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Crested Butte: A Tale of Epic Snow and Determined Skiiers

Somehow a friend of mine managed to schedule a Crested Butte ski weekend at the perfect time — right in the middle of a huge snow storm and less than a week after a previous dump of 3+ feet. Problem was, we had to get there.

We loaded up our car (2 alpine, 1 tele, 1 boarder) Friday morning, touched base with our fellow group travelers, and got out of Fort Collins before 7am with dreams of Friday afternoon turns dancing in our heads. Knowing the conditions would turn on us, we prepared ourselves for the slow trip ahead. Road conditions varied from wet to slush to snow-packed, but overall we were moving right along. Then we rolled up to Monarch Pass. CLOSED. There we sat as the open time for the pass was pushed back and pushed back. We chatted with CDOT employees and fellow stranded travelers, watched Survivor on DVD, read aloud from magazines, and tried not to go crazy thinking about the powder that awaited us at Crested Butte. We had amazingly good cell phone reception so that others in our group who had gone up the night before could keep our hopes up with tales of chest deep snow and near record snowfall (32″ in 24 hours). Finally, 12 hours later behind the wonderful blinking lights of a CDOT plow, we got to head up and over the pass. 2 1/2 hours later we were in Crested Butte, a mere 19 1/2 hours after we left Fort Collins.

Glad this isn’t my car.

But who needs sleep when there’s 4 feet of powder, right? Some of our group attempted to hit first chair, while the rest of us, after plenty of coffee, hit the slopes not too much later. And it was crazy awesome. The most snow I’ve ever skiied in for sure and plenty of soft fluff to go around. When our gang gathered after Saturday to swap stories, the rundown included numerous “then I fell into a pile of powder and almost didn’t get out” and “that was my favorite ski day ever” tales.

The view from Teocalli lift

Crested Butte’s finest opened Jokerville and International runs on Saturday as well as West Wall briefly to compact the snow. The East River lift opened Sunday, much to the glee of those looking for more fresh powder.

It took us a while to get there, but man was it awesome. Thanks Crested Butte!

(And remember, you can ski free until Dec. 15th,)