Posts Tagged ‘Ski’

Record Highs in March Turn to Winter in April

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

March wasn’t exactly abundant in precip like it can be. But rather wind and sun defined Southwest Colorado’s weather last month with all-time record high temps recorded across the state. Today, however, winter makes a comeback with some moisture in the air and snow on the ground. Winds are accompanying this storm still with gusts reaching 30-40 mph.

What will April hold? Perhaps winter conditions. It wouldn’t be unusual for decent snowfall in April and May and …

Sneffels Half Loop Caught on Camera

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Racer Marcel Medued kept an accurate account of race stats–or rather his Garmin did. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Post-race Corona with racer Rick Murray and Joe Ryan, in the background, looking for his own. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Racer Jaimie Palmer dons a cardboard visor in true Sneffels Half Loop fashion: practical, raw and nothing fancy. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Top Five Finishers: (left to right) Pat O’Neil (fifth-5:49:30), Scott Simmons (second-5:25:44), Brian Smith (first-5:25:39), Billy Laird (third-5:39:56), and Janelle Smiley (fourth-5:45:36). Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

Post race burger and beer party with grill meister Andy Krueger at the helm serving up racers Joe Ryan, Lance Waring and Baker Bent. Photo courtesy of Summer Ruckman

After the race, Baker Bent slipped into something more comfortable, or did he? Baker’s dressed in his girlfriend’s skinny jeans. Race organizer Nikki Campbell looks on in wonder. Photo courtesy Summer Ruckman

Word on the Trail: Current Snow Conditions

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

NOAA 7-Day Forecast: Sunny.

March has been what the Colorado Avalanche Information Center calls just plainly “unusual.” Ridgway’s high temperatures this week should reach the upper 50s and near the same in our neighboring mountain towns. Spring has sprung.

The snow is still holding on the trails and “now’s the time to go high,” says Joe Ryan. Spring skiing should be shaping up and while the avalanche danger has dropped, springtime snowpack and wet avalanches are a big concern. Caution is still advised. And trips into the huts are a nice safe alternative.


Mostly Sunny

Hi 55 F

Sneffels Half Loop Race Results

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012


29/ Brian Smith of Gunnison



40 / Scott Simmons of  Durango



27/ Billy Laird of Crested Butte



12/Janelle Smiley of Crested Butte



7/Pat O’Neil of Crested Butte



13/Brian Johnson of Aspen



49/Jeff Deutsch of Crested Butte



23/Allen Hadley of Crested Butte



30/Baker Bent of Ridgway



37/ Jaimie Palmer of Telluride



19/Ray Hellinger of Pagosa Springs



42/Jim Crosslund of Telluride



32/Mike Pennings of Ridgway



6/Mark Drucker fo Crested Butte



41/Lance Waring of Telluride



8/Rick Murray of Crested Butte



18/ Lindsay Records of Crested Butte



5/Marcel Medued of Crested Butte



Joe Ryan (no bib number)



33/Tom Karpeichik of Boulder



21/Kirsten Kindt of Boulder



20/Liam Biermey of Boulder



24/Ryan Guldan of Denver



35/John Miller of Telluride



4/Gareth Roberts of Crested Butte



16/Jim Nichols of Durango



14/Gordon Rhodes of Durango



15/Keith Bauer of Crested Butte



11/Robbie Johnson of Pagosa Springs



2/ David Clark of Aspen



3/Bob Wade of Aspen



25/Brendan Trimboli of Durango



36/Wayne Peterson



39/Karen Brown of Telluride


Congratulations to all! Thank you for racing with us!

Join us this summer on the same course, without skis and with trail runners! Race details to be announced, stay tuned.


Congratulations Sneffels Half Loop Racers!

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Brian Smith (left) of Gunnison took first place with a time of  5:25:39, followed oh so closely by second place finisher Scott Simmons (right) of Durango with 5:25:44 at the return of the Sneffels Half Loop race last weekend.


The return of the Sneffels Half Loop backcountry ski race was a welcome one. Forty-one racers took the starting line and forty-one finished at the Ridgway Hut access road and the Blue Lakes trailhead, respectively, the long and short courses.

“We’d like to say thank you to everyone–it was a great race,” said San Juan Hut Systems’ owner and race organizer Joe Ryan. “The trail conditions were very good and the weather was awesome–it was a total blast.”

The bulk of top finishers hailed from Crested Butte/Gunnison and earned what San Juan Huts’ called the Butte Mutants title after they tackeled the race with grace.

Pre-race dinner fuel up in Ridgway. Skiers were getting race ready with spaghetti served by SJHS’s loyal race volutneers, who were also great cooks.

Same course, different season. San Juan Huts is planning on summer racing and hosting an endurance running race, hut to hut, Telluride to Ouray, this summer. Stay tuned for details…

“We want you back for running and biking,” said Ryan. “We look forward to seeing you all next year!”

Skiers at the start. The Sneffels Half Loop started at a prompt 6 a.m. at  dawn of  a sunny day at Last Dollar Pass.




Sneffels Half Loop Coming Right Up

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Are you ready to race? Hard to believe March is upon us, and so too is the Sneffels Half Loop backcountry ski race.

We’ve got the details covered, you only need to show up gear-ready. Bring a sleeping bag and pad for a good night’s rest at the Ridgway Elementary School gym the night before race day. We’ll have a spaghetti feed that evening before race day at the school, and transportation to the race start the day of.

After the race, there could be no better nourishment than burgers and beer at the True Grit in Ridgway. Because you deserve it.

Join us March 10!

Storms Start Rolling through the San Juans

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

“The deepest accumulations will be in the San Juan Mountains,” reads the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s forecast today. We’ll take that.

The last few weeks we’ve seen several feet of snow fall in our corner of the state and across Colorado. And while a weak system exits our region after last weekend’s storm, the next series of stronger Pacific storms will begin Sunday.

With all of this new load, still the snowpack remains very unstable. Avalanche danger is high and widely varying, precarious conditions exist. And sadly, Colorado had its fifth avalanche fatality in the side country of the Telluride Ski Area on Sunday.

According to CAIC, this recent storm “translates to an inch or more of water loaded onto a weak snowpack.” We’ll take that, too–into serious consideration.

Be safe out there.

Sneffels Half Loop is Back

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Are you ready to race? The Sneffels Half Loop is back. This backcountry Nordic ski race begins at Last Dollar Pass near Telluride and runs 34 miles to the town of Ouray finish on March 10. Racers and volunteers wanted, call 970.626.3033.

Winter’s comeback in the San Juans

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Winter made a comeback to the San Juan Mountains over the past 10 days. Overall snow totals vary area to area, but approximately three feet fell in the past three storms.  Snow above the huts is plentiful and trail access in and out is in fine winter shape. Of course, with these pulsing storms with high winds and heavy snowfall, comes high avalanche danger. High water content in the last storm should help settle out the season-long growth of faceted weak layers, but that is to be determined by Mother Nature. So while we wait…travel to the huts is a perfect alternative to poking around in high avy danger. Be safe out there.

Burn Hut

Racers get ready for the Sneffels Half Loop

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

It’s back … are you ready? The Sneffels Half Loop returns to pose a new challenge, 35 miles long. The course for this backcountry ski traverse runs from Telluride’s Last Dollar Pass to the town of Ouray making five aid station stops at our winter huts. AT, randonee or Nordic (not skate) skis are suggested for racers to take on the feat March 10.



Two courses will be open to racers, the Full Course and the Short Course. The Full Course starts at the Last Dollar Trailhead (above the Telluride airport) and entails 34.4 miles of rolling, arduous traverse to the finish at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. Total ascent is 6,630 feet and total descent is 9,057 feet.

The Short Course also begins at the Last Dollar Trailhead but finishes at the Blue Lakes Trailhead (near Ridgway), running nearly 24 miles. Total ascent is 3,990 feet and total descent is 5,498 feet.

We’re looking for racers and volunteers–visit our website or call us at 970.626.3033.