
I tumbled head over heels like rolling around in a feather bed. I got stopped in the trees between Twilight and 2 O'Clock and had to remove my board to posthole through waist-deep untracked powder. Even postholing, I found myself slowed down enough to take in my surroundings--in an aspen grove with big fat flakes falling all around me--and that grin never left my face. Those snowflakes are scheduled to keep falling today.
Somebody on one lift ride called this hero snow. If your idea of a "hero" is the kid you are or once were--wearing cape, mask, and underwear over your pants--leaping off the back of the couch into a pile of pillows and cushions, then yes, this is hero snow. I tried to fly a couple times just like that. I tumbled like a ragdoll and came up laughing. It's that kind of day.
[Photo: Presidential powder near Burgess Creek chair]
Happy Presidents' Day, fellow powder hounds. Get up there and be a hero. Cheers,
Greg I. Hamilton, snowboarder, straight talker