This morning we got out for a [possibly] final ski/splitboard tour on the quickly melting snowpack. After what had been an amazing backcountry winter season here in the San Juans, April brought drought and pandemic, and I actually haven’t been out snowboarding since late March! So it felt amazing to make some carves again on soft spring corn snow today.
At the end of March the San Juan snowpack was at 100% average level, but April and May have been so hot and dry that the snowpack has dropped to only 25% of average for mid-May, and a mere 13% of what the snowpack was at this time after last year’s mega winter. In other words, last year there was 8 times the amount of now as right now! [See SNOTEL data chart here].
Check out this photo below of Claudia skiing in the same place as the photo above, in JUNE last year!
Hopefully we get some weather and rain in late May and June, otherwise it could be a parched and smoky summer.
It’s been a fun December here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, with roughly 120% of average snowfall so far and many powder days on the splitboard! Here’s a few snapshots from the last 6 days of splitboarding in a row.
This week Claudia and I have been getting out for some backcountry skiing/splitboarding action here in the San Juans. It’s been a slow start to the season, but there’s finally enough snow to make some turns. Sketchy avalanche conditions out there, as usual, so we’ll have to keep things low angled and tame for the foreseeable future.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may wonder if I’ve given up on snowboarding since I haven’t posted hardly any ski/snowboard photos this winter. Well, while I haven’t been posting much, I have been out on the snow a lot this season, especially this spring! Continue reading >>
This weekend we had a wonderful stay at Eric Johnson’s Mount Hayden Backcountry Lodge. Located in Richmond Basin in a remote corner of the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Telluride, the lodge is surrounded by a powder playground of skiable terrain. With heaps of fresh snow awaiting us, we were excited to have three days to ski and splitboard to our hearts’ content. Continue reading >>
It’s off season in Crested Butte; the ski lifts are closed and the town is quiet. So when a spring storm dropped over a foot of fresh powder last week, we had the ski area pretty much all to ourselves! We spent the last four days hiking and skiing/snowboarding all the best lines on the Butte, except now there was no tracks, no moguls, no people, and no hurry – just perfect untouched pool-table-smooth powder. Here’s a few snapshots from our fun.
The ski area of Crested Butte oftentimes suffers from lower-than-expected snowfall amounts, but just 9 miles to the west/northwest the Ruby Range gets hammered with some of the highest snowfall totals in Colorado. All winter long I’ve gazed wistfully at the snow-smothered Ruby Range peaks, tantalizingly out of reach for those of us without snowmobiles. In late May now that much of the lower access roads have melted out, yesterday I finally had the chance to get out for a spring descent up in these mountains. Daniel and I hiked up and skied/rode down Mineral Point, the prominent pyramid-shaped peak visible up valley as you drive into the town of Crested Butte.
Later in the afternoon back in town sipping beer in the sun, I gazed up the valley at the peak we just descended, pleased to finally be thinking “I just rode that!” instead of “I wish I could ride that!”