There was a moment around 5 p.m. yesterday, as I was walking across a parking lot, getting whipped by brutal wind and what seemed to have escalated beyond flakes to giant chunks of snow, that I harbored some serious consternation about coming up here to ski this morning. That storm was fierce – no other way to describe it. Everyone in the Yampa Valley has some version of a horror story about driving home last night.
Now we find ourselves smack dab in the calm after the storm. There are hardly any clouds in the sky to show for the monster that roared through last night. The air is absolutely still. And we have 5” of fresh on the ground to show for it.
What’s my favorite color? Look out your window, Steamboat. That ‘s it: an epic shade of cerulean. And it’s sticking around with some lovely temps in the 30s this weekend. (Yeah, it’s still solid winter here in the Colorado Rockies, despite freakish things like 90-degree days happening in Kansas and California.)
The wind did some wild things up there. Some snowfields are reminiscent of rippled waves and a few mogul runs have turned sculptural.
As I zipped around the mountain, I was unable to come up with a solid theory as to how the wind did its work. The cord is getting softer by the minute, and it didn’t get blown out. Rudi’s, Velvet, High Noon – predictably carvable. My best run of the morning was Cyclone – every single turn was soft and sweet, fresh tracks with not a scratchy surface to be found. The snow’s flavor got a little more complex as I rolled into the next pitch on my way down to Storm Peak Express.
As my compadre on Drop Out said, “It’s skiing like a Twix bar. It’s crunchy and creamy at the same time.” I can’t think of a better way to explain it. That was Drop Out and several other little lesser-groomed pitches I explored this morning.
I’m also quite confident that the entire mountain will be Milky Way by noon.
This is a prime skier’s weekend in Steamboat – uncomplicated by festivals, free concerts, holidays or anything besides hot springs to lure your attention off the slopes. Go big with a night ski or just a leisurely slopeside après ski, since we have finally hit the sweet spot where it’s warm enough to enjoy outdoor beers.
T.G.I.F., Snow Shredding People!
Jennie Lay, Telemark skier