I made it down for a three day weekend in Crested Butte this past weekend with the Alpine Club. Unfortunately, as was the case last weekend at Loveland Valley, lack of snow has prevented the upper lifts (as in BOTH T-Bars) from being opened yet this season. I also figured out that my new camera doesn’t function well in the cold so I didn’t get many shots.
A few of the crew joined me for a day tour of Snodgrass Mountain, however, and the recycled powder in the aspen glades was super nice. Once again, my camera wasn’t digging the cold, so this was the only shot I got.
We were stopped by a lady snowshoeing on one of the groomed cross country paths who was actively against the development of Snodgrass Mountain. The mountain is going through a repeal process since they original plans for expansion were denied by the forest service. Having learned about the situation through the interwebs, I think Crested Butte is stuck between a rock and a hard place, very similarly to other smaller, independently owned resorts throughout the state, who need to expand/develop or they will face bankruptcy. This is the paradox of expansion: the locals are against it, but without it, the mountain will either go under, bringing the town with it, or it will be purchased by a large company like Intrawest, who will drive up real estate prices forcing the locals out.
But, in all honesty, I am on the side to develop Snodgrass, in particular because I would love to lap those glades all day via a lift. I am not a huge fan of the current development plans, however, but if they were to start small, cut out a few runs and put up a couple of lifts to start, I would probably try to make it down there more to do so if they opened new terrain, just like a lot of people throughout Colorado who are tired of the hit-or-miss snowpack on Mt. Crested Butte. Also, it’s not like Snodgrass is the ONLY accessible backcountry in the area. In fact, I had intended to ski Red Lady that day, but my crew was too slow to get moving for a longer tour.
Expansion or not, I guess I can always find another reason to go back, especially if this turns into a massive mine…