April 12, 2014

Thoughts From the Season


Another season is over and in the books here in Crested Butte.  No it’s not the end of winter.  The backcountry is going off right now. It will snow again, and Facebook and Instagram will blow up with pictures and status updates such as “SNOW!! WOOOOO!!!” or “WTF?!?! It’s snowing in May. OVER IT.”  However, the resort is closed, and believe it or not, we are sentimentally looking forward to summer.


Will Dujardin enjoying sampling the goods this February. Photo: Trent Bona

Winter came back!  After two painfully dry winters, decent snowfall returned to the Gunnison Valley.  The season was not outstanding statistically speaking.  CBMR reported 295 inches.  But when the snow came, it came in warm and WET, which created a great base and a decently stable snowpack.  Silver Queen opened December 9.  North Face and High Lift were open before New Year’s.  Third Bowl opened January 15th for the first time in years.  Ski Patrol did an awesome job opening and maintaining our terrain throughout the year.  Big thanks as well to the Snowpackers.  The pass price slash meant they were not getting the same payback ratio, but they crushed anyway.  The storm cycle in early February was historic.  March wasn’t too shabby either.  Despite a very warm April so far, we will be skiing well into June.  The Colorado Snowpack Report is currently 107% Basin Index for the Gunnison River Basin.  The rivers will be awesome.  Perhaps we wont have to tip toe around fire danger this summer (don’t be a dumbass though).


Jamie Salter sending. Photo: VisionQuest

CBMR’s Marketing team amped up the effort this year, and the results were substantial.  Prop’s to the resort for cutting the season pass price in half.  Not only did the move result in increased sales in CB, Gunnison and Montrose, it seemed to increase goodwill between CBMR and the community in general.   Skier visits were up 19%, while lodging rose 26%.  Great snow, increased marketing efforts, and skiers wanting to avoid the junkshow that is I-70 brought an increase in front range skiers as well.  In addition, CBMR and local businesses teamed up to win Powder Magazine’s Ski Town Throw Down.  The resulting buzz continued into the winter as the snow piled up.  March brought the highest ever daily ticket sales and general revenue ever for a single month.

Like a lot of things, the terrain parks were stronger this year than they have been in years past.  Ample snowfall allowed for more jumps and features.  The park crew switched things up often to keep it interesting.  However, we still have a surplus of unused rails sitting at the top of the park.  Let’s use them!  Also, as a skier and a freeride coach, I have to express tremendous disappointment in the usage (or lack there of) of the Coke Zero Airbag.  The Airbag is a tremendous tool for both local programs and tourists alike, that we are not using to enhance the tremendous talent in our area.


Aaron Blunck with parents Lisa and Michael after clinching an Olympic spot.

Crested Butte athletes are crushing on the biggest stages in skiing.  Aaron Blunck and David Chodunsky represented our country at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, along with Dr. Gloria Beim, who went as the Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Team.  Francesca Pavillard Cain had a successful rookie year on the Freeride World Tour, taking 7th overall.  Next year she will be joined by snowboarder Mary Boddington, whose victories at Crested Butte and Telluride have propelled her to the big show.  The Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team is growing fast and fostering incredible talent, as evidenced by the nine skiers sent to the IFSA North American Finals.  The Western State Colorado University Mountain Sports Team (of which Francesca is a part) is producing as well.

Overall, it was a fantastic year at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  Great things are happening.  After a handful of economically slow years, the resort and town have bounced back in a big way.  The Mt. Crested Butte Performing Arts Center and the Grubstake Building project seem very promising as well.  It’s a great time to be in the valley, and it does not seem like this momentum is stopping anytime soon.  Appreciate the breather provided by the off season, and go do something cool in your time off (if you have any).


There were a lot of days that started like this. Note the smiles. Photo: Trent Bona

About the Author

1. Ed Dujardin
After moving out west for college, Ed took summer school so he could spend winters in Crested Butte. These days, he coaches the Western State Colorado University Freeride Team, and spends as much time as he can fishing the incredible rivers of the area.