Even experts think twice in Crested Butte’s high-risk race

Big-mountain freeskier Rex Wehrman remembers the exact moment he was scared away from competing ever again in the U.S. Extreme Freeskiing Championships at Crested Butte.

“I was taking a line through ‘Body Bag Chutes’ and wound up going off the final jump on one ski, with my other one behind me,” said the two-time U.S. Extremes champion from Summit County. “As soon as I took off, I just thought, ‘That’s it. I’m never doing this again.’ “

Wehrman, 38, managed to pull it together in midair and land the unforgiving 30-foot jump wedged between jagged rocks and thick timber, and even advance to the final round among the 2006 contest’s elite the following day. But his heart was no longer in it. And that’s no way to approach what may be the most difficult and dangerous in-bounds ski terrain in Colorado.

Wehrman now applies his extreme skiing expertise as a judge at the event, which celebrated its 18th anniversary Saturday.

Read the full story at the Denver Post.

After two days of snowing, it was a full sunny ski day in Crested Butte today. Once you escaped the crowds of the Red Lady Lift (a ten minute wait – that’s busy for Crested Butte!) and the Painter Boy area, it was reasonably clear on the lower slopes. There was a queue for the North Face lift and the Paradise runs were busy, but the East River area was great.

Red Lady Lift

Red Lady Lift at 10am this morning – busy for Crested Butte!

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NASTAR (National Standard Race) courses at 120 ski resorts across the country. The pay-per-race program started in 1968, and since then more than 6 million skiers and snowboarders have forked over a few dollars and hurtled down flag-marked slopes, weaving their way to the finish line. All ages and skill levels can compete, and the good ones earn bronze, silver, gold and platinum medals for their efforts.

Read Pamela LebLanc’s NASTAR experience in Crested Butte.

For the New England skier or snowboarder who has wondered what Tuckerman Ravine might be like with lift service, the answer is Crested Butte. Set in the beauty of Gunnison National Forest and the jagged peaks of the Rockies’ Elk Mountain Range, the resort about 230 miles southwest of Denver has a base elevation of 9,375 feet.

Its 121 trails provide well-manicured groomers for cruising and enough mountain panoramas to fill a memory card. The East River express serves up incredible vistas with fast-moving runs like Black Eagle and the half-bumped Resurrection. Bushwacker under the Teocalli lift is a wicked rolling run. Paradise Bowl is wide and easy, leading to some black diamond fun on Jokerville and signature International. Stop for a beer at the on-mountain Ice Bar restaurant and finish with a frosty apres-ski beverage at the chalet-style Avalanche at the base.

Read the full story from the Boston Globe

At 9:00 am this morning, Crested Butte Mountain Resort opened the North Face lift giving access to 250 acres of extreme skiing and riding. This opened up areas like The Glades, Tower 11, and North face! The ski patrol and groomers will be working hard throughout the weekend to open the High lift with additional terrain.

Currently, 15 lifts are up and running at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (with only the High Lift to go) giving access to 894 acres. The grooming teams have buffed out 64 trails of “Colorado’s Best Corduroy” for you to enjoy. The natural snow depth is 53 inches and you can expect the conditions on the Mountain to be powder and packed powder.

Crested Butte’s 24 hour total snow fall is 12 inches, bringing it a huge seven day total of 48 inches (4 feet!) and it’s still dumping. More snow is expected next week.

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The Crested Butte crew is packing down the 36 inch natural snow base and they’ve also been able to open seven lifts and a total of 390 accessible acres. There are now 58 trails to choose from and 322 acres of groomed terrain. 62% of total terrain is open right now and the Painter Boy Lift is slated to open tomorrow.

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