But Extreme Comp postponed
Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) received 18 inches of snow over the weekend and continued to receive light snow throughout the following week. The extreme terrain remains closed for now, but according to CBMR public relations and communications manager Erica Reiter, the latest snowfall is a step in the right direction.
“In terms of the rest of the state of Colorado, we did very well. On Sunday afternoon we were second in the state with the amount of snow we’ve had, behind Silverton,” Reiter said.
In the meantime, the Ski Patrol is working on opening some of the extreme terrain and has had packing crews out on the Headwall and Teocalli Bowl. But as Ski Patrol director Bill Dowell outlined in his letter to the editor on page 3, the fact remains that the resort has received six feet of total snow and had a settled base of 43 inches as of January 23. Last year, the resort had received 16 feet of snowfall by this time, with a settled base of 65 inches.
Reiter says the most important factor in opening up extreme terrain will be safety. Rumors that the Headwall won’t open at all this year are false, she said, but ski conditions are unstable right now. The avalanches at Vail and Winter Park that killed two skiers last weekend speak to the need for caution.
“With how unstable the snowpack is right now we are taking all precautions necessary and being very conservative in opening the extreme areas to make sure that we are not another avalanche death statistic,” Reiter said. “We are very proud as a resort to not have to claim an on-mountain death due to an avalanche and we want to keep it that way.”
CBMR officials and Subaru Freeskiing World Tour representatives decided Wednesday to postpone the scheduled Crested Butte competition a month. Originally slated for February 8-12, the Extremes will now be held March 8-11.
“The latest storm has been very positive for our coverage in the extremes,” says Laci Wright, events manager for CBMR. “By pushing back the date we are confident that we will have a much better venue. As always we are thrilled to have the US Extreme Freeskiing Championships return to Crested Butte.”
The Junior Freeskiing Tour has been postponed until March 29. This weekend’s Ski Mountaineering Championships are taking place as planned. In the meantime, CBMR is celebrating the snow they do have, running a flurry of press releases after every snowfall and continuing to play the snowfall waiting game.
CBMR isn’t the only Colorado resort dealing with slim snowfall. A January 20 Denver Post article reported that Colorado Ski Country USA resorts have seen a 10.65 percent drop in skier visits compared to this time last year. And while CBMR numbers were not available for skier visits or bookings, Reiter said the resort is feeling the impact.
“The lack of snow has slowed things for sure, especially with that drive market, because the extremes aren’t open,” Reiter said.
But out-of-state visitors seem to be holding their ground. According to Reiter, the $599 Fly Ski Stay promotion is tracking slightly ahead of last year and Texans are continuing to plan their Crested Butte vacations.
“People are still booking, not as much as we would like, but people from Texas are still planning their vacations here,” Reiter said.
The Colorado Up 4 More Pass, a limited time offer, four-day pass aimed at a more regional audience also performed well—even better than expected, Reiter says. The hope is that continued promotions and publicity like a recent feature on The Today Show will keep things headed in the right direction.
The January 24 travel segment on The Today Show’s “Jill’s Steals and Deals” featured a travel package to the Elevation Hotel at deeply discounted rates. The clip had an estimated viewership of 3,568,581 as of Tuesday at noon.