Thursday, December 22, 2011
Steamboat Springs It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Puh-lease. This might hold true for the Routt County Courthouse lawn, the lights hanging over Lincoln Avenue and the bell-clangers outside City Market, but not in the most traditional sense of having a very white Christmas.
Despite valiant snowmaking efforts on the mountain, the start to this year’s ski season has been a big lump of Twentymile coal in our collective ski stockings. We can only hope the season turns out like most Broncos games — with a valiant come-from-behind victory.
If this bah-humbugging sounds Scrooge-like, well, it is. There’s not even enough snow for the Grinch’s sled to rush down and save Whoville. But just like the Grinch didn’t stop Christmas from coming, not having snowfall won’t either. Steamboat’s still about the best place you can be for the holidays, core shots and all. And besides, there are other ramifications of having subpar snow — and plenty of time to think about them without the pressing urge to press glass:
■ Easy driving conditions to the Front Range for kids’ hockey tournaments and a night out in the big city.
■ You can see how many animals our hills harbor. When have you ever seen more hoof prints crisscrossing the snow? The hillsides are covered with them, like some giant game of connect the dots.
■ Two words: Poma Trauma. Low snowfall spells high fear for kids riding Howelsen Hill’s catapult. The springs in the Poma lift stretch more, launching lightweights into orbit — especially at the depression near the “no jumping” sign (as if kids hanging on have any say in the matter).
■ Backyard trampolines are still up, setting a record for doing seat-drops into December. The kids are on it in their mukluks playing seat wars, dead man come alive and crack the egg.
■ Frosty longevity. Usually snowmen here last a week before being covered up. Our gnomish-looking bear-thing has welcomed visitors since Nov. 20. And we’ve only had to replace its head once.
■ Good frozen snow chunks laying around to throw with your lacrosse stick while walking the dog. And without the competition of powder days, dogs citywide are being walked more than ever. It’s a canine weight-loss wonder year.
■ Snow-biking. A month of packed snow has created ideal singletrack mountain biking on Emerald Mountain, whose trails are a smooth carpet of white. Hint: ride the front brake and wear thick socks.
■ Ski tuners are booming as everyone realizes that yes, Virginia, you actually do need an edge sometimes.
■ Our children know how good they have it here. “Dad, this snow is pretty hard,” my daughter Casey said on one recent outing. I’m proud that she knows the difference.
■ Buddy’s Run is a hotspot on a powder day. Usually, that’s the last place you go. I can only think that he’d be proud.
■ Rock skis are back in vogue, like Rudolph’s Island of Misfit Toys. I’ve already been on my Volkl 724s more than the last year two years combined.
■ ’Tis the season to do other things — like cross-country ski Rabbit Ears, bike or jog the Yampa River Core Trail; snowshoe or hike Emerald; or finally take that beginner’s hockey clinic at the ice rink.
■ Our cars have never looked better. Just ask Travis Gainsley, who said his Mountain View Car Wash did 500 washes in five days — most of them because people know that if you wash your car it’s guaranteed to snow.
■ Our snow-blowers are in great condition (and you can get them tuned without adding your name to a waitlist).
■ It could well be “The Christmas Without a Berm.” Our backs have never felt better this time of year.
Even if God is, in fact, a Bronco fan (sunsets are orange, after all), it’s hard to have both a good powder year and a good Broncos year. Perhaps we should all drop into a tele-turn stance and Tebow for snowfall.
Sure as Billy Kidd is skiing today, mentioning a lack of snow will make it snow. Bring it on.