Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs Springalicious? Did you say, "Springalicious?"
You're gonna have to help me out here. Was that really spring skiing we experienced Sunday? Or did someone rewind the calendar to February?
The 5 a.m. temperature at mid-mountain on the last day of the biggest snow winter in 25 years was 14 degrees. And it hadn't risen out of the 20s on the upper mountain by 12:30 p.m.
I quickly swapped my ball cap for mid-winter fleece as we rode up Storm Peak Express. Whatever happened to skiing in Hawaiian shirts on closing day?
Springalicious my chilly butt, we could have dubbed last weekend: Springfreezurtushes.
As soon as I received the e-mail from Ski Corp. announcing that this year's season-ending celebration would be based on the theme Springalicious, I began thinking of ways to rhyme off it. I could have based this column on spring-fictitious, spring-ambitious, spring-three wishes, spring-propitious, spring officious or even spring-catchfishes.
But nothing quite sums it up like Springfreezurtushes. If you don't believe me, ask a blues singer. Susan Tedeschi walked on stage Sunday with one of those Andean alpaca knit caps with the full earflaps. I found myself wondering if she offered a liftie $10 for it and he jumped at the offer.
I thought for sure Tedeschi would lose the lid when rays of sunshine began streaming down through the feathery snowflakes mid-concert. But the hat stayed put.
Tedeschi took a little time to loosen up during Sunday's concert. I imagined that in her mind she was cussing her manager, who booked her to play the Siberia Bowl on a date when the redbuds are getting ready to bloom in the Smokies.
Four songs into her set, one of the two greatest female blues rock guitarists of our time relaxed into the snow thang, and from then on everything was funkalicious.
The crowd was certainly in the mood for spring.
Ryan Connelly, who came up from Boulder last fall, lucked into the biggest powder season in the history of the 'Boat. He was decked out in a cheesy American Indian headdress, the kind you might purchase in a gift shop at the Black Hills of South Dakota. Kara Givnish and Kyleigh DeMicco looked like twins, with matching snorkels strapped to their ski helmets, bathing suit tops over their winter ski parkas and red plastic skirts.
Some of you may think you're going to escape mud season by hiding out in Baja for a month.
Well, I've got news for you. It will still be winter when you return (if you have the courage to come back).
So, the question becomes, How can we extend ski season? Because I guarantee you, it ain't over. My recollection is that as the last all-time record ski season began to fade away in 1997, we enjoyed some mighty fine cross-country skiing at Dumont Lake on Father's Day.
If that landmark holds true this year, we will be skiing around Rabbit Ears Pass in T-shirts on June 15.