This Friday morning, Steamboat’s sky is gloomy. The clouds are hanging low and heavy. You can taste the prospect of incoming snow. It just hasn’t arrived yet — at least as of 7 a.m.

Relax. Breathe. It’s coming! And there’s another storm on its tail!

I’ve spent the past couple weeks in the Galapagos, perhaps one place that pays even more heed to the shifting Humboldt Current than a Colorado ski town. Also, the sea lions are adorable and irresistible — like puppies — so maybe I can divert your obsessive attention off snow for a millisecond.

The puppies of the sea, for soothing your snow anxiety

In addition to being an important weather maker, that highly productive Pacific current is responsible for about 20 percent of the world’s fish stock, including the food for all those rare and endemic species that live on the Enchanted Isles. It felt like home out there on the islands, as the fluctuations of El Niño and La Niña on the Humboldt spark debate as lively as any bar where ski bums belly up.

Apparently, we’re gearing up for a La Niña this winter. No one truly knows what that will mean. I like the analysis that says it’s going to mean BIG WINTER for us in the northern Rockies. Right this moment, we’re under a winter storm warning that is set to linger through Saturday morning. And with a high of 32 degrees and a low of 3 degrees, the air is primed for snowflakes.

Praise Ullr!

Awaiting snow. The Steamboat sunsets have been lurid.

We’re on the final countdown to ski season. Thank goodness because the Steamboat masses are getting restless. The locals are getting bored with their bikes and fat on “off-season” happy hour deals. Infinite sunset pictures seem to be filling local Facebook feeds. We’ve even resorted to blowing up Halloween pumpkins for entertainment — and it’s front page news.

As we hunker in for the last five days of waiting, relax and go see a ski movie, or go do a snow dance to raise money for our beautiful Yampa River. Warren Miller’s latest powder porn is at the Chief Theater this weekend, and it’s also a big fundraiser for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. These are the best possible ways to help burn off some of that gotta-ski-wanna-ski anxiety before you actually get to set out on your boards.

Five days. We’re less than a week away. Let’s just go ahead and call it ski season.

Yours truly, with powder on the brain,


Jennie Lay, just another anxious telemark skier

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