Long-awaited expansion may have to wait some more
Just because “Teo-2” is on the new trail map doesn’t mean the proposed extreme terrain will be open to skiers this season. Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s expansion into the Teocalli 2 bowl this winter is solely dependant on snowfall.
CBMR communications director Todd Walton says the new extreme terrain expansion will open only if there’s “enough snow.”
“When there is ‘enough snow’ is very much up to Mother Nature,” Walton says.
Walton admits there isn’t a real definition or a number describing “enough snow,” but the decision whether or not to open the terrain will ultimately come from the U.S. Forest Service.
CBMR began advertising Teo-2 as a “future terrain expansion” on trail maps and signs placed at the top of the High Lift last season. The resort’s 2009 winter trail map, which was released this fall, depicts Teocalli 2 as skiable terrain, with a double black diamond rating.
Walton says there is no guarantee if or when Teocalli 2 may open and the problem is providing safe access to the terrain for snowcats.
CBMR mountain manager Chris Corliss says Teocalli 2 will require an exit route wide enough and stable enough to drive a snowcat on it in case of an emergency.
Corliss says CBMR has marked 15 trees that would need to be cut to provide the access, but those trees are on a steep hillside.
Walton says whether or not CBMR will be able to form a cat road on the hillside depends on the amount of snow that can provide a stable base. “If we don’t have enough snow, we don’t want to go in and cut the trees,” Walton says.
“I guess we kind of got ahead of ourselves in the marketing there,” Corliss says.
Corliss says once there is enough snow to actually ski Teocalli 2, local Forest Service ranger Kai Allen will inspect the proposed egress route and hopefully give the resort approval to commence tree cutting.
If approved, Teocalli 2 will add 41 acres of double black diamond skiing to the resort’s portfolio.
The resort has preliminary approval in the Main Mountain Improvements Plan to build a lift out of Teocalli Bowl, which currently requires a 15- to 20-minute hike to exit. Corliss says this lift would be situated down from the traditional Teocalli Bowl exit and would cut the distance to the Teocalli 2 egress. But Corliss says that lift may require a separate Forest Service approval through the National Environmental Policy Act Process (NEPA) and is still some time off.
CBMR opens on Wednesday, November 26.