We are almost there, believe it or not. By the time you read this there will be less than a week before the wheels start turning and the seats on the chairlifts begin to get filled on the ski hill.
There is a certain flow to living in a ski town and this time is one of the standard markers. There is a palpable excitement around town as we approach the start of the new ski season. Not that there are a ton of people jumping for joy on Elk Avenue. Taking a mid-day stroll on the town’s main business thoroughfare Tuesday, it was pretty lean. That too was okay. There is a subtle excitement that we still have an off-season here. But just about everyone has started to think skiing. Man-made snow is piling up, store shelves are being filled, jobs trained for and visions of the Headwall are dancing in people’s heads.
Anyway, the weather is always a factor in this time period’s excitement. Hartman’s was hot and dusty on the bike trails this week. There was just enough white for some pretty sweet tracks on Baldy last weekend. Light jackets have not yet been replaced by full down coats but people know where the snow tires are.
There is always the wonder of when we will get the first real dump that mandates the real change. Everyone hopes that we get another light-switch season where you can go from single track to fat skis just a mere couple of days before the ski area opens. Now, the chance you take trying to manifest that seasonal perfection is that the Universe will have a chuckle and won’t bring the second part of the equation until December so the white strip of death in cold temperatures is your ski run experience for a few weeks.
But it really doesn’t matter. We are in the midst of the switch. And that is exciting. The chamber of commerce winter forecast gathering was different and more user-friendly this year. The message was still the same: We are on the cusp of good ski season. Everything looks great. We have records to break and powder is in the forecast.
The resort opens this Wednesday with a “Donation Day” that benefits the Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation. The resort will be collecting a $15 donation for a lift ticket, valid for that Wednesday only. All of the proceeds from this Donation Day will go to the CBSF and help fund their mission of “supporting the youth in the Gunnison Valley in their pursuits of sportsmanship, passion, and discipline through snow sport experiences.” The resort’s official opening day for the winter season is Thursday, November 23, 2017. And then we have the chance to ski on the Mother Rock until April.
The unique ski town excitement that comes on the end of some relaxing off-season time is a part of living here. And while the living is easy in summertime just about everywhere else, it is just as easy here during a deep winter. Let’s hope we get a deep one for 2017-18. How can we not?