Who says you can’t have it all?! Today, Steamboat proves the skeptics wrong.

Wind screamed through the Yampa Valley in the wee hours of the morning, delivering a winter storm that we’re on alert for all day. I woke up to rain pitter-pattering my cabin’s metal roof. By the time sun broke the horizon, raindrops had transformed into snowflakes. Actually, those first flakes were more like fist-sized snowball asteroids hurling out of the sky. The snowflakes were gigantic.

Incoming: Snowflakes or space junk?!

Of course, those monster flakes turned my skier frown upside down.

I bundled up and headed for the mountain. Descending from my higher-altitude home into the valley, conditions veered toward snrain — that unscientific status that is more snow than rain (The snowier side of sleet?) but decidedly wet. There was trepidation at the gondola base.

But that’s when you realize how psyched you are to rise above it all while wrapped in the cocoon of a dry gondola car. Popping out at Thunderhead, it’s just snow, snow, snow up top. And the higher you go, the better the snow.

Snowing on Storm Peak

There’s some water content (Yay for the Yampa River!) in this dump. As the grinning guys wrapped in plastic said when we boarded Storm Peak, “Prepare for everything!” Cover every inch of your face and put on your squeegee gloves — your goggles will thank you.

The wet/frozen goggle challenge

The rewards are sweet, especially if you stay on the top half of the mountain. Visibility is limited, but the snow up high is forgiving. It’s skiing like buttercream frosting off Storm Peak and all the way down Rainbow. You’re going to have fresh tracks all to your lonesome self up there as long as the murk continues to scare away fun seekers at the base. The snow is piling up: 2 inches and climbing.

With a new blanket of snow, the trees are looking especially inviting in today’s low-light storm.

Fresh tracks in the aspens

Bundle up. Thank your lucky stars for the invention of waterproof fabrics. And go get some spring freshies!


Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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