With the recent blast of spring and the current return of winter, moody skies were felt Wednesday morning in Steamboat and throughout the Yampa Valley.

Moody skies as seen from Moonlight

Several days ago, as the temperatures climbed into the 50’s, I heard that very first unmistakable sound of spring on the way: the red-winged blackbird’s call. As soon as you hear it, a certain warmth enters your soul just as a certain disappointment hits you that the end of winter is quickly approaching.

Frosty aspens lining Sundown Express

However, March can often be a very snowy month in Steamboat, and if the forecast is correct, that trend may hold true this year as well. According to Joel Gratz, we can expect to see some snow here and there over the next few days. Over the weekend, we may receive a little snow from a larger storm tracking south of Steamboat (which could bring some higher winds and may slow some lifts down). The more exciting storm is expected next Tuesday and Wednesday, and likely will bring a more steady snowfall and higher snow totals; hopefully I will be blogging about powder next week! For more detailed forecast information, please visit Steamboat Daily Snow.

Fresh tracks were found especially on the side of the slope, such as Flintlock pictured above.

Wednesday morning allowed for fresh tracks in the two to three inches of snow that fell overnight, which made for some smooth and softer turns on certain slopes.

Quickly moving clouds as seen from Sunshine Peak

Remember that when the temperatures get into the 50’s, quite a bit of melting happens during the day. As those temperatures dip and freeze overnight, the snow can often become firm, especially first thing in the morning. The snow that fell overnight softened up the slopes really nicely Wednesday morning, and while it was not bottomless, I found some nice and velvety turns, mostly on the edges of the groomed slopes.

Sunset views looking down on Thunderhead Lodge and the Yampa Valley below

With conditions like today, holding your edges can really be quite tricky. Of course in the powder you want to lessen your edge control and shift your weight distribution a little further back than normal. On the grippy corduroy, you want to keep your weight forward and really control your edges with your downhill ski. And then on the firm patches, it’s nearly impossible to control your edges and you have to let your skis glide until you find more trustworthy snow. All of these conditions and scenarios were present Wednesday morning, which ultimately kept you on your toes (or perhaps I should say skis) so to speak.

Moody skies may be followed with fresh powder!

As March continues with bursts of spring-like weather and blasts of winter snow, I hope you find enjoyment in variable weather, because after all, you never truly know what tomorrow will bring. Embrace the moody skies of today and look forward to the powder to follow!

High Noon views of the valley floor

Ski and ride with care (and with your mask properly on) and have a great day on the mountain!

Happy Wednesday!

Erin Campbell, Alpine Skier & Snowboarder

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