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February 06, 2008

Crazy Frickin' Epic

If you are among the lucky planning ski and ride trips out West this February break or during Spring Break, this year you can’t go wrong.

From north to south along the Rocky Mountain spine and up and down the coastal ranges of the far West, snow has piled up in heaps upon heaps this season. It’s an epic oddity. Usually, when the northwest is in the storm track, the southwest dries up — and vice versa.

But this year, everything out West is in play. It doesn’t matter which region you look at, base depths are ridiculous. Here’s a brief tour: Mount Baker in Washington, 190 inches; Alpine Meadows in California, 161 inches; Alta in Utah, 152 inches; Aspen Highlands, 111 inches; Jackson Hole in Wyoming, 109 inches; Arizona Snowbowl, 95 inches; Wolf Creek in Colorado (brace yourself), 211 INCHES!!!

Ah yes, Wolf Creek, that little precipitation suckhole atop the Continental Divide in Southern Colorado. What helped them reach the bicentennial mark? How about seven new feet in the last four days. I think we have a Storm of the Week winner.

I checked in with a ski patroller friend who lives at the western base of Wolf Creek Pass near Pagosa Springs yesterday. He was out shoveling roofs at the campground he runs in the summer when I called.

His wife, though, had an interesting take on a storm that sustained an inch-an-hour clip for nearly four days straight (Saturday through Tuesday):

It feels like something wrong is happening, like emergency stuff. The snow is buckling all the roofs. It’s like crazy frickin’ epic.

No one could reach the mountain Sunday because of avalanche closures on the pass road, which twists and turns its way across steep mountainsides on its way to 10,000 feet in elevation. Even Monday, the Pagosa side was closed. So only those coming up from the east got to the lifts.

John, my ski patroller friend, shoveled roofs until dark Tuesday then relayed what’s been going on atop the mountain.

It was light snow and just super-deep. Even before this storm I’ve never seen it so covered. The cliffs aren’t even cliffs. Everything is covered.

Wherever you go out West, everything is covered. So I say go, if you can.

On the home front, a Winter Weather Advisory is duly posted. There will be some wet precip mixed in, but not as much as with recent storms. There’s snow forecast all the way through the weekend. Not exactly “crazy frickin’ epic” but we’ll take it.

February 6, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Hey, Jason, what about the FANTASTIC stuff in Vermont right now? Maybe you're out skiing it right now and we'll hear about that soon...

Posted by: VTskier | Feb 8, 2008 11:18:15 AM

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