Go up. We have an inversion this morning. That means our negative temps at the bottom have more than a few plusses up top: It was at least 15 extra degrees warmer when I checked in with the Storm Peak lifties, and less skiers because those icicle-ridden trees outside their bedroom windows just looked cold.

Go up — above the frozen cottonwoods that dot the valley floor. (Although, doesn’t the Legacy Ranch, home to Yampatika, the nonprofit evironmental ed group that leads cool nature tours around the ski area, look gorgeous this morning?!)

There’s a vast blue sky today, eliminating the fuzzy blanket of clouds that had the Yampa Valley tucked in a mere 24 hours ago. Also, I’ve been stalking all the weather sites and they’re unanimous in that today is destined to be a warm, sunny break from the grey flat light we’ve been experiencing this week. The sun is already blazing. It’s warming up fast. Ahh…real, live Springuary.

Vagabond to Surprise — surprisingly sweet little soft bumps. Storm Peak Face to Cyclone to Drop Out — a ribbon of cord. High Noon to Rolex — sun-kissed and fast. Rolling off Heavenly Daze to a fresh roll on Ted’s Ridge — delicious.

Snow shadow

Generally speaking, I’ve always been an afternoon skier. That’s why I’ve been having an especially great time chatting with early morning skiers this winter, from those crusty old guys who always press glass to first-season ski bums. You know what’s cool about Steamboat? We’re eclectic.

I like to think that all this skiing is a key part of the energy that fires up our community and connects us to so many interesting ideas. Time and time again, we are blessed to have the world dropped on our doorstep – and the audience for these happenings is always packed with skiers.

Last night, veteran Over the Hill Gang (now known as Mountain Masters) guide and Hemingway scholar Nancy Sindelar filled the library to capacity for an incredible literary talk about Ernest Hemingway and the broad swath of travels and travails that influenced his writing. (Yep, skiing is on his list).

Next week, Steamboat’s home-grown astronaut, Steve Swanson, will be back in town to ski with his family, speak at the Weather Summit, and share stories with the community about his recent six-month mission to on the International Space Station.

Re-elect snow button

There’s a Buddhist scholar hanging around with some life and death lessons this weekend. A Malian master drummer is teaching community djembe classes one night next week. And you can bet that plenty of runs will be skied before each of these rich cultural lessons. Chances are,  a few extra attendees will find out about these awesome opportunities over a random chat on a chairlift.

Some of our eclectic habits are a bona fide tradition . On Monday, ProRodeo cowboys from all over the world will stampede into town for one of the most entertaining downhill ski-snowboard-Stetson mashups you’ll ever experience. And on Sunday night, the Balloon Glow will stoke Zen feelings at the base area when pilots inflate their hot air balloons to glow against the backdrop of bright winter snow and a dark starry sky. (I’m thinking this is a perfect evening for a night ski.)

This isn’t some special weird week that Steamboat is putting on for a show. This is the kind of creativity, imagination and enthusiasm we see every week. Go up. Ski hard. Then go out and see what this town is all about.

Also, some exceptional parting political sentiments on behalf of one of my young lift-mates this morning…

Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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