Champagne powder strikes twice in two weeks

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— Mount Werner became a powder hound's Mecca Wednesday with many locals turning a blind eye to work and focusing on what had brought them to Steamboat in the first place.

"The closer you got to the mountain, you got this energy. Everyone was migrating to the base of the mountain," said Cathy Wiedemer of the public relations department at Ski Corp.

"It was a classic champagne powder day," she said.

The previous powder day that occurred a week ago caught many by surprise and left them disappointed after they learned they had missed prime conditions that some said had not been seen in years.

They were not about to let the opportunity slip by twice.

Gable Richardella, ski instructor, said the Gondola Plaza and parking lots were packed at 8:30 a.m. He said the morning rush calmed down after many locals left mid-morning to get to work.

"The gondola line was the biggest I've seen this year," he said. Richardella said the many untracked ski runs and deep snow was tempting enough for most Steamboat residents to take the day off to ski.

John Withey went snowboarding with his friends for the day. He said he and his friends work at night so they can board during the day.

"It was a really good day. A lot of locals were out," he said.

Stephanie Ruda, who moved here two months ago to snowboard, also took advantage of the fresh snow.

"I was just lucky it was my day off," she said.

Brian Smith, a teacher and wrestling coach at Lowell Whiteman, went skiing with students and teachers at Whiteman after the school declared a "powder day."

"It's nice to have a break during this time of the school year. We have a pretty heavy load," he said. Smith says that the school allows two days off a year for powder days and that students can usually get off if more than 10 inches of new snow has fallen. He said that many of his wrestlers said that if any more snow was received they would probably take another day off school.

"There was definitely more locals (on the ski hill)," he said.

Smith said that he wasn't sure how many locals came to ski today but said the hill was more packed than he had seen it before. He said the only people he heard complaining were those people working on the mountain.

"It was amazing," he said. "It was one of the better days I've ever had."

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