Wildflower season is here. Many believe this year’s wildflowers will be an incredible display of color and abundance. I’ve already seen Columbine and Paintbrush growing in numbers and in places I haven’t seen for at least sixteen years. I can’t remember ever seeing entire hillsides filled with Columbine’s blue and white blossoms, where there are too many to count, but it is happening this year. Any photo I’ve tried to take does not do any justice to these wonderful displays of light and color. So perhaps, this week’s photo will provide a little nudge to go for a slow hike instead of a fast bike ride. Take the time to see what you might normally miss. Enjoy a pace of wildflower petals slowly opening to sunshine.
Quote of the Week: “Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” Georgia O’Keeffe
Monday morning and the weekend’s are so hard to let go of. It is heartbreaking to think of our summer gear sitting all lonely and by themselves. Mountain and road bikes hanging in the gear shed, dusty hiking boots all alone in the garage, tents and packs idyll in their storage boxes, maps folded and stacked on a table… All waiting until next time and so are we. Make your next time soon. Start formulating a plan to escape early in the day. Take full advantage of these days beginning with an early sunrise and ending late into the evening. Plenty to do with plenty of daylight to get western. Above: Ski Haus employee, Mike McCoy, on a flowy section of Creekside Trail. Steamboat Ski Area.
Quote of the Day: “Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” Russel Baker
It’s no secret that this past May was a record setter for rain, snow, hail, sleet, and grapple. After the dry months of January, February, and March everyone’s seasonal clock became skewed. When May rolled around it felt like we should have been well into Summer. Our internal clocks had us a couple months ahead of schedule and lots of folks were super antsy to get mountain biking and then the May monsoons hit. Mountain bikers could only watch and wait as their trails turned into running creeks and mud. Attitudes suffered. Tongues were continually being bitten. Ouch. And then the sun came out and the trails have firmed up. Mountain bikers are smiling and climbing and descending and back onto their element… singletrack. Above: Ben Brodsky and Adam Hartsein on Rustler’s Ridge.
Photo: Doug Steadman
Quote of the Week: “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” Mahatma Gandhi
There are places that feel comfortable and familiar. They feel like home. For many of us the mountains are such a place. As night falls and birdsong fades and the stars come out and it is incredibly quiet with the sounds of the wind through the pines, cascading water, cracking and popping wood in the campfire and heartbeats and breathing… If you are lucky you will find yourself disconnected from the concerns of a world left behind and connected to a centuries old rhythm. It doesn’t take long for this cadence to take hold. The cadence of mountains lit by starlight…
Quote of the Week: “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” Vincent Van Gogh
Water. Saturated ground. Trails that look like running creeks. Mud. Rain. And snow and sleet. This describes our May pretty accurately. And for anyone who has lived in the West for very long knows we’re loving our current weather pattern. Most will hate to see it end because in the arid west, when it only takes a few days of heat and wind, to wipe out a month’s worth of moisture… the water is here today… gone tomorrow. Some of our seasonal creeks had dried up early in April and our summer was looking bleak. Our snowpack was just soaking into the ground rather than “running off.” But today those same creeks that had quit running are back and looking good. Sure, there is always some who grumble about the weather and complain there is nothing to do. But if you take advantage of the day you are given rather than sitting on the couch wishing for a day that isn’t… It’s time to lace up the waterproof boots, pack the goretex jacket and pants, make sure your pack has a raincover and go for a hike. Press your luck against a weather sucker-hole and sneak in a road bike ride. Read a good book. Enjoy the mountains in the rain…
Quote of the Week: “There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.” Salvador Dali
This pretty much sums up the month of May in Steamboat Springs. As the mountain bikers have been waiting on singletrack to firm up and dry out the roadies have been out dodging thunderstorms and snowstorms. The great thing about changing weather and ominous clouds is they are the perfect moto-vator for speed! My philosophy is to ride as fast and as far as I can, look up and see what the clouds say, and that will determine what kind of effort needs to be given to get home. Hup! Hup! The clouds are moving in again!
Quote of the Week: “If everything seems under control, you are not going fast enough.” Anonymous
Our own Kevin McGarity sent us this picture from his Utah climbing trip. Kevin wrote, “Me on top of ancient art in the Fischer Towers! Hope everything is going well in Steamboat, having a blast in the desert. See you soon!” We know Kevin will be back but on the other hand having a blast in the desert has lead many folks to disappear into leading a redrock life. We’ll keep you posted with Kevin’s next update.
Quote of the Week: “Wilderness. The word itself is music.” Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
Gratitude fills the soul through many paths and circumstances. For those who live in the rural west – snow and rain are wonderful reasons to be thankful. We feel grateful for every snowflake and raindrop that hits the ground. Recently, northwest Colorado has had some very nice showers roll over the mountains of the Park Range. Thunder rolls from the dark clouds and rumble our valleys with sound. Gray curtains of rain hide the mountain’s contours of slope and the progress of the shower can be seen as it sweeps through the forest like a ghost… Gusts of wind bring a sudden drop in temperature. Big fat drops of rain hit the ground with wet slaps and little pops of dust rise from the dirt until it all becomes a bit overwhelming. The senses can’t take it all in so in its place… gratitude for rainbows dripping color.
Quote of the Week: “I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” Brene Brown
When it’s mud season in the mountains there is a very predictable exodus of a mountain town’s population. They are in search of warmer climes, sunshine, and a change of scenery. Our own Kevin McGarity, was able to put together a few nice days down in Eldorado Canyon near Boulder, Colorado to do some climbing. It’s amazing what a few days away from our own Yampa Valley can do for the soul. It is pretty satisfying what even a little road trip, combined with some physical exertion, and south facing rock can do for the psyche. Here’s to renewal, becoming re-energized, and refreshed!
Photo: Dan Kohler
Quote of the Week: “One can make a day of any size, and regulate the rising and setting of his own sun and the brightness of its shining.” John Muir
The tiniest of moon slivers slowly sets into the West. Twilight. Darkness. Night. Such a wonderful time to be looking up.
Quote of the Week: “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.” Vincent Van Gogh
When it comes to the end of the day, when the winds calm and the songbirds slowly fall into quiet, the sky gives way to a brilliance of color. Shadowless color fills the valley as does the sound of a day ending. Small critters burrow away, the owls hoot, nighthawks take to wing, melting runoff from scores of seasonal creeks fill the valley… and all is good with the day.
Quote of the Week: “Keep looking up! I learn from the past, dream about the future and look up. There’s nothing like a beautiful sunset to end a healthy day.” Rachel Boston
Ahh, Spring. What is it about backcountry skiing when the alpine breezes are blowing warm, the sunshine is piercing an incredibly blue sky and the snow… the snow is perfect corn? Days like this aren’t incredibly rare but they are always incredibly memorable. The wonder is how days like these never stop helping us appreciate the place we are lucky enough to call home. Retired Ski Haus Repair Shop Manager, Michael Paul and current Ski Haus staff member Kevin McGarity, found such a day last week on up in North Routt County. You can’t imagine better days like these, or if you can, then living your imagination is a pretty great thing indeed.
Photo: Kevin McGarity
Quote of the Week: “It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” Mark Twain
This is what no wind looks like. This photo symbolizes the beautiful days we’ve been having recently. Warm. Blue skies. Little to no wind. Glorious. Unless, of course, you’re looking for beautiful days filled with a little snow squall here and there, a Spring rain shower, and some wild weather with low hanging clouds and wind. Well, no matter which way your windmill points it’s hard to have it all so enjoy the beautiful days you’re given and find adventure in each one of them.
Quote of the Week: “Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth.”
“What giants?” Asked Sancho Panza.
“The ones you can see over there,” answered his master, “with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long.”
“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”
“Obviously,” replied Don Quijote, “you don’t know much about adventures.”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
Well, it’s never a bad day but the first road bike ride of the season always arrives with a little melancholy feel to it. The fact the local Nordic Touring Centers are closing for the season has forced me to top off the tires, find the bike shorts and helmet, and throw a leg over the Cervelo and go for a spin. This winter I really tried to ski every chance I had. I didn’t want to give up skiing. And as our mild winter transitioned into an early Spring I’d see roadies out logging the miles as I’d head out for another skate ski. When Howelsen Hill closed last week that was my tipping point. Mighty Howelsen Hill is my choice for a hour long lunch break ski and with it closed… Reluctantly, and mostly happily, I went for a ride. I had a slow leak in my back tire from last Fall and after sitting all winter, the tire was flat. The irony! Here I was having to fix a flat before I had even taken my first ride. As I replaced the tube it gave me a chance to think about the past winter, skiing, and how much I miss it during the summer…. Ah! Enough! Forward! Racing your shadow is back! Ride hard. Take your pulls. Ride long. Ride often!
Last week the Lake Catamount Ski Touring Center held their second Fat Cat Full Moon Snow Bike Race of this winter. The top photo is of James Koch, Ski Haus Bike Shop Manager, racing along the top of the Mesa before descending to the Elk Crossing trail. The Full Moon rose over Rabbit Ears Pass in spectacular fashion. No one could have hoped for a better night. Trail conditions were ideal. Temperatures were frosty! And all the riders had a blast during the ride and post race burger-n-beer. Thanks Catamount for the fun event. See ya’ll next year!
Quote of the Week: “We ran as if to meet the moon.” Robert Frost
There are too many great things to list about living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado to say one thing is the best thing over anything else… If that makes sense. But, one of the best things about living in Steamboat Springs is when the skiing isn’t very good then the ice climbing is great. The satisfying sound of thunk thunk – ice tools swinging solidly into waterfall ice is reassuring. The nervous energy of stepping up and onto small talons attached to your boots is addicting. Reaching the top, no matter how long or short a climb is very satisfying. Climber: Kevin McGarity of Ski Haus.
Photo: A kind hiker passing by.
Quote of the Week: “I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.” Leonard Nimoy
Everyone knows what January and most February has been like around Steamboat Springs. It was the driest January we’ve ever had. Thankfully, things have changed the past few days. The atmospheric battle between Sun and Snow has returned and snow has been winning the past few days. Over the weekend Steamboat received around 19 inches of fresh snow. Lets just say the “people rejoiced!” Skiing in bounds at the Steamboat Ski Area had skiers realizing their powder legs need a little conditioning. Backcountry skiers and snowshoers remembered that cold and snow do go together and it’s a great combination. Skate and classic skiers at the track are thinking life is pretty darn good and so are the groomed tracks… Thank goodness for snow in the mountains. Thank goodness for the return of winter!
Quote of the Week: “In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” William Blake
Ski Haus hosted our 8th Annual Classic Nordic Race this past weekend at the Lake Catamount Touring Center. We believe this image sums up the Nordic community pretty nicely. During the race local Nordic instructor Emily Lovett (L), Ski Haus employee Jessica Collier (center), and Judi Hulme from Wyoming (R) skied awesome and gave every bit of energy they had into their skiing and racing. The effort was great to witness and inspiring. Even better is the camaraderie shown post race. Congratulations all around. High fives and smiles. Yeah, this photo sums it up pretty nicely.
Quote of the Week: “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” Michael Jordan
The only thing better than seeing new 2015/2016 XC skis, boots, and poles for next year is skiing all the new 15/16 XC skis, boots, and poles for next year. A few of the Ski Haus crew made the dicey drive over to Copper Mountain yesterday to test next year’s line up of skis, boots, and poles from Fischer, Rossignol, Salomon, Atomic, Swix, Start, One Way, Alpina, and Madshus. Holy cow… so many skis, so many hot laps around the track, so many equipment changes, and only so much time. Needless to say, the Ski Haus crew skied great and went home whupped. Check this day in the win column.
Quote of the Week: “Don’t give up your day dream.” Anonymous
It’s not much of a photo but it shows what several Ski Haus staff members where up to last week. The semi-annual Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City is a maze of manufacturers looking to sell their products and thousands of buyers looking to navigate their way through to find a hidden gem. And one of the most pleasant surprises at the show is the unexpected gift of meeting a long lost friend and discovering the power of friendship can never be lost. Hidden gems take many forms…
Quote of the Week:
There is some great skiing north of Steamboat Springs. North Routt County… a bit higher in elevation, maybe a few less skiers, perhaps an extra touch of wildness. The North Routters would have you believe all the above and I guess we agree since we love to ski up there so much. Our own Connie Lewis found herself up there this past weekend and took this great pic of Hahns Peak from Steamboat Lake State Park. From the park the views are truly 360 degrees of fantastic including Hahns Peak, Sand Mountain, Meadon Peak, The Bears Ears, and a large dose of infinity. We wish the ski day would never end…
Photo: Connie Lewis
Quote of the Week: “Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what’s known as infinity.” Jean Cocteau
The Yampa River flows through a mix of morning light and sky and land… the current meanders around bends and pauses in eddys and takes it’s pleasure in arriving and pausing and departing at its leisure. Ah, to be a river and go with the flow…
Quote of the Week: “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” John Lubbock
“I can see my house from here!” The view from the top of frozen Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Our own Kevin McGarity went up to Fish Creek the other day with Patrick Meyer. Conditions were pretty darn ideal – especially when it comes to climbing ice. Cold. Cold. And cold. Looking down along the creek you can see the footbridge and just up the hill from there is the observation shelter. Just a little perspective for you. Things are always looking up!
Photo: Patrick Meyer
Quote of the Week: “Let us love winter, for it is the Spring of genius.” Pietro Aretino
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Peace on Earth.
Quote of the Week: “I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Ahh, the first full day of Winter is here. And Old Man Winter has come home with a storm that banged through the forest knocking down some tall trees, and howling winds that drowned out our valley’s serenading coyotes, and he left his signature calling card – deep powder snow. Despite the dramatic entrance it is wonderful to have him back in town and we hope he sticks around for months to come. We have big plans… sledding, skiing, riding, skating, snowball fights, snow forts and snow caves, snowmen, snow-women, snow-kids, snowshoeing, ice climbing, and… then there’s tomorrow, too!
Quote of the Week: “You can’t get too much winter in the winter.” Robert Frost
It’s funny being human. And when we can stand back and chuckle at ourselves (myself) it is all the better. After a wonderful start to the winter with incredible November snowstorms, Steamboat and the Yampa Valley experienced a rain event. Rain Event is a meteorological term for disaster. It wrecked havoc on our great snowpack and produced an almost never before seen crust/ice layer. Ok, that was the past and the crust slowly moderated over a couple weeks with warm temps and sunshine. Skiing and riding were ok. Our townsfolk kept repeating to one another that “it will snow – it always does” with a hint of doubt. I heard the tone of concern even from some old timers who really should know better. Without making a short story too long – this past weekend we had a wonderful winter storm roll in. Our crusty icy ‘snow’ is no longer. The doubt has been replaced with a sigh of relief and quite a few “I told you so’s.” And so it is. Fresh snow has fallen. Skiing is back to how to we love it and it feels like a gift. Thank you Ma Nature. We never doubted you for a second.
Quote of the Week: Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.” Voltaire
I never tire of seeing the Flat Tops or being deep within these mountains. The wilderness area that exists inside these crazy mountains gives me solace. I never tire of seeing the Flat Tops because they are ever changing. Light and darkness and shadow and cloud present a new perception of these mountains and often it feels as if I’m seeing them for the first time. Familiarity does not breed contempt. I am familiar with the feeling of something new here and constantly changing. How is it that mountains as old as the Flat Tops can do this? Pretty darn amazing…
Quote of the Week: “Change always comes bearing gifts.” Price Pritchett
If there is one thing we love it is snow. With the Steamboat ski area set to open Wednesday, November 26, 2014 (Scholarship Day) the recent snowstorms couldn’t have arrived at a better time. With great snow falling these few days before Thanksgiving, the townsfolk of Steamboat Springs, are feeling blessed. This past weekend Steamboat has received close to 20 inches of snow. Those who live in Buffalo, NY may scoff but the big difference is we live in a place that the snow is welcomed, anticipated, and fills our days with delight. Ullr has come to play!
Quote of the Week: “And finally Winter, with its bitin’, whinin’ wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.” Roy Bean
Snow is a pretty amazing thing. As it falls it can also pile up. It flies and floats and as it drops it can also rise… and get very deep. It can be wet and heavy or light and fluffy. It can break barbwire or it can make that same wire look soft and inviting. We found this round barbwire hanging out and looking all fluffy and white. Snow really is a pretty amazing thing.
Quote of the Week: And finally Winter, with its bitin’, whinin’ wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow. Roy Bean
What a difference a day makes. Sunday was the perfect bluebird day – even for birds of prey. Often we hear people talking about beautiful days especially when they’re talking about the weather. Well, being in the business that Ski Haus is in we feel today is just as beautiful as yesterday. In fact today is the 314th beautiful day in a row. As of this day there are 51 beautiful days left in this year. Today’s weather sure can be different from yesterday – they’re beauty, however, remains the same. Enjoy.
Quote of the Week: We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. Jawaharlal Nehru
Sunrise over Colorado. How can you not be a morning person? Maybe that is all we need to say about this image.
Quote of the Week: “At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear.” Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken.
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
Halloween is only a few days away. It seems Mr. Poe always knocks on my door once Halloween night is at its darkest. Trick… or… treat?
Quote of the Week: “It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.” Erin Morgenstern
Big days in big mountains. Ski Haus Repair Shop Manager, James Koch, took advantage of a very nice day earlier this month to ride the Monarch Crest Trail near Salida. The day was spectacular. The trail is always spectacular even with Mother Nature and Old Man Winter leaving their seasonal calling cards along the trail. This is the time of year when we start counting the days that are left on dirt. Grab your bike and grab your rides the seasons are a changing. The signs have been sent. The warnings should be heeded. Don’t let your opportunity to ride slip by.
Photo: James Koch
Quote of the Day: Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think. ~ Chinese Proverb
The first snow of Fall fell last week. A few inches of snow coated the high mountains of Colorado. It’s nice to get this early reminder of what is to come. Here is the reminder that winter is not far away. Fall, as much as we wish it would stay forever, will not. The beautiful golds and reds and yellow leaves will give way to a smothering white snow. Here is our reminder that wood needs to be split, garden hoses need to be stored before they become buried, snow shovels need to be at hand, insulating warm layers, hats, and gloves, need to be found for the cold mornings at hand… The to-do list to be ready for winter is endless and winter’s arrival shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone even though it will be. We have had our first reminder. The rest is up to us.
Photo: Shine Atha
Quote of the Week: “Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.” Samuel Johnson, The Rambler
This picture will take a little sound imagination. Imagine yourself standing behind the lens. Golden aspen leaves are rustling on a soft evening breeze. Across the valley a bull elk is bugling. Another one not too far away is setting up a challenge. A third is high along the ridge above you claiming to be boss in his own right. Down in the thick spruce along the creek an owl is hooting it up preparing for a full night on the hunt and then the setting sun decides to light up the sky with some Colorado color of its own. Color below in the trees. Color above in the sky. Color buffeting the space between your ears. If you have been playing along you should be pretty ready to call it a day and get outside immediately. Enjoy Fall.
Quote of the Week: “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” Willa Cather