A flat grey day transformed to brilliant blue by the time I headed home at the south end of the Yampa Valley yesterday afternoon. The weather turned warm enough to call the day a spring teaser. It’s still warm this morning, with a tad bit of wind up top, but skies have flipped back to grey with the hint of a storm on the way. Mid-mountain is the sweet spot today. Could the groomers couldn’t get any more fun?

Gondola laps are prime terrain today, while a storm brews over the Flat Tops in the distance.

It’ll be extra entertaining to people watch on the slopes today. School is out for Winter Carnival and there are packs of little rippers screaming down the slopes. I passed wee princesses in ski pants, red capes and tiaras atop their helmets. Bamboo is set and fierce and adorable competition is heating up as local kids prep to race the Soda Pop Slalom down at the base.

If you spend some time lapping Heavenly Daze, not only are you going to make soft, hero-worthy turns, but you’ll get to ride the gondola and absorb all this fun festivity.

Warm weather brought back the green.

During what amounted to a solo lap to skier’s left of the Sunshine Lift this morning, I discovered just how luscious the snow can be once you dip out of the wind. It’s perfectly calm off the top, and, frankly, that means the snow is better down low–especially if it has had the attention of the snow cats. By that I mean: Tomahawk, yes; Quicksilver, no. Two O’Clock is sweet as can be.

Groomed runs like the rollers on Tomahawk are fast and carvable today.

Not only is it Winter Carnival weekend, Steamboat’s favorite holiday, but we’re celebrating tonight under a triple threat: a penumbral lunar eclipse during a full “snow” moon with a near-Earth flyby of the green comet. This cosmic show might be trying to upstage Saturday’s Night Extravaganza—although I’m going to argue it’s really hard to outdo the Lighted Man.

Happy Winter Carnival, Steamboat! Buy your button. It helps support our future Olympians!

If watching adrenaline junkies riding a shovel full-speed through downtown behind a horse isn’t your thing (really?!), this is a darn good weekend to ski the early mornings. With Winter Carnival’s Street Events happening downtown and all around historic Howelsen Hill (the little mountain with the big ski jumps), you’re destined to have a particularly peaceful experience on Steamboat’s big ski hill. But if you do head down to check out the creative snow sculptures and cheer on some skijoring, I recommend angling for the coolest seat in town—Steamboat goggles on the street side and cozy snow couch with beverage holders on the sidewalk side.

Functional art: a Winter Carnival snow sculpture couch, complete with drink holders.
Steamboat’s goggle couch snow sculpture offers prime Winter Carnival viewing.

Winter Carnival says it best this week: Take me to the mountains!

Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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