Tom Ross: Spring skiing arrives this week in Steamboat |

Tom Ross: Spring skiing arrives this week in Steamboat

— It would be premature to say that spring has sprung in the Yampa Valley, but there is no denying the chortling of blackbirds in the willows that line Walton Creek.

And the birds have not flown north for a ski vacation.

It came as a surprise to me during the weekend to learn that two friends absolutely despise the advent of daylight saving time, and not because they lost an hour of sleep Sunday night. Rather, they hate waking up in the dark. I think pre-dawn is the best time of the day. And the addition of an hour of daylight at the end of the workday is positively uplifting.

If you're not ready for winter to end, you can celebrate the opportunity to buzz over to Howelsen Hill on a bicycle and ski around while the sun shines.

I hope we have tons of brilliant spring skiing days ahead of us, along with a growing snowpack above 9,000 feet. But spring is apparently in a hurry around here.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is predicting that beginning Wednesday we will see five consecutive days when afternoon temperatures peak at 50 degrees or higher.

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Inevitably, streamlets will silently begin to move beneath the snowpack in the hay meadows, and the blackbirds will begin looking for spiders to victimize in the dead grass.

There are other signs of spring. I saw a man wearing a kilt at the Young (at heart) Dubliners' concert in Gondola Square on Saturday. You'd wear a kilt too if you had dramatic tattoos on your calf muscles. And before you know it, Safeway and City Market will be full of people with raccoon sunburns.

The Colorado Rockies are swinging their bats in Scottsdale, Ariz., and it wouldn't be spring training if the Rocks weren't confused about who's on third this season. Get ready for a young fellow named Chris Nelson to hold down the hot corner come April and the beginning of the Major League Baseball season.

Speaking of baseball, did you see that Sports Authority has an early season sale on baseball and softball cleats? I hope that's a premature sign of spring; if Steamboat's diamonds are playable before May 15, we're in for a summer as dry as that of 2012.

Before they say "Play ball!" Steamboat kids are in for one of the best Easter egg hunts ever, just 18 days away on March 30. Todd and Heather Gollnick, of Steamboat Christian Center, have arranged for a helicopter to drop 12,000 Easter eggs at Howelsen Hill (that's what the email says — not 1,200, but 12,000 eggs).

The Gollnicks' news release did not mention, however, whether each colorful egg would have its own tiny parachute.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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