Top o’ the Morningside to you from Steamboat Resort! Happy North St. Pats Day! Spring break is in full swing and the mountain is already in full-on celebration mode.
Did you know that leprechauns are great skiers? They zip through Steamboat’s glades on their tiny skis so fast that it’s nearly impossible to see them. I set out a leprechaun trap last night on Lower Rainbow (of course, where else would you catch a leprechaun?) The trap consisted of a sled held up by a branch to whack the little guy out of his skis and hold him until he agrees to exchange his gold for freedom today. I set out several pieces of candy to entice him into my trap. Excited to get my gold, I set out for the end of Rainbow this morning.
The overnight temperatures were low enough to freeze most of the snow on the mountain. If I wasn’t worried about someone else finding my leprechaun first, I would have slept in and hit the sweet spot of melting between 11 am and 1 pm. Oh well, there’s gold at the end of Rainbow today! Racing down Rudi’s Run first thing was exhilarating. The choppy frozen corduroy was soft enough to hold an edge but still firm first thing this morning. It needed about another hour of sun to be perfect for super deep turns. My skis chattered across the grooming ripples and sounded like static as I brushed through my turns. Wide open slopes and a few other skiers dressed in green had me excited for my lucky find.
A lap up Four Points lift to the top of Rainbow was beautiful as the sun crested the quiet mountain. I skied off to the side of Rainbow at first and onto the ungroomed portion. Bad idea. Wait to ski any ungroomed areas until the snow “turns” this afternoon. Determining when the snow will turn is a bit of an art and a science. Many factors come into play such as elevation, aspect, overnight temps, daytime temps and grooming status. Play around with the compass on your phone and a thermometer today to find out for yourself. You want to ski the snow somewhere between the consistency of an ice cube and a snow cone. Early this morning it was too much toward the ice cube side of the spectrum. More sun time was needed to soften up the slopes.
I sped down Lower Rainbow as fast as I could. I was so excited to see the little guy and have him barter his gold for his freedom. I popped into the woods where I had set my trap and …
the candy was all GONE, but no leprechaun could be found! I was disappointed that he got away with my candy and his gold. He left tiny leprechaun ski tracks and a couple of lucky shamrocks for me to find. Next year, little guy, next year!
Meghan O’Lutterman, Alpine skier
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