Last night, I drove home late. Generally speaking, that’s a good opportunity for a powder prediction test. A constant pummeling of fat flakes on the windshield all the way home is a good sign. Significant first tire tracks on a long, pillowy-looking dirt road, a rooster tail kicking up behind the VW — even better.  A little spray over the hood means I’m breaking trail toward a serious powder day.  And the ultimate sign: a white out, where the snow is light and deep enough to fly up and over the hood and make me rely on memory for the last few uphill turns toward home.

Driving home verged on the white out scenario last night. That’s why I found the 3″ snow report at 5 a.m. hard to believe this morning. I knew there had to be pockets of something deeper out there, beyond the traditional snow stake. There were.

And it’s still snowing. We’re officially in the midst of a winter storm warning that’s holding firm through the night. It’s white on white out there — foggy skies, flat light and snow-encrusted trees. The skiing today is soft and super fun, and fast under the freshies. It is destined to only get deeper as the day wears on.

Middle Rib: big pines, little aspens, fresh pow

I went for a nostalgia rip around mountain in search of the deepest pockets of snow this morning. It’s a trail of first tracks I most loved to make in my early powder days at Steamboat.  The top of Vagabond to Surprise — soft and creamy — followed by a couple laps on Pony Express. A hike to Middle Rib is what I loved most before it had lift access; today, via the speedy comfort of Pony,  it did not disappoint. Plenty of new snow softened out the bumps, offering up a long, powdery solo trip between all those beautiful little aspens and towering pines. Back off the top of Pony Express, the short trip down Hitch was like skiing velvet, and I found a lovely stash in the Flying Z trees.

Deep in an old stand of aspens on Flying Z.

A quick trip up Burgess Creek delivered me to a fast fly from Heavenly Daze to Ted’s Ridge, where I was reminded that this is still my favorite last run of the day. It’s soft and prime for long, fresh turns.

We’re tucked deep into mid-January. It continues to be a season for multi-layered bundling. The days are short, so we are reminded to make the most of the light. It feels good in your bones to be edging back in the 20s, riding over some new fat flakes. These temps make nice snow, and the weather predictors tend to agree that we’re set for new snowfall in the double-digits throughout the weekend.

Tibetan prayer flags in the aspens.

Enjoy the long weekend honoring one of the finest men America has ever known.  Martin Luther King Jr. fought hard for so much — battles that are every bit as relevant in the world today. His toil earned you this fine holiday weekend. Enjoy your extra time off and peace and tranquility in the mountains as we contemplate his legacy.


Jennie Lay, Telemark skier

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