Dec 22 2010

Long live the King – Monarch Mountain 12/21/10

It was beautiful day in the neighborhood - Monarch 12/21

Your mom probably told you this but it’s worth repeating – don’t believe everything you hear. Take for instance, this last storm that’s been making headlines for ski resorts around Colorado. While it’s true that several feet of snow has fallen in the last couple of days, it takes more than quantity to make for “epic” conditions. Unfortunately much of Colorado has been experiencing a phenomena familiar to Californian skiers – something known as “Sierra Cement”. I got to experience this personally on Monday when despite arriving in the middle of a now 5 foot dump, Crested Butte skied like a 5″ day in spring. Having driven 6 hours in a snowstorm to get there, it was a tad disappointing to say the least. It snowed the entire time we were in town and while it all looked beautiful and everyone treated us great we hightailed it out of town the next morning hoping for a change of luck and praying for a drop in temperature.

Now that's more like it...

Fortunately the gods decided to be kind to us and reward our efforts at our next stop – Monarch Mountain. Monarch is your classic local ski hill – super friendly folks, fun terrain and lots of hidden stashes. While the majority of visitors seemed to be sporting Texas accents, that generally only scares the locals way and leaves more untracked for those willing to go off the beaten trail. We had come expecting little in the way of powder so were immediately energized when we discovered lots of good old fashioned Colorado fluff in the parking lot. It wasn’t bottomless “blower pow” but more than enough to make our day. There wasn’t a lot of competition in the woods so we spent several hours whooping it up in the trees as the video below can testify.

After the day was done I tried to talk my compatriot into chasing some more powder at Wolf Creek but the fear of heavy (as in wet) snow combined with the incredible responsibilities of producing the most accurate snow forecast in Colorado led him to decline. Sadly I eventually made my way back to Boulder having learned once again that while you may never know what the snow will be like until you actually get on the mountain  –  if you get out there often enough you will eventually be rewarded and those are the days you’ll remember when you’re planning your next adventure…