Steamboat is reporting 15" have fallen in the last 48 hours - that's from 5am Weds to 5am today - and when I came home from work at 3pm today, there was about 12"  for me to shovel off our walkway (and the end to that, thank you very much, we just solidified a snow blower for the new casa!).

We're in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning that was supposed to last from Thursday to Saturday (tomorrow), that they've now extended until Monday, and they call for another 2-3 feet before then. So we stand to rack up quite a bit more of the white stuff before it's all said and done. And let me remind you, it's only the 10th - so there's already a local's whisper (or louder) of this year rivaling the 1996 January where we got 23 feet. (The Royal We, as they say, since I wasn't here yet.)

It was such a blustering winter storm up there that I didn't brave any bare-handed photography (sorry)... so I'll have to use very descriptive verbiage to fully paint the picture today. Tell me how I do.

We had our favorite monoskier with us, so we (6 of us) loaded the Gondola on the backside at 8:25 and were at Four Points' chair almost first. I caught second chair with Ty Bunner, Craig caught third with Keith. This, after skiing a deliciously untouched, buttery Rudy's Run of course. Imagine a minimal of tracks on this usual thoroughfare, maching down at high speed without any fear of a push pile jumping up at you, a fresh groomer with about 6" on top of it. I repeat, delicious. When the Four Points asked me how I was doing, I couldn't help but tell him, "FABULOUS!"

We headed to Cyclone first. Repeat of Rudy's description, but with about 8-10" on top of it, all the way down Cyclone, down into Drop Out, and as we had planned from the top - take it all the way to the Pony Lift. Since Craig did Vortex to under the Storm lift line, Keith and I were waiting at the the Pony lift for him, with a discussion similar to this: "Oh my god that was so sick!" "I can't believe how perfect that was - I did Drop Out, and it was just like Cyclone, completely untouched!" "I know, I was right behind you, it was as good as I've ever seen it!"  And so on.

It's been warm, upper twenties, so the snow is heavier than it's been - which is just fine, and on the steep runs, it slows you down enough, but not too much, so I pretty much avoided turns on Cyclone except at the very top, taking wide graceful turns just to taste the pow. But at the saddle and up to the ridge above Drop Out, straight it was or down you went.

So, I digress, now from top of Pony Express, the boys went down Longhorn and I went to Middle Rib. They said Longhorn was just like Cyclone, and was obviously the better choice. Middle Rib wasn't groomed, and the push over to it was hard work for starters. The whole way down, I bounced over bumps the size of enormous bean bag chairs, and no thanks to my first session of Pilates last night, my "rudder" leg was completely done by half way down, trembling by the time I reached the lift, my lungs panting from a powder workout. Darn you Pilates!

The best part though, was that there was no one out there. I saw two skiers the whole way down Middle Rib, and there were maybe 5-8 people on Cyclone before that. More would arrive with each minute as usual, but really it was a locals' day out there. The visibility was minimal, the snow was coming down in flakes the size of quarters. It was truly "epic" and we don't get many of those. While there will be more snow tomorrow, the weekend warriors will be out in force... a different story, a different day. As it always is.

At this point - around 9:20am - I was thinking I had to be at a 10:30 meeting, having already invoked the infamous "powder clause" and missing my 9:30 meeting, the 10:30 one was looming. Craig and Keith also had work responsibilities, so we all decided to take the Junction to Flying Z and get over to Storm side to eventually make our way down.

But on the Storm lift, I got the call. One of my coworkers had also invoked. Our 10:30 was pushed to 12:15. YES!

So from the top we decided to check out 1:30 and what a stellar call that was. I hadn't been in there yet this year, and there hadn't been a soul in there in days it looked, the First Trackers had completely missed it (YES!). I ducked in first, Craig behind me, and Keith following... it was lighter in there, and it was knee-to-thigh deep. It floated up around us, creating a tunnel of white in the trees, Keith reported from behind. When we popped out we all agreed - better than Cyclone. Words really can't describe.

Another lap up (Sundown this time), we all set the next sights on Sundown to Ramrod, a group fave, and sure enough, for good reason. The Sundown rocky rollers had at least a foot on them, jumping, bobbing, laughing all the way. Deeper. Down Tomahawk to Ramrod and in and out of the right side pines the snow was grabby, but smooth. Amazing.

At this point, that back leg rudder of mine was crying. And I told Craig if I did another full run it would be the nail in its coffin. So at the top of Sunshine Lift we decided to hit the old standby (12:30, aka BK Trees) and then head to Elkhead for a Teds Ridge lap. Both were as to be expected - deep. No tracks in Billy, huge bumps but awesome on Teds.

I will try to do better tomorrow with a photo or two, or if lucky, a video... but as I mentioned above, there should be at least three more days of opportunity. We're in the middle of a 6 day storm, and what could be shaping up to be a VERY deep winter... so we'll see you in it -

Posted by Andy Kennedy Friday, January 10, 2014 0 comments

Today started with a 5am report of 5", but by the time we racked up our first run - Four Points to Cyclone to Vortex to under-the-Storm-lift-line (newly named the Craig-BumpinJoKelley-Run) - it was probably more like 8-10".

By the end of the second run - 3 OClock to 1 OClock to 12:30 trees - we had declared it upper thigh-high and officially "nuking" (snowing more than 2" per hour).

We were in the eye of the storm. Visibility was 1-2 chairs - "the wind was a-howlin' and the snow was outrageous." The east coast Weather Channel reporters (cough, sensationalists!) have already dubbed this "Winter Storm Ion."

We rallied for several more before coming down around 10:30, including Storm Face to Mustache Meadow to Sunset to Moonlight Trees, divine! And Sundial to Tomahawk to Ramrod. So deep you had to go straight and just leeaaan back!

It snowed all day up there, and according to all those coming down late afternoon, Ion had dumped about 20" up there. It's not supposed to stop snowing until tomorrow.  The 1pm report is saying we've racked up a 65" base already. Killer. Do I smell a rivaling of the famous January of 1996? We just may!

It's supposed to be cold tomorrow, so dress warm, bring a long board, and SEE YOU IN THE DEEP!  (Forgive me if I don't brave the bare hands to take any photos or videos tomorrow!)

Oh, and if you don't have the Alpine Replay app (thanks for the tip Jake J-Dub Wolf), get it. It tallies your vertical, average speed, max speed, jumps, air time, and maps your lift rides and runs - then ranks you against other skiers using the app. Pretty darn cool.

Oh Oh, and props to the Burmans for keeping up with the locals today!

Posted by Andy Kennedy Saturday, January 4, 2014 0 comments

Late start to the ski blog this year, apologies ~ it's been a hectic world in the Kennedy house with a busy month of moving house, but we've managed to get in a few powder days... Steamboat's had a great first month, at this point we've clocked 150" total inches, nearly half of our seasonal average.

Today wasn't a full-on powder day, but it's worthy of posting - a glorious bluebird day after a fluff dusting late last night, and thanks to a chilly week, the snow we got about a week ago is holding up nicely.

We have Oregon guests in town, so despite a full agenda at the STARS office, we managed to sneak Craig out for a couple hours and get an afternoon of turns in. It seemed gray, flat and foggy from down below; the Gondy car dragged us through a layer of pea soup, and we were a little worried it was going to be a so-so day for these guys... but once we hit the top we were pleasantly surprised by the familiar crisp blue Colorado skies - nothing quite like that!

We toured most of the mountain today with Tash and David, from Sunnyside to the Chutes the terrain was carvy and the people were relatively spread out. Steamboat's at max-capacity right now, but thanks to that pea soup layer of fools-fog, the masses didn't seem to be up at the top with us. Instead, every building was packed with 'em, "elbow to asshole" as my mother would say, and that means good money for all the working locals!

Carvy indeed - and a nice layer of fresh stuff in the trees - good for soft landings, no matter what you land on. :)

Ok, here's the obligatory mono footage to keep us real -

And now to talk tech - I was super stoked to be demo-ing a Ride Barretta today from Powder Tools... a 151, 12cm shorter than my 10 year old, 20lb customized Burton Custom that most of you know as "the Captain." The Captain and I have been a good team for the past decade, but I'm well aware he's too big for me, he's being out-done by the new rocker technology, and at some point he's going to delaminate and need to be retired. He's still great for the deep days, but on an all-mountain carvy day like today, he's not. I have to muscle him into turns, and it's just downright ugly on the bumps and in the trees. I am pretty sure I'd be a better rider if I had better equipment... and I'm a good rider.

So how was the Barretta? Fucking awesome. Immediately down Rudy's I was squirreling thru the powder stashes, and all day I was smiling so big about this new tiny board that frankly, I didn't want to turn it in. The great thing about Powder Tools is that your demo-rental costs go towards a new board if you wind up buying. But I'm not done shopping...

When I turned the Barretta in, Vince told me I want to check out the Solomon Wonder. So I think I will. :)

I also scored a pair of new Solomon Boa boots at this year's Christy Sports "tent sale" that I'm also loving, that also are making me a better rider, so combined with a new board, the whole setup fit like a glove.

Ok, nuff tech talk... again, my apologies for missing this month's epic powder days (we've had a good half dozen, and I've skied the best of them, which is about four I think)... but we've got a whole season ahead of us!  See you in the Deep!!

Cheers and happy new year from the Kennedys and the Pilz-Bellis cru!

Posted by Andy Kennedy Sunday, December 29, 2013 0 comments

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