Morning Light over Sleeping Giant

Happy Martin Luther King Day! We can thank Coretta Scott King and Stevie Wonder among others for fighting to make this day a national holiday. You can enjoy it Steamboat style with the 44th annual Cowboy Downhill race on Stampede at 1 p.m. today.

Ace and Colt from Texas fueling up for the race

Started by Olympian Billy Kid and championship cowboy Larry Mahan more than 40 years ago, the raucous, reckless Cowboy Downhill is always entertaining. A group of fearless cowboys from the pro rodeo circuit don colorful chaps and cowboy hats, strap on skis and boards and barrel down the front side of the mountain, crashing gates and launching jumps at top speed. See this video from 1982.

Colorful chaps outside Gondola Joe’s
Justin Hathaway, a bull rider and skier from South Dakota enjoys a coffee

Some of the cowboys are skiers, but many are just hitting the slopes for the first time, often with their only guidance being to point their tips down the mountain and launch when they get to the jump. The carnage and chaos are half the fun.

Festivities will start with a 4-H petting zoo at the base at 11 a.m. and wrap up with Waterloo Revival playing the first first free concert in the Bud Light Rocks the Boat concert series.

Misty clouds make for a pretty winter scene off Sunshine Peak

If you are heading up skiing this morning, it’s chilly with light winds and a mystical cloud layer blanketing the upper slopes. Gators, low-light lenses and an extra layer are a good idea. I like to hug the treeline for better perception.

Fresh cord on Cyclone

After all the amazing powder this weekend, I stuck to mostly groomed slopes today as the fresh lines of cord were the softest. The snow on the well-shredded tree and bump runs was a little more set up. If you are up for adventure, and you don’t mind a little hiking, you may be able to find some leftover stashes in less-traveled areas.

Finding freshies off B.C.

I couldn’t resist drawing lines in smooth corduroy off of Sunshine Peak to Tomahawk, Sunshine Lift Line then Rainbow and Cyclone. All were in great shape this morning and felt like a little rest for my tired legs.

We are in a winter cycle with a more consistent storm pattern shaping up. I knew with a little patience and hope, Mother Nature would deliver some snow. Look for the next storm to hit this weekend.

Setting up nets to catch flying cowboys

It was nice to have a little early morning solitude on the slopes, and it had me appreciating the tremendous courage of Martin Luther King and his willingness to stand for equality. It is often the more difficult path to stand for truth in the midst of controversy, and he walked his talk with tremendous grace. There are a few people in our history who truly had the power of the word, and so many of his messages resonated deep in the hearts of the American people and those around the globe. Here are some of his words:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Happy skiing and riding!


Jessica Berg, Alpine skier

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