While Craig gets 80-100 days on the hill each year, skiing all sorts of conditions with his herd of stags, I relish the rare powderdays like this one... a buttery, foggy Saturday with a few old friends. That means my numbers are considerably lower, but perhaps my appreciation factor is higher. 

Craig has had some struggles this year however with equipment failure, and is currently enduring a rebuild of his 2016 Bramble monoski (huge thanks to Kevin Bramble for the premium customer care and attention Craig is receiving!). He's been skiing on one of the STARS Org's Freedom Revolution rigs, ironically what he skied on for 20 years prior... And reminding him why he upgraded to the (nearly) bomb-proof Bramble, as he's replaced 2 shocks now and spent countless hours adjusting and tweaking. I'd forgotten the days of equipment failure ... It's no picnic.

Even though he blew out shock # ? today in the deep, he was still all smiles for this exciting spring storm, and grateful to be skiing at all. 

Today marks 25 years since Craig's accident here in Steamboat Springs, where a wrong-turn turned into a 300-foot launch, fall, and slide, resulting in a helicopter ride to Craig Hospital in Denver, where he woke up after a 3-day morphine-induced coma to a lifetime of paralysis. 

But that hasn't stopped Craig, and today is a perfect example. He skis harder than anyone I know, dedicated all year to staying fit, and truly squeezes the juice out of life to make the sweet orange nectar of his reality! 

We are blessed to have each other for 21 of those 25 years, and to call Steamboat home! 

Runs we crushed in yesterday's storm:
Rudi's - Blizzard -> 4 Points
Tornado/Cyclone - Dropout -> Storm Peak
Buddy's - Flying Z - Dropout -> Pony Express
1/2 Pitch - Nash - Wapiti - Tornado Lane -> Storm Peak
Highline - Flintlock - Sunshine Liftline -> Sunshine Lift
Sundial - Black Powder - Tomahawk - Ramrod -> Sunshine Lift
"T2B" (Top-to-Bottom)

See you In The Deep!

Posted by Andy Kennedy Sunday, March 28, 2021 0 comments

Today inspired me to get back into documenting our powderdays in the 'Boat! It was arguably the best day all year (of which I've only had 6 days to Craig's 63, but he agreed!), with over a foot of new snow that mostly fell since the early hours this morning. 

At 6am I checked the infamous stick (get the Steamboat app), and it was pretty congruent with the report - 2" at mid-mountain, 5" at the summit. It was snowing, however.

I went back to sleep. 

My husband was rustling around at 7am and so I glanced one more time at the stick. Was that 6" and 8"? I wasn't motivated. But it's been weeks since I've snowboarded (powder-snob) so I thought... hmmmm.

At 7:20 I checked again. 8" and 8" and still snowing. I was up and driving out by 7:30. Now I was motivated.

It was a good choice. It just kept hammering all morning, and Ramrod was perhaps the best I've seen it all year with over a foot on it by the time we hit it at 9:40 or so. By then, we'd had 3 monster runs and face-shots galore. 

Our adventure consisted of:
Storm Peak
In between trees
Storm Peak
Storm Southwest to 
Moonlight trees
Block Powder
Buckshot trees
South peak
Heavenly daze
Ted's Ridge
Giggle Gulch
Short Cut

And we were done by 10:15. 

All in all, a great day on the hill. 

Hopefully I can stay motivated to keep documenting our powder days... because it's a really great place to live, and an even greater place to ski.  

Posted by Andy Kennedy Saturday, February 27, 2021 0 comments

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

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