Crested Butte Ski Trip
December 7-10, 2007
Fellow Adventurers: Eric Sigler, Jotham Matabi, Ali Ordelheide, Jenny Harlow
When I heard that Crested Butte was offering free skiing for three weeks of the early season, there was only one thing to do - round up a group of friends and go! We started making plans in October - as December approached, Colorado was experiencing a dry and warm Fall - most of the resorts were scraping by on the manmade stuff with just a few runs open. Then an incredible series of storms brought subtropical moisture up from Mexico and dumped it in the Colorado mountains. Up to 146" of snow fell in two weeks time at Wolf Creek Pass. Crested Butte made out with 81" in the week before we arrived, including 58" in the three days prior. Unfortunately, the snow was a very heavy powder which didn't lend itself to the face shots we were hoping for - but we still had a great time, and managed to squeeze in several other activities besides just skiing. I'll let the pictures do most of the talking . . . All photos were taken by myself unless otherwise noted.
I left early on Friday to try to beat the weather. After a slightly harrowing drive over Vail Pass, I made it to Glenwood Canyon. That evening I stayed with some friends in Montrose. The next morning I made the much more harrowing drive up to Gunnison to meet my other group of friends who I'd be sking with.
We put on the church service for the Gunnison Seventh-day Adventist Church. Although a very small congregation, the church members were very friendly and seemed happy to have us. Here is Jotham and Ali doing a "special feature" that I forgot to tell them about ahead of time. Photo by Eric.
I preached a sermon entitled "Contemplations on Love". I think it went alright, although at 42 minutes, it was a tad on the long side. Photo by Eric.
For Saturday night, we stayed in a cabinette in Gunnison. It was quite cozy and very warm.
The hot tub seemed to be one of the main selling points of this establishment! Photo by Jenny.
We went out for a quick snowshoe at Hartman Rocks. Jotham is ready to make some tracks.
From left to right: Wendy, Eric, Jotham, Ali, and Jenny.
There are two types of snowshoes - those which flip snow and those which don't. Jotham and Jenny have the "flipper"-type.
Due to our late start, we only ended up going about a mile before turning around, but it was still great to get out.
Here's an charcoal-effect view of the fence and parking lot at twilight.
And here are the evening lights of Gunnison.
That evening we celebrated Jotham's birthday with a delicious carrot cake. Photo by Jenny.
Jenny whipped up some fantastic "sugar on snow" for us to sample. This Northeast creation is made by drizzling hot maple syrup (the real stuff) onto packed snow. Photo by Alison.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny in Gunnison with temperatures in the single digits. Photo by Jenny.
Sublime scenery on the way up to Crested Butte . . . Photo by Jenny.
A picturesque ranch. Photo by Jenny.
Signs of the recent snow dump were everywhere. Just a week before, none of this was here. Photo by Jenny.
The base area smothered in snow.
Aspen with bluebird sky. Photo by Jenny.
A burning question - Will there be snow in heaven? I sure hope so . . . Chair lift not required.
The hulking Mount Crested Butte stares down skiers as they ride up the Silver Queen lift. Apparently, these are actual ski runs when there is enough snow! Alas, our measly 81" wasn't quite enough yet. Note to self - must come back in March.
Eric and Ali on the lift . . .
Somehow we managed to lose Jotham on the first run of the day - we didn't find him until about 1:30 PM! (And this was AFTER the ski patrol blanketed the mountain with signs telling him to call - he never saw them!). Oh well, you know what they say - "No friends on a powder day."
Ali on snow . . . Photo by Jenny.
Eric in snow . . . Photo by Jenny.
Actually, I think we all fell quite a bit, but Ali probably the least. I'm not sure if I even remember seeing her fall. I had an interesting experience in the trees - I managed to get between some very tight trees, then tipped over down the hill. Pushing down with my ski pole, I wasn't able to hit solid ground - the ski pole went so deep that I lost it and couldn't find it again! I bent my other ski pole trying to get up - it took several minutes for me to right myself in the deep snow. This is a good reason to NOT ski by yourself in the trees. I wasn't alone - thankfully Eric waited patiently through my humorous attempts to get up.
Eric, myself, and Ali. Photo by Jenny.
Jenny strikes a pose . . . Photo by Alison.
Late in the day we realized that we hadn't gotten any group shots so we started trying to make up for it. Photo by Alison.
Jonathan, Eric, Jotham, Jenny, and Ali in the fading light. Photo courtesy of a kind stranger.
Jenny nears the precipice . . .
"Arrgh, walk the plank . . ."
A typical view down a ski run at Crested Butte. Photo by Jenny.
Even though the snow was heavier than we had hoped, conditions were still stellar for early December and I think all would agree that we had a great time. I'm already dreaming about some more free skiing next year.
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