Five Feet of Snow Buries Crested Butte

Nathaniel HerzDecember 28, 20102

If you live in the east and were impressed by the snowfall from the Monday’s Nor’easter, the numbers from a storm that hit Colorado last week will give you a new perspective on things.

Over the course of four days, the town of Crested Butte saw a mind-boggling snowfall, with accumulations in feet that most places would be lucky to see in inches. The totals? More than five and a half feet at the nordic center downtown, with over ten feet in the mountains.

“There’s just a ton of snow. It’s cool,” said Shayn Estes, a staff member at the nordic center.

Reached last Thursday, he said that the nordic center’s groomers had been working continuously through the storm, and that conditions were “great.” The snow, he said, was wet, and consolidated well, which is unusual for the area.

“It’s been settling as fast as it’s been falling,” he said.

According to Duncan Callahan, who coaches the Crested Butte Junior Nordic Ski Team, the storm forced his athletes to skip one interval workout, and stick to classic skiing for most of the week. But for the most part, he said, his crew wasn’t hindered—they’re all stoked about the snow.

“The energy from them is definitely high,” he said. “We kind of roll with it.”

All the white stuff has made skiing possible through Crested Butte’s streets, which Callaghan said was reminiscent of the annual Alley Loop race—a marathon that winds its way through town.

Five feet of snow would be enough to grind most places to a halt. But Estes said that the totals weren’t unprecedented for Crested Butte—it’s still “business as usual.”

Still, though, Callaghan said that before the storm came through, even the meteorologists weren’t shying away from hyperbole.

“The advisories were: ‘a phenomenal amount of snow will fall in the high country—six to eight feet.’ The locals had never seen verbiage used like that,” he said. “‘Epic’ was used a few times in the forecasts.”

Nathaniel Herz

Nat Herz is an Alaska-based journalist who moonlights for FasterSkier as an occasional reporter and podcast host. He was FasterSkier's full-time reporter in 2010 and 2011.

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  • Mike Trecker

    December 28, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Weather in the mountains is funny. This storm track hit CB perfectly. Aspen, just a Grand Traverse to the north and a little lower than Crested Butte, got all rain out of this storm, and only 15-20″ up high.


    December 28, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Yeah, you gotta love “The Butte.” It never fails to be snow there when other places are either high-and-dry or getting rain. That was a weird, wet, warm storm for sure. Here in Los Alamos, we got rain (very strange for late December) in town too, and about 7″ of wet, wet, super-thick snow on top of the meager base on the Pajarito Nordic trails. That finally got us in shape enough to get all groomed up and skiing….finally!

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