What’s a good snow omen? Ski Patrol on shovel duty at the top of Thunderhead. A line of snow cats rolling into the saddle at 9 a.m.,  still hard at work on terrain we’re anxious to ski. Pillows of snow at the lip of Rudi’s Run, pine trees bearing significant snow loads, and delicate aspens turned thick with crystallized branches.

The forest gets a pile-on
The forest gets a snow load.

Wheee! The gondola is open, there’s a new inch of overnight freshies piled on eight inches over the past 48 hours, and we’re flying down 2,000 feet of vertical fun. Today is the calm between the storms. Also, it’s hump day, so bundle up and get your thigh burn on, skiers and riders.

Cold temps have let snowmaking crank at full speed. That 10-degree thermometer reading in my car this morning signals more good omens for our base. And Mother Nature’s real goods keep piling on.  I peeked over the edge of Rudi’s Run this morning (mmm, looking delicious, but still closed) and Ted’s Ridge (well, not so  yummy yet, and thankfully still closed).

Out of the night: Snowcats still working the upper mountain this morning
Out of the night: snowcats still working upper mountain this morning

After opening weekend on the shorter Christie Peak Express, it feels great to be lapping the long right side of Heavenly Daze. Bitty flakes are wafting through the sky at Thunderhead, and a gorgeous sucker hole of blue sky is opening up there. Lower down, we’re still sitting in a mid-mountain cloud, and the snow guns are raging. An extra soft wiper rag would have helped my goggles this morning.

Looking up! It's the view we miss all summer.
Looking up! It’s the view we miss all summer.

If you’re searching for something free and fabulous to do tonight, head downtown to the Bud Werner Memorial Library. (Yeah, of course, Steamboat’s public library was named in honor of a local Olympian.) Bestselling author Maria Semple will be taking the stage at 6:30 p.m. She’ll be chatting live (with me!) about her new book, Today Will Be Different, which the New York Times just tapped as one of the Most Notable Books of 2016. Her novels are smart, snarky and completely hilarious. They’re autobiographical enough that she’s destined to be a ton of fun in person.

Also, Maria may have grown up in Aspen but this is her first-ever trip to Steamboat, so let’s show her what Ski Town, U.S.A. is all about!

Enjoy the gondy rides today.
Enjoy the gondy rides today.

Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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