The mountain got an awesome refresher this week with about a foot of fresh snow. I exemplified the most horrible slacker of a Steamboat local and missed completely that luscious return to winter. After a week of hunkering inside my writing cave, I finally return with the sun, relieved to be outdoors on my favorite forested slopes.
I learned a fun fact in the Sundown Express trivia contest this morning: What is the true color of snow?
It’s blue! Which actually makes sense if you’ve ever picked up a paintbrush and started mixing colors. That also means today’s sky is clocking in so blue it’s practically purple. I’m psyched to be back to skiing in all this glorious beauty…I’m true blue to you, Springalicious Steamboat!
The contrast of cool nights and blazing sun during the day have set us up for spring skiing. That means you need to be prepared for a little bit of everything. Hard mornings are for groomers. Soft afternoons are for sinking into the bumps, trees and sidecountry. Conditions can vary in the midst of a single run, so shift your turns into the sun and the shadows accordingly.
Now that it’s the time of the season where I don’t need to rest-stop all that often, I packed in a whole lot of long, fast runs this morning. Knowing that the sun was fierce yesterday afternoon, I stuck high on the ski area, where temps stayed cooler, to start this session. High Noon is carvy cord almost all the way down to Westside. Westside is firm at the top, but sweet perfection by its mid-point. Tomahawk to Quickdraw — buttery in the sun, crispy in the shadows. Up top, Storm Peak Face is prime for a few long screaming turns. Lower Rainbow is sugary. And sweeping all the way across the mountain to Pony Express, the super-long Longhorn is groomed to the hilt with spots of sugar emerging fast; the entire expanse will be soft as ever this afternoon.
Enjoy the sun today. These are prime spring skiing afternoons — make the most of these rare days of the season. The forecast looks like there’s a constant chance of snow straight on through the next week.
Spandex is abundant in Steamboat this weekend with the NCAA Skiing Championships on the slopes. Today, the racers are over at Howelsen Hill skiing slalom. Meanwhile, spring is in full effect here on the big mountain. Free music Saturday continues with another super-fun band out of California this week: Magic Giant plays tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in Gondola Square. Groovy music serves up perfect with a tall, frosty beer.
Yours truly blue,
Jennie Lay, Telemark skier