Too much snow?? Are you *%&@ing kidding me?!
There we were, drinking a beer, watching the snow continue to unleash its merciless onslaught on the poor lifts that had shut down for the day. It was 1pm, and for those who don’t know, that’s about 3 hours too early.
Wet snow on top of dry snow equals really really bad situations for those who want to play in it. As it turns out, Crested Butte got a lot of very heavy snow. When I say a lot, I mean over 20 inches in one day. Had it been “normal” Colorado champagne powder, this would have been no worry, but a foot and some change of heavy wet snow on top of a weak powdery layer is an avalanche waiting to happen.
Remember that poor camel who is always getting his back broken? This snow was the straw that broke his back.
On top of causing avalanche danger, the snow weaseled its way into lift operations. White, flaky, tyrannical monsters were finding their way into the cables of the lifts, freezing them up, and rendering them totally useless. A quick attempt to thaw the lines resulted in a barrage of water leaking into the lift operator’s hut. Over at the lodge behind one of the two main lifts, the chimney was dislodged and falling off the roof, yes, because there was so. much. snow. A ski patroller who had been working at the resorts since the 80’s said he had, in all his years, never seen anything like it. Even Western State Colorado University closed for the first time in history. It was, in the purest sense of the phrase, a sh*% show (but at least it was still nuking!).
There really was little that could be done. Ski Patrol did all they could, blasting up and down the mountain to trigger avalanches, but the conditions were impossible to predict or control. Sometimes the weather, and nature at large, works in mysterious ways. So often it throws us pathetic humans around like rag dolls. Semi trucks were getting bulldozed by avalanches in the mountains on I-70 in Colorado, the pass was getting coated in snow making driving treacherous, and over in California, towns below the Sierras were washing away in powerful floods and mudslides–all from this white stuff that makes a certain population lose their minds.
And in Crested Butte, a mountain that has been blessed with some of the most snowfall this year in Colorado, it was all too much. At 1pm on Monday Jan. 9th, just when I thought I could not have timed up my stay in Crested Butte any better, they closed up shop. Locals couldn’t remember the last time the resort closed up. Luckily, because Crested Butte is so awesome, my ticket was refunded and saved for a better day.
Which happened to be the next day, which happened to be a powder day.