This is the end, my winter-loving friends. Mother Nature kept it weird all year, but she has blessed us with a heap of snow in April, including 7 more inches last night. Having finally crossed the 100-inch mark at the top of the mountain (101 today), we’re skiing and riding in fine form right up to the blissful end of the season. Enjoy the last gasp of winter, and let’s ski it out in style. The crazier your costume, the better.

Plus, it’s Billy Kidd’s 75th birthday today! So, we’re easing into the weekend party with fresh tracks, free champagne and cupcakes in Gondola Square. Let the revelry begin!

Birthday cupcakes with skis, as imagined by niece.

After fresh snow this morning, here are a few of the special Steamboat things I’m most looking forward to between now and Nov. 21, opening day for the 2018/19 ski season.

Closing weekend!
Mash together good vibes, free concerts, creative cardboard sleds, ice-water splashes, snow flurries, sunburns and slush, and you get the annual love-fest that is Steamboat’s closing weekend. The hilarious Cardboard Classic convenes Saturday. The Splashdown Pond Skim brings out the daredevils Sunday. The closing concert with Robert Randolph & the Family Band is pure grand finale badassery.

Free summer concerts
Steamboat is Keepin’ It Free, once again, and as we learned last week, the summer’s free concert lineup is already shaping up better than ever. See you under the ski jumps at Howelsen Hill for Keller Williams and Pettygrass with the Hillbenders, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Stephen Marley plus more announcements to come. Heck yeah!

Opening ceremony at the 2017 Steamboat Movement Fest

Steamboat Movement Fest
This is our hometown, homegrown yoga festival. I love a lot of things about this gathering, especially that it’s small and intimate compared to a lot of yoga festivals — practices with 40 people, not 400, and many of them outdoors. The community talks are enlightening, the teachers are off the hook, and after days of grueling classes, we have hot springs to revive your weary bones.

Summer skies breaking through

Literary Sojourn
It’s the best lit fest in the West — an intimate gathering of mega-accomplished authors and book lovers right here in Steamboat. It’s a hot ticket that sells out fast. This is, without a doubt, my favorite day of the year, and this time it features authors Charles Frazier, Tayari Jones, Anne McDermott, Claire Messud, Kamila Shamsie and Colum McCann as master of ceremonies.

Top pick: Trapper’s Lake in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area

But mostly, I hear the call of the forest, the wilderness, the high mountain lakes and the Yampa River. I’ve got hiking boots packed with my books and my yoga mat. My backpack, dog and SUP are ready to rumble.

Summer!

It’s only seven months ’till we’re back to skiing again! Onward, sweet summer!

See you again soon, Steamboat!

 

Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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