Things change with four feet of fresh…

Well okay, then. Ask and you shall receive. Four feet of fresh—some of the freshest and lightest I’ve ever seen here—covered the valley and refreshed body, mind and soul this past week. It brought us back to a ski town and full-on winter. About 48 inches of new snow was recorded by the resort in the last week, and more is in the forecast. Thank you, Universe!

I heard that I wasn’t the only one getting cranky with a cold and dry start to the season. Smiles have replaced frowns, and good attitudes have pushed aside the icy, hard pack of the Twister bumps.

A huge high-five goes out to the boot-and-ski-packing crews and the Crested Butte Professional Ski Patrol at CBMR. When we got the first couple of late fall/early winter storms, CBMR put their people out on the Headwall and other extremes. Then the four-week drought hit and I wondered if that effort, which isn’t always a given here in CB, was for naught. It wasn’t. The packing and bombing held up and in the midst of big snows and super high winds, the resort opened terrain including Big Chute and Flatiron. Their hard work and foresight paid off for all of us. And given the consistent long lines at the High Lift, I mean all of us. But the waits were worth it and no one coming off the Headwall was complaining. Cheers to what seems a new philosophy for the steeps from CBMR management. But one question—what was up with the weird wavy bumps on the groomers Saturday? My thighs still hurt.

To get close to four feet of constant snow had to be a test for everyone and while not perfect, it all worked. The bus drivers made it a safe trip to the mountain for those that parked in town (a lot of us). The RTA filled up and safely transported our Gunnison friends and workers from the south valley even when Gunni itself got more than a foot of snow overnight.

The plow drivers in town were busy and while the streets narrowed, that’s what happens in a good winter. Snowblowers were put to good use. The snow removal crews that were stocking up on ramen can again be confident they can soon put some cash in the bank and sushi in their stomach. The CB Avalanche Center is keeping a watchful eye on the backcountry and warned everyone away. They will let you know when and where it is again safe to test the nearby backcountry. The Nordic Center peeps closed some trails in avalanche terrain to keep the skinny skiers safe. Not only were cars stuck, we all saw Bobcats and plows spinning tread at times. Ahhh… winter at 9,000 feet!

Tuesday brought quintessential blue skies and a look at the clean coat of white covering the entire valley. CBMR isn’t using last year’s photos to market this season anymore and the fresh snow has provided some grip to the lurking ice covering some of the CB streets and sidewalks. Heck, I don’t think people are even suffering from the crud anymore.

Four feet of fresh brought smiles to those who live here and those who are fortunate to be visiting here right now. The NFL even opened Wednesday! It is winter again in a ski town. All is right, easy and less cranky in our world.

—Mark Reaman

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