Tom Ross: Tell it to The Big Blogski

When your love for skiing and riding becomes a compulsion

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Snow is good. Snow is habit forming. We can't stop talking about snow and skiing and snowboarding and Mother Mountain.

If the Inuit people have 40 words to describe different kinds of snow, we have at least 41.

That's why the Steamboat Pilot & Today is starting a new blog that can be found at www.steamboatpilot.com. It's called The Big Blogski.

Beginning Wednesday and continuing for at least another 175 days (the Steamboat Ski Area is already scheduled to close April 14, 2007 - the end is near!), snow will be a part of our daily conversations. Skiing and riding are the only things that keep us sane all winter.

In Steamboat, when we talk about snow, we talk first about champagne powder. It's what we live for. But the term "champagne powder" has been applied a little too liberally for my taste.

I would argue that not every powder morning on Mount Werner is a champagne powder morning.

True, there is no such thing as bad powder, or even OK powder. It's all great powder. But, just as not all champagne is Cristal, not all powder is champagne.

"Champagne," in my estimation, should be saved for the driest of the dry. I'm talking about snow that hisses at you while you float through it.

We need many more words to describe the snow we live with every day. Words and expressions like crud, dream team, corduroy, grapple, wind-slab, diamond dust, cement, pineapple sherbet, buttah, corn, canned corn, frozen corn, corn on the cob. Hell, it's endless.

The vocabulary list begins at "hero fluff," just a notch below champagne, and ends up way down at the bottom, at "death cookies."

Hero fluff is deep powder that has just enough moisture in it to cushion the impact of skiing through even the biggest moguls on the mountain. Hero fluff allows skiers of different abilities to point themselves directly down the fall line and transcend the surly bonds of earth (and other cosmic stuff).

Death cookies will send you down the mountain in search of a hot tub. Death cookies are rogue chunks of manmade snow that fly up and bruise your shins. There is no such thing as champagne death cookies.

We want to talk about it all.

We want to talk with you about powder and about boarding, and skiing and jibbing and carving and nuclear winter all season long. We want to talk about pipe grooming and liftlines and secret stashes and rails and Gate D.

Who are the best skiers and riders on the mountain? If you were president, what would you change about the mountain? Where are the shortest liftlines at noon? Who gets your vote for cutest lift op?

How many days have you been snowboarding this winter? Anyone out there who hasn't missed a single day?

Do you know how to find that secret meadow between Concentration and Mother Nature? If you did, would you tell us about it? OK, maybe that's going too far.

Some of you rise before daylight and dial 879-7300 to get the 5 a.m. ski report. I know you do. No freshies means you can hit the snooze button.

Others of you can't eat breakfast until you've opened the Steamboat Today or logged onto our Web page to see if Steamboat has more snow than Telluride does (Don't we always?). Let's brag about it.

If you are obsessed with skiing and riding like we are, go to www.steamboatpilot.com and visit the community section of the Web page. That's where you can get in touch with The Big Blogski. Let us know if you can think of any new words to describe the snow you carved up today.

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