• Crested Butte

    The Ups and Downs of Too Much Snow

    Jan 12 | 1179 Views | No Comments

    Recent storms post challenge for resorts, but skiers enjoying conditions of a lifetime On the morning of Jan. 11, the official snow report at Colorado’s Monarch Mountain was 6 inches. Snow reports are usually accurate. This was a lie. That’s because the day before, the lifts never ran....

  • The Ridge Cat at Loveland. Photo by Dustin Schaefer.

    What’s Free in Colorado Ski Country

    Jan 10 | 2323 Views | No Comments

    Ski Areas Enhance Guest Experience Throughout the Season with Free Offerings Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) ski areas are known for their world class snow, skiing and snowboarding and overall guest experience, but many guests, including ski area veterans, may not realize there are many free...

  • Solo Riding

    Skiing and riding with your buddies can be one of the most rewarding activities out there, as few things match the stoke shared when high-fiving at the bottom after a run of hip-high blower pow, or once your friend finally lands that elusive backflip. But many people get sucked into the routine of...

  • The Ups and Downs of Too Much Snow

    on January 12 | in Arapahoe Basin, Crested Butte, Insider Secrets, Monarch, Snow, Uncategorized | by | with No Comments

    Recent storms post challenge for resorts, but skiers enjoying conditions of a lifetime

    On the morning of Jan. 11, the official snow report at Colorado’s Monarch Mountain was 6 inches.

    Snow reports are usually accurate. This was a lie.

    That’s because the day before, the lifts never ran. So much heavy, wet snow fell in such a short time, 46 inches in 48 hours, that the Colorado Department of Transportation couldn’t keep up and on Jan. 10 never opened U.S. Highway 50, the only access to the ski area.

    “The snow continued unabated Monday night into Tuesday morning. At 8am on Tuesday, the CDOT estimate for re-opening the pass was early afternoon, so we made the decision not to open on Tuesday,” said Jeff Martin, Monarch’s vice president for sales and marketing.

    So was it disappointing to not open with so much snow?

    “No way! This is what we live for! Conditions are epic,” Martin said.

    Indeed. Skiers and riders who came Wednesday morning found a wild, wind-blown wilderness of powder untouched by human skis or snowboards. Imagine opening day, only with an 87-inch base and heaps of natural snow everywhere. Judging by the full parking lot and the smiles all over the lodge, any disappointment over Tuesday disappeared in a puff of cold smoke as skiers enjoyed a powder day for the ages.

    It’s been a similar story around ski country this year, as a dry early season has given way to unprecedented amounts of snow in a very short time. A ski resort will never use the phrase “too much snow,” but the past two weeks have pushed the limits.

    Take Crested Butte Mountain Resort, for example.

    On Jan. 9, the resort received two feet of snow in 24 hours. The heavy flakes fell so hard and fast the resort closed in the afternoon, as conditions made it tough to run the lifts and natural avalanches posed a safety risk. The nearby Gunnison Watershed School District closed for snow for the first time in 30 years. In Crested Butte, where snow is a way of life and powder a religion, tensions grew between neighbors as people wondered what to do with all this snow.

    The resort opened the next day, gradually as ski patrol conducted avalanche mitigation, and by Wednesday the area had received 90 inches in 10 days. To call the powder skiing “amazing” would be an understatement. Maybe “snorkel-worthy” is a better description.

    Arapahoe Basin also had to close because of the never-ending snow. On Jan. 10, CDOT officials grew concerned abou the avalanche potential along U.S. Highway 6, a 5-mile stretch of road to the resort that stays open even when the highway closes at Loveland Pass.

    “We agreed that closing the ski area and getting people down the hill would be the safest option for our employees and guests, and we began to shut down skier services just before 1 pm. It all happened really fast, but it was the right call to make,” said A-Basin spokeswoman Adrienne Saia Isaac.

    A skeleton crew hunkered down at the ski area to weather the storm and mitigate for avalanches, but CDOT didn’t open the highway the next day until 2:40 pm.

    “Once people got up here, it cleared up and the snow was incredible. I heard more than one person say they were the ‘best runs of their lives,'” she said. “For the small crew who waited out the closure, it was an incredible hour of skiing.”

    At Monarch, Martin echoed the sentiment. How crazy and deep was the snow that fell?

    “I think about as crazy and deep as it get,” he said.

    Is there such a thing as too much snow?

    “No!”

    Tips for Skiing in Really Deep Snow

    When the fresh powder is measured by the feet, not the inches, it can be challenging as well as the best day of your life. Here are some tips for skiing and riding in such deep powder.

    • Keep your speed up on the runout. Whether on skis or a snowboard, a flat spot will steal your speed quicker than molasses and you’ll waste precious energy swimming out. On a day like this, a groomed run can be your friend.
    • Fat skis are better. Modern powder skis are made for deep powder, and riding them can make even the intermediate skier feel like a hero. So ditch the skinny twin tips and rent some powder skis for the occasion.
    • Ski with a buddy. You don’t want to be alone if you get impossibly stuck or even partially buried in fresh, unconsolidated snow. Bring a friend or, if alone, ski conservatively.
    • Avoid tree wells. The snow that collects around trees in big storm cycles can become a death trap if you fall into one.
    • Be smart. Even in-bounds slopes can slide during extremely heavy snows, so be cautious on any slope with a 35-degree pitch. Ski such slopes one at a time and keep an eye on each other.
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  • What’s Free in Colorado Ski Country

    on January 10 | in Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Cooper, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Deals, Eldora, Granby Ranch, Hesperus Ski Area, Howelsen, Insider Secrets, Loveland, Powderhorn, Purgatory, Silverton, Ski Cooper, Snowmass, Steamboat, Sunlight, Telluride, Winter Park, Wolf Creek | by | with No Comments

    The Ridge Cat at Loveland. Photo by Dustin Schaefer.

    The Ridge Cat at Loveland. Photo by Dustin Schaefer.

    Ski Areas Enhance Guest Experience Throughout the Season with Free Offerings

    Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) ski areas are known for their world class snow, skiing and snowboarding and overall guest experience, but many guests, including ski area veterans, may not realize there are many free offerings throughout ski country to enjoy.

    Below are some of the free opportunities that CSCUSA members have to offer:

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  • 6 Reasons Why You Should Take Your Next Ski Day Alone

    on January 9 | in General, Insider Secrets, Skiing & Snowboarding | by | with No Comments

    Singles line allows more time for this.

    Skiing and riding with your buddies can be one of the most rewarding activities out there, as few things match the stoke shared when high-fiving at the bottom after a run of hip-high blower pow, or once your friend finally lands that elusive backflip. But many people get sucked into the routine of always accompanying someone else, missing out on the benefits of taking a solo day. Here are six reasons why you should go at it alone next time:

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  • 2017 Off to a Snowy Start in Colorado Ski Country

    on January 6 | in Snow | by | with No Comments

    Photo by Tripp Fay courtesy of Copper Mountain.

    Photo by Tripp Fay courtesy of Copper Mountain.

    The new year is off to a snowy start at Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) ski areas across the state with nearly three feet of fresh powder for skiers and snowboarders.

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  • A Ski Bum’s New Year’s Resolutions

    on January 6 | in Skiing & Snowboarding, Snow, Steamboat, Telluride, Wolf Creek | by | with No Comments

    It's been a great season so far at Wolf Creek. Photo by Eric Dietemeyer.

    It’s been a great season so far at Wolf Creek. Photo by Eric Dietemeyer.

    Editor’s note: We grew alarmed when mountain correspondent R. Scott Rappold had not filed a blog post in quite a while. We tracked him down Tuesday in the lodge at his home mountain of Wolf Creek in southern Colorado, where it had been snowing heavily and nonstop for three days. He reluctantly took a break from skiing and sent in this hastily-written screed.

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  • The Powder of Four with a Family of Five

    on January 4 | in Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Dining and Nightlife, Kids & Family Friendly Zone, Skiing & Snowboarding, Snowmass | by | with No Comments

    From left to right: Andrew, Jill, Jeffrey, Jay, and Sydney Walker on Aspen Mountain.

    From left to right: Andrew, Jill, Jeffrey, Jay, and Sydney Walker on Aspen Mountain.

    When it comes to off mountain entertainment, Aspen has got it all. Shops like Louis Vuitton and Rag and Bone dot the streets alongside more local, outdoor-focused operations like Ute Mountaineer. In between stores lie the most delectable restaurants including Chef Nobu’s Matsuhisa and the downright soul-soothing Hickory House. And it would be remiss not to mention the ever-rotating exhibitions at Aspen Art Museum or the mesmerizing stills at Peter Lik’s gallery. The town of Aspen alone could keep a family occupied – but add Aspen’s four local ski mountains to the equation – and each member will be ready to pack their bags for good. Take the Walkers, for example. Aspen suits this family of five perfectly because of the variety they have when choosing where to ski. Every family member has their personal favorite mountain, and I followed them around for a day to find out why.

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  • Sunlight Appreciates Skiers, Riders with $20 Lift Tickets Jan. 6th

    on January 3 | in Sunlight | by | with No Comments

    Photo courtesy of Sunlight Ski School.

    Photo courtesy of Sunlight Ski School.

    Annual Event Benefits United Way, more than $200,000 raised to Date

    On Friday, Jan. 6, Sunlight Mountain Resort will once again be the most affordable ski area in the nation offering $20 lift tickets to all as part of its annual Skier Appreciation Day. Now in its 30th year, all ticket sale proceeds from the day are donated to the local United Way. The event is sponsored by United Companies of Glenwood Springs and has raised more than $200,000 for local charities.

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  • Cold Play: The Virtues of Skiing on a Cold Day

    on January 3 | in Eldora | by | with No Comments

    Ice covered trees in Steamboat.

    Ice covered trees in Steamboat.

    Don’t let diving mercury keep you indoors. You may be missing your best day on the mountain.

    I once skied in at Stowe in Vermont in weather so cold my trapezius muscles were sore the next day from scrunching up my shoulders and shivering so hard. My friends and I skied exactly one run that day and called it quits. I really do love to ski when the sun is shining and the temps are mild.

    However—however!—snow sports are, by nature, cold-weather endeavors. If it weren’t for the diving mercury, we wouldn’t have that lovely powdery surface to ski and ride on. What I’m saying is that skiers and snowboarders should embrace the cold. Put on your woolies and get out there.

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  • Food Pantry Donation Day at Crested Butte

    on January 3 | in Crested Butte, Events | by | with No Comments

    Skier: Nick Pease. Photo: Taylor Ahearn. Courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

    Skier: Nick Pease. Photo: Taylor Ahearn. Courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

    Donate Food for a $45 Lift Ticket to Crested Butte Mountain Resort
    3 non-perishable food items per person to be donated to local food banks

    In an effort to help the local community, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is hosting two Food Pantry Donation Days this winter. The two event dates are January 8 and April 2, 2017. Both Food Pantry Donation Days support the Crested Butte and Gunnison food banks. Guests who donate three non-perishable, non-expired food items or one pack of diapers will receive a voucher for a $45 full day lift ticket, valid for that day only.

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  • The Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

    on December 28 | in Arapahoe Basin, Purgatory, Winter Park | by | with No Comments

    Skier Siena Teare celebrates the opening of Montezuma Bowl at Arapahoe Basin. Photo by Dave Camara courtesy of Arapahoe Basin.

    Skier Siena Teare celebrates the opening of Montezuma Bowl at Arapahoe Basin. Photo by Dave Camara courtesy of Arapahoe Basin.

    2016 was a great year for skiing in Colorado. The 2015-2016 ski season was the best on record and Colorado continues to be the number one ski and snowboard destination in the country. And despite a slow start weather-wise to the ’16-’17 season, the snow starting coming after Thanksgiving and conditions have been fantastic ever since. On the CSCUSA Blog, we’ve tried throughout the year to bring you the best ski and snowboard related stories from across the state, from opening day announcements and new terrain openings to tips to becoming a ski bum and everything in between.

    Looking back, here are the most read stories of 2016:

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