Fast and furious

String of powder days goes by in a white blur

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— It came so fast -- it was a white blur, literally, and when powder piggies finally came up for air Thursday, they needed the calculators on their cell phones to total the snow they'd tracked up in late November and early December.

Steamboat Ski Area reports that Mount Werner has totaled 134 inches of snowfall in the 30 days between Nov. 4 and Dec. 9. However, a more revealing statistic might be the 92 inches that fell at mid-mountain during just 11 days, from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7.

"It seems like the days of old," skier Nelson Carmichael said. "It's nice it kept coming for a while there. Yes, in places it was bottomless. It was always soft and kept building up. It's a lot better than getting 30 inches of light snow overnight on a firm base."

Carmichael won an Olympic bronze medal in mogul skiing at the Albertville (France) Olympics in 1992. He didn't ski many moguls at Steamboat last week.

Carmichael was celebrating the return of cold weather along with the 11-day snowstorm.

"We've had some good powder days the last few years, but it seems like the temperatures have gone up to 45 degrees," Carmichael said.

Carmichael's secret stashes on powder days aren't on the upper mountain. Instead of automatically heading for Priest Creek, you might find him skiing off the Four Points Lift or even on the lower mountain.

"Everyone tends to go to the usual suspects and ski the trees," Carmichael observed. "I like to ski off Four Points in the trees between Twister and Hurricane or to skier's right of Tornado."

Later in the winter, Carmichael said, he'll turn his attention to runs below Thunderhead and put down turns to skier's left of Concentration and Vertigo.

Carmichael recalled that he moved to Steamboat with his family in 1976, when he was about 12. He received a quick indoctrination in powder skiing attempting to follow his schoolmates through Shadows.

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