Technically, we did go cat-skiing in Crested Butte. We got in a “toast rack” behind a snowcat, were taken up a portion of a mountain and, eventually, skied back down the mountain. Admittedly, we were taken up a green run (Painter Boy) to get to some blue runs – after a nice warm cup of Joe at Camp4Coffee…

The snowcat ride had been kindly laid on by Crested Butte Mountain Resort while they fixed Painter Boy Lift. We were second or third day into our trip and weren’t heading higher in that weather…

Fans came out in droves for the final day of the 2009 Subaru US Extreme Freeskiing Championships at Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR). The first stop on the 2009 Freeskiing World Tour (FWT), fifty athletes qualified for the final day in the Hourglass/Bermuda Triangle, an area off-limits to the everyday skier, but opened up for the final day thanks to the work of the Crested Butte Mountain Professional Ski Patrol. In the end, Michelle Manning and Clif Bennett both of Alta/Snowbird, Utah, would post the best-combined score to take the titles.

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The Hourglass/Bermuda Triangle is a 1,000-vertical-foot drop with a sustained pitch of 40-degrees and reaching 60-degrees in several spots leaving skiers no room for mistakes. With no traffic in the area the entire season, competitors were treated to a mixed bag of conditions from soft powder, to bottomless, punchy holes and areas of completely bare rocks and trees.

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Does this look like a typical May? Karina Steele and Jayson Simons-Jones skied fresh powder on top of corn snow on Mount Axtel near Crested Butte last week. A stormy winter left a near record snowpack which locals say may keep them skiing all summer. ( DAVE PHILIPPS, THE GAZETTE)

CRESTED BUTTE – The chairlifts in this ski town of 1,600 tucked at the base of the Elk Mountains stopped a month ago, but the skiing didn’t.

Spring is always the top season for backcountry skiing: the days are warm, a winter of snow is still piled up and avalanche danger has largely melted away. This spring in parts of Colorado, the smorgasbord of ski choices is especially abundant.

The Butte saw the biggest winter in memory. One storm after another walloped the region with so much powder that when you ask locals at Endo’s, the main watering hole, how the season was, words won’t suffice. They whip out their iPhones and flip through a string of bragging-rights ski photos where nothing is showing above a spray of snow but goggles and Sybaritic grins.

There was over 35 feet of snow, with much more in the surrounding hills. The mountains around Aspen and Buena Vista also saw near-record snows. A cool spring kept it from melting. Now, the surrounding mountains are cloaked in more white stuffi than locals have seen in 50 years. The spring thaw is slowly turning it into corn snow – some of the sweetest, easiest and safest snow to ski in the backcountry. And skiers are taking full advantage.

‘People are saying the skiing will go all summer and into the fall,’ said local Ryan Opdahl recently.”

(Read the full article: Life: Record corn harvest | snow, skiing, spring : Gazette.com:

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