Crested Butte Ski Patrol Keeps The Mountain Safe ~
Most skiers and snowboarders dream of unstoppable snow and never ending powder. Last year, their wishes pretty much came true. January 2017 brought historic snowfall to Crested Butte Colorado. The Crested Butte Mountain Resort saw a total of 137 inches of new snow fall in the month of January making it the snowiest January in history. What’s even more astonishing is that 90 inches of that fell in just 10 days! The Crested Butte Ski Patrol keeps the mountain safe no matter how much or how little snow we receive.
While the town was getting buried in snow, the Crested Butte Ski Patrollers were working day and night to ensure the ski area was safe. The snow came down so fast that it wasn’t getting skied fast enough, causing patrollers to have to put up ropes and close off areas. “Locals ski the area while they wait for the backcountry to settle,” said patroller Krista Hildebrandt. “They often don’t give the same credit to the ski area as they do to the backcountry, or realize it takes the same time for the snowpack to adjust to the load. Even though we have more mitigation tools at the area, we still need to allow the snowpack to adjust.”
Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers some of the most extreme inbounds terrain in all of North America which requires more avalanche mitigation than most other resorts. On average, the Crested Butte Ski Patrol keeps the mountain safe from avalanches with about 4,000 pounds of explosives. During the 2016/2017 season they used 6,124 pounds of explosives.
Snow Safety Director for CBMR, Frank Coffey, said this was the snowiest period he can remember in Crested Butte and he’s been patrolling here since 1980. “It was a great time to be alive in Crested Butte,” said Coffey. “Some of the best powder skiing of my life and people were skiing lines they never imagined possible. I will remember that winter forever.”
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