“What does blue sky look like? I forgot.”
“Maybe we’ll see the sun tomorrow.”
“I kind of wish it would stop snowing.”
“Did you check the PowCam this morning? No? Neither did I—it doesn’t even matter.”
“The lifts stopped? Because of snow??”
Too much snow, not enough bluebird days, and ski operations shutting down from snow-related risks. These are generally not opinions or experiences we share in Colorado, but there is a first time for everything.
According to On The Snow, CBMR received just over 130” of snow last season. This season? We’re already 240”. Let that soak in for a bit—half way through the official season (meaning CBMR is actually in operation) and we’re utterly crushing last year’s totals. So, what does this mean? Or what has it meant?
First and foremost, the stoke level has been on 11. There is always a sense of pride and ownership with those of us fortunate enough to call the Gunnison Valley home, but now there’s even more. CBMR has always been known for it’s technical, challenging, and steep terrain, but compared to other spots in CO, it usually doesn’t stack up with regards to snow. This year, we have it all.
Throughout the historical storm system—snowpocalypse—snowmaggedon—good ol’ fashioned blizzard—whatever it is you want to call it, the valley fell into a bit of a routine. As outlined in the Denver Post’s article “Ski. Shovel. Repeat. Just Another Day in Crested Butte’s Snow of a Lifetime”, we did just that—wake up, shovel and/or ski, repeat—for weeks. Check the Pow Cam? Nah—it was just assumed that there would be a fresh 6-10” (sometimes 12”+) every day. Those of you obsessed with checking your local snow report first thing in the morning can understand how absurd that is—how spoiled this season has made us.
I could try to explain the scenery and skiing, but I’d rather just share a few photos from the experience.
Of course, this type of storm cycle has its logistical issues—most specifically safety and general day-to-day life. This doesn’t just mean safety on the mountain, either. The amount of snow that fell in the Gunnison Valley truly inundated us hardy, winter-ready folks who call this wonderland home. Those offering snow removal services made a killing. The Rural Transportation Authority bus drivers deserve awards for their service—this cannot be emphasized enough. I do not have specific numbers regarding the truckloads of snow removed from the roads in Gunnison, Crested Butte, and Highway 135, but it’s somewhere between an absurd number and infinite. I mean, when there is enough snow to shut down a ski resort (and not just CBMR—parts of Breck closed, Arapahoe Basin closed, and road conditions on Monarch Pass forced Monarch Mountain to close), it gets to be a bit sobering. Perhaps the most prepared industry for excessive snow couldn’t even handle it—think about that.
This has already been a season we will be talking about for the rest of our lives—let’s keep it up. As is typical around these parts, we can expect some serious cycles in March and April. However, for now, I am OK with enjoying a few consecutive bluebird groomer days before the next cycle comes through.