Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ski Crested Butte - Opening Weekend

Our group below Mt. Crested Butte: John, Todd, Susan, & Christina
We made the trek up to Crested Butte for our Thanksgiving weekend. Snow and early season deals made the 5.5hr drive seem tolerable. All this was the brainchild of Mr. Lumley, and it unfolded as the bold strike at genius that it was.

Our group included the Lumleys, Todd and Syd the dog, and ourselves, descending on the Butte for a white winter Turkey Day on the slopes. The drive itself was beautiful, especially the stretch from Saguache to Gunnison on CO Highway 114. Beautiful on a snowy evening and again on a bluebird afternoon on the return home.

Only two of the mountain's lower lifts were open - The Red Lady and Teocalli - and most of the open trails were groomers, but the snow conditions were great. Lots of fresh snow on the edges of trails. The mountain was reporting a 38" base. Not a bit of it was in danger of softening up or melting because the temperatures were frigid.  It was at least 10deg. below zero when the lifts opened on Thanksgiving morning.  I actually thought my lip split during one run down only to find that is was just a bit of frost nip.

Susan & Christina finding their line
Ski patrol was busy getting the upper mountain ready, setting off intermittent charges that would rip loud shock-waves over head as we carved giant-slalom turns down below.  We rode Teocalli most of the day on Thursday since the variety of runs was good and the lift lines over there were zero.  The snow was great, the turns were great - there was some steeper ungroomed trails half way down that were fantastic to just bash-and-hop through. Loved it.  I really appreciated my new helmet since it kept my entire head warm in the bitter cold.  I had a bit of ski envy looking at all the awesome ski setups that everyone but myself was skiing on.  Next year's ski swap will require an upgrade.

Wife & I on the lift, with the Elk Range behind us
The surrounding mountains in the area were incredible, caked in white from the recent storms, with little clouds of blowing snow on each summit.  John traced out the bike route he raced/toured over the summer that heads north and over Pearl Pass, descending into Aspen on the other side - 30mi by bike, 3-4hrs by car along paved routes around the mountains.

Apart from the skiing, we got to see Syd in her fancy purple dog coat. We sat in the Lodge hottub for far too long one evening trading camping-gone-wrong stories. We made short work of just about every available variety of microbrew at the local bars. We stood out in the freezing night and smoked some Monte Carlos that Todd had brought along.  We may need to make another trip this season to ski-out all the stuff we missed out on.

Related Posts:
  - Off Piste - Winter Steeps
  - Santa Fe's First Snow (11/16)
  - Treasure Hunting at the Ski Swap


  1. Lovely! Makes me want to learn to ski properly! (Flailing arms, screaming down a black diamond slope covered in freezing rain -- as fun and memorable as that was for a first-time skiier -- does not quite reach the same levels of ski nirvana you've described here. :)) Hugs to you and Stiners -- we're excited to have you come to Seattle! Leah always asks about her aunties and uncles! :)

  2. Hmmm, you've got Whistler in your backyard now. Bit of a drive for us though so we'll have to settle for the Butte. Life is tough. We'll see you all in a few weeks. Little Leah can ride the bus with us again. We'll take her down the block to get some coffee. - K

  3. Marg aka "Gheenie"December 9, 2010 at 1:56 AM

    Never settle for the butt. Er, the butte. :)

    I think there are some day-ski trips one can do here from Seattle... Will ask Deanie.

    And, yeah, Leah LOOOOVES the bus!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...