Winter 2017 Photo Essay



Crested Butte Mountain Resort just closed down for the season on Sunday and we have all been taking a moment to breathe. It looks like we only get a moment though; Hartman Rocks opened for the season today so it’s time to hit the dirt.

It was an unbelievable season here in Crested Butte. I personally had the best single week of skiing I’ve ever had, the best single day of skiing I’ve ever had, and the best single pow turn I’ve ever had. They all happened at different times, too! A good friend of mine likes to say at the end of every good pow day, “These are the days that ruin lives.” If skiing was always as good as it was this year, I think we’d all have a hard time holding down jobs.

Our team got all of our favorite photos together for this photo essay to share our winter with you.

Early Season

Skier in untouched powder snow at Crested Butte Mountain Resort

After a dry fall, Daniel and I got out for some early season chairlift meetings in December. At that point, we had no idea what kind of a season to expect and we wanted to make sure we took advantage of the pow when it hit in the middle of December. This is me tipping into Horseshoe Springs. It was at least waist-deep.

We had no idea what was coming. The folks at Rumors/Townie Books must have had an inkling though:

Wild Rumpus sign from Rumors Cafe in CB

January 2017’s Historic Snowfall

Ski chair covered in snow in front of the Ginger Cafe, CB

Then the first two weeks in January happened. It snowed about 100 inches between the first of the year and January 15. Here’s The Ginger during the first part of the storm.

Powder day at Teocalli Tamale

I walked down the street from The Ginger taking photos and the snow just kept coming down harder. Not a lot of entries on the Powder Day Sign at Teo on the 4th of January when I took this photo. That changed quickly.

blizzard of snow in Crested Butte

By the time I hit the Post Office, it was nuking. By the end of the storm cycle, the snowbanks were as tall as the roof. You had to walk through a tunnel of snow to walk down the street.

deep powder turn in Crested ButteConditions at the resort were absolutely incredible for all of January and Ski Patrol worked many hours of overtime to get terrain open. This town owes them a steak dinner!

Second Annual Borealis Fat Bike Worlds

The Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte Chamber and the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association teamed up to host the Borealis Fat Bike Worlds at the end of January. The snow let up just in time to get all of the courses packed in, and then the temperature plummeted. I don’t think the thermometer even hit zero on one of the days.

tandem racers in the Fat Bike World Championships

This tandem team kicked butt during the relay/fun race on the Thursday of Fat Bike Worlds Weekend.

starting line at the Fat Bike World Championships

The starting line-up at the big race was impressive. Also impressive: the logo that a father and daughter team stomped out into the hillside behind the racers. Stuff like that is why we love this event so much. It’s just fun!

Late Season Pow and Sun

January’s record snowfalls slowly let up over the course of the season, but even at the end of the year conditions stayed pretty great at CBMR.

skiing Crested Butte on a sunny pow day

Steeps, pow, blue sky, and rad skiing. It doesn’t get much more Crested Butte than that.

spring skiing on a bluebird day in CB

We had so many days like this in late February and March. They were top-notch.

Creative Costumes at the Al Johnson Race in CB

We only snagged one shot from the Al Johnson. Some years, the entrance into the North Face is pretty darn sketchy by the time the AJ rolls around. Not so this year.

Some Scenic Shots for You

gorgeous sky near Crested Butte

Lots of stormy days made for some awesome sunrises and sunsets here in the Valley.

Blue Mesa Reservoir with mist rising over it

And here’s a shot of the Blue Mesa with the mist rising off. We’re looking forward to a summer of playing on the lake!

Ski Patrol Signs

We kicked off this post with a shot of a sign from Rumors/Townie Books in downtown CB. They had great signs out all winter. But the true signage artists in this Valley are the fine folks on the Crested Butte Ski Patrol. They always get our attention, and they are always funny!

Ski Patrol sign from Big Chute at Crested Butte

One of many signs pronouncing that Big Chute is super dangerous. The funny part is, Big Chute was actually far simpler to navigate this year than in most years I’ve lived here. If I could only ski one run for the rest of my life, I might pick Big Chute.

Ski Patrol signs in Crested Butte

Once we got into the later season corn cycle, timing was everything. CB Ski Patrol eloquently described the importance of choosing the right time to ski a line during the spring corn cycle on this sign. It was a favorite on our team.

One Last Ski Shot

skiers on dead end and body bag

I was lucky enough to be up bright and early the Saturday morning that Ski Patrol opened Spellbound and Phoenix. My crew and I rolled in as the fourth through ninth person to drop in. It was ridiculous. I skied straight down the gut then cruised over to shred Phoenix Bowl. They took some harder lines in High Life and then set off to hit Dead End and Body Bag. None of us have ever seen it like this. We may never again. If you look closely, you can spot Jack looker’s left in Dead End. Rob and Sydney are charging down Body Bag. Tom had already lit up Dead End by the time I got into place to take this shot.

I hope you all managed to make it here for this historic season. But if you didn’t make it this year, you’ll just be one year older when you do!

Author: Laurel Runcie

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