SJSC one of the only snowcat operations in the U.S. to open in December. However…

High Winds and Warm Temps Ruin Powder; SJSC Closes Till Snow Falls

By Carrie Rule

Our first trip of the year was December 24. We were gifted with great powder skiing.

As a young ski bum in Montana, dry spells during winter always led to adventure. I’d head north to Canada and follow the storms – getting face shots at Whitewater, Fernie and Red Mountain, hopping on helicopters at standby rates, or flying into BC backcountry huts for a week of power skinning and epic powder turns on glaciers. 

Other drought years took me to Colorado, Utah, California and even the Alps. 

Twenty years later, it’s not so easy for me to follow storms across North America. And fortunately, I don’t have to travel far to find powder, since skiing untracked lines (even weeks after the last storm) is just a snowcat ride away – until this week.

The Southern San Juans started the season with south tracking storms stacked one after another. By the middle of December, our area had one of the deepest snowpacks in the West. Since then, winds have blasted our snowcat terrain (even below tree line), warm temps have melted and consolidated the snowpack (as well as creating a killer crust), and no snow has fallen in almost three weeks. Despite this, the Southern San Juans still have one of the deeper snowpacks in Colorado.

Because of less-than-ideal ski conditions, we are not running any snowcat trips until it snows. Continue reading

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