Posts Tagged ‘snow report’

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 …

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

Last Minute Last Dollar Hut Opening!

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

What’s typically one of our busiest weekends of winter, Presidents’ Day weekend has a last minute opening at the Last Dollar Hut. We’re in the heart of winter with plenty of new snowfall and skiing into the huts couldn’t be more picturesque.

Last Dollar Hut (10,980′) sits 300 feet and 1/4 mile above Last Dollar Pass. There are direct views across the San Miguel River canyon and the north faces of the Wilson Range.

Last Dollar Hut is also our furthest hut west and closest to Telluride. So make some turns at the Telluride Ski Area and join us for a night at the huts.

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.

San Juan Snowpack: Be Aware Out There

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Early season snow that evolved into a layer of large, weak faceted grains is lurking beneath the surface on nearly all aspects and elevations. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center states that while the new, upper snow layers from recent storms are gaining strength, those faceted layers beneath are not, making for a dangerous snowpack. So be on high alert in the winter backcountry and hone your avy skills with this quintessential case study, digging pits and studying snow crystals out of danger’s way.

Faceted grains are not our friends

Never taken an Avy I course? Now is the time. Matt Wade of Peak Mountain Guides is offering an Avy I hut-based trip at our Ridgway Hut, Feb. 23-26. The perfect winter classroom, and with this season’s snowpack, the perfect snow study.

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

Pacific storm approaching the San Juans

Monday, December 12th, 2011

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, is calling for snow for the San Juans beginning this afternoon and continuing through Wednesday afternoon. This Pacific storm could bring snowfall accumulations ranging from six to 12 inches in the high country … where the huts are located! Cross your fingers and think snow!

Hut approaches are in stellar condition

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Wondering what the snow conditions are like up high in the Sneffels Range? The double track road approaches to the huts are snow packed and fast, making simply the journey to the huts an athletic and visual experience—taking in the Mount Sneffels Range views from these approaches are unbeatable. A true San Juan Mountains experience. Once you’ve reached the hut, explore the terrain surrounding. We have route descriptions and GPS coordinates for surrounding tours.

Mount Sneffels seen from the road into the Blue Lakes Hut

But, as always, be prepared for early season dangers like hidden obstacles and unstable snowpack. And, as always, be backcountry aware and prepared for winter travel.

Willow Swamp & Mount Sneffels Range on Route to Blue Lakes Hut


Regional avy classes are filling fast

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Digging a pit in the Silverton area.  Photo by Matt Lanning

Regional avy courses are filling fast—is yours booked? Check out Silverton Avalanche School, Southwest Adventure Guides and Peak Mountain Guides for Level I and II courses. Classes begin mid-December and run through the winter. Best to take a Level I or II, a backcountry ski  or rescue course early in the season so you can put your knowledge to the test. After avy school graduation, come stay with us for half price at one of our five Sneffels Range backcountry ski huts. A perfect classroom for avy observation, digging pits, studying snow crystals, and practicing safe ski touring protocol.

San Juan Mountains-style ski conditioning

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

It’s time to get those legs in shape for winter, and plan your San Juan Mountains ski destinations for the winter. Want to make some free turns at Silverton Mountain this year? Well, you’re going to have to stomp for it. Silverton Mountain’s annual bootpacking kickoff begins this weekend and is offered the weekend of Dec. 10 and 11. Duct tape your pants to your boots (keeps the snow out) and join Silverton’s ski patrol on the ski area to pack out the snow. Each day you work, you’ll receive a ticket for one day of unguided skiing.

With your body getting into ski mode, come trek up to our huts and make some turns on this side of the hill.