Buh-Bye, 2022-23 Season! It’s All Downhill from Here…
We’re summing up the 2022-2023 season in one word: snow. Snow, snow, and more snow. (Does it still count as one word if we use it three times?)
This season saw above-average snowfall in Colorado Ski Country USA and a literal ton of that pow-pow-powdery stuff. A literal ton?, you might rightfully ask. Yes, indeed, we reply. We did the math!—using a handy-dandy snow weight calculator. (Yup. That’s a thing.) And in an area just big enough for you and a friend to stand in and marvel about how lucky you are to live in Colorado, 30′ of snow would weigh 2,097.6 pounds!
But we digress.
CSCUSA member resort Steamboat led the way, with an impressive 30′ of snow—that’s over two stories of snow… or five and a half Mikaela Shiffrins. Neighboring Howelsen Hill followed close behind with 25′, and the top three was rounded out by Purgatory, which received a helluva lotta snow.
And now your moment of snow zen. May it feed your soul until next winter.
SnowCon2023: A Look Behind the Snow
If you were skiing or riding at a CSCUSA member resort on April 4th, 5th, or 6th, you were likely carving turns or hitting features on a slope that our 41st annual Snow Conference attendees had a hand in making funner, faster, smoother, slicker.
Every year, in April, CSCUSA hosts the annual Snowmaking & Slope Maintenance Conference & Trade Show. The event attracts groomers, snowmakers, terrain park specialists, and industry professionals from across Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West for a trade show, workshops and seminars, organized and impromptu networking, and an awards banquet recognizing top performers at our member resorts in three categories: Snowmaker of the Year, Groomer of the Year, and Terrain Specialist of the Year.
This year’s Snow Globe finalists included 40+-year veteran Mark Gressett, a groomer at Aspen Snowmass; Winter Park snowmaker James Schold, whose brightly-colored hair makes him a stylish standout in a world of winter white; and Phoebe Shaw of Sunlight Mountain who stepped into the, er… sunlight when she stepped up and took on the task of reviving the resort’s terrain park. All three were featured in a piece by Cory Reppenhagen, 9NEWS weather reporter and this year’s opening session speaker.
Mark, James, and Phoebe represent the tip of the, mmm… iceberg when it comes to Colorado Ski Country USA, which, in our humble opinion, boasts the best skiing and riding, on the best runs, in the best snow, thanks in large part to ski industry folks just like them. And while the average snow sport enthusiast may not give much thought to how their favorite run came to be their favorite run, CSCUSA is honored to be able to bestow recognition on a yearly crop of outstanding performers.
This year was no different, with a the field of nominees was, umm… as wide as our classic Colorado bowls and as deep as the 2023 snow totals. They were:
Congratulations to all of our nominees and to our finalists. We literally couldn’t do it without you.
At Snowmass, the Battle Is for Recovery
Friday the 13th won’t occur again until October of this year, but for Ryan Garza, that was the day in 2015 he chose to get his leg amputated.
Lance Corporal Garza served in the U.S. Marine Corps and did four tours in Helmand Province, Afghanistan—and it was on that fourth tour that he suffered a life-changing wound. In 2011, Garza’s truck drove over an improvised explosive device (IED), severely injuring his right leg. Doctors tried for several years—not months, years—to save Ryan’s leg. Fast forward to today, and Ryan, who lives and receives his care in Colorado Springs, is about to participate as a snowboarder in his second National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic at Snowmass.
For veterans facing traumatic brain injuries, vision loss, and amputations, recovery can be challenging; traditional and recreational therapy-based models can help them heal. The Winter Sports Clinic, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Disabled American Veterans (DAV), earned the nickname “Miracles on a Mountainside” for its ability to get disabled veterans back into alpine and nordic skiing by using adaptive technology and recreational therapy.
In 1987, Sandy Trombetta, a recreational therapist at the Grand Junction VA Medical Center, essentially founded the clinic by taking 90 veterans to Crested Butte to experience the healing that comes with winter recreational and adaptive sports. 2023 marks the 37th year of the clinic and more than 330 disabled veterans will descend upon Snowmass to continue their journey to improve their overall wellbeing, rehabilitation, self-esteem, and readjustment.
“I was the first amputee to deploy to the war in Iraq,” said U.S. Army (retired) Command Sergeant Major Bud McLeroy of San Diego, CA. “While serving overseas in 2003, I suffered injuries to my spinal cord while rescuing wounded civilians, leaving me paralyzed. After nearly two years in the hospital, it was a long road to recovery. So, when I come to places like Snowmass and participate in this Clinic, I look at it like these people are saving lives. They are my heroes because they support me,” he added. In 2022, McLeroy earned the DAV Freedom Award, given every year to a veteran selected as the premier representative of the courage, perseverance, and determination that the event represents.
In addition to the participants, an additional 550 volunteers (ski instructors, physical therapists, etc.) descend upon Colorado from across the country. World-class instructors help veterans achieve their maximum potential based on their unique capabilities. Along the way, the Clinic has introduced dozens of veterans to future glory as Paralympic athletes.
Colorado Ski Country USA uses the tagline “A Mountain for Everyone.” And that’s certainly a welcoming motto for our disabled veterans participating in the Winter Sports Clinic.
It’s a day of skiing and riding at beautiful Winter Park Resort and a fundraiser for the High Fives Foundation, which provides support and resources to athletes who have suffered life-altering injuries.
So, like, epic fun and wicked awesome philanthropy combined?!
Yes! Just like that!!
Winter Park is known for a wide range of terrain that’s suitable for all skill levels, so there’s something for everyone at the Shred-A-Thon. And the best part? While you’re rippin’ it up on the slopes, you’ll be helping to make a real difference in the lives of people who have faced significant challenges. It’s gonna be, like, totally tubular.
I’m no couch potato. Count me in. When and where?
When? Saturday, April 15
Where? Winter Park Resort
10 Reasons to Spend Spring Break at a CSCUSA Ski Resort
Cabo? Crowded. Daytona? Deluged. Miami? $20 cocktails… and mobbed. If you’re looking to break the cycle of humdrum Spring Break destinations, look no further.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons to Travel to a CSCUSA Ski Area:
❆Too. Tired. To. Move. Durango, in the southwest corner of the state, has two top-notch ski areas within minutes of each other: world-famous Purgatory (Close to Heaven; Fun as Hell) and local favorite Hesperus(26 trails on 60 skiable acres, plus snow tubing on Marmot Hill). Make every day of your spring break multiple choice. Right answers only! Can’t get to Durango? Eldora is but a hop, skip, and ski jump away from Boulder, and it’s the only ski resort served by RTD, Colorado’s largest public transportation system. Hitch a ride on the free round-trip shuttle and get in your first run of the day while everyone else is still looking for parking.
❆You absolutely, positively wanna live that beach life. Try Arapahoe Basin’s Beach, a never-quite-ending, not-quite-winter, not-quite-summer, ski-in, ski-out tailgate at the base of the mountain. And if you want to wear your swimsuit? The Beach sits at 11,000′, so you’re that much closer to the sun. Pack your sunscreen, people.
❆You’re tired of making decisions. Steamboat Springs boasts Steamboat Resort, with its 171 trails, 4 terrain parks, and over 400 inches-and-counting of snow this season, andHowelsen Hill, Colorado’s oldest, continuously operated ski area. They’ve been schussing down Howelsen since 1915, and it has the look and feel of a classic Rocky Mountain ski area. Tl/dr: one town, two flavors. Together, they’re the chocolate and vanilla swirl cone of Colorado.
❆You’ve been eating dry cereal and ramen for months. Whether you’re a foodie or the pickiest of picky, there’s a mouthwatering meal waiting for you in the lodge. Try the bison burgers at Sunlight Mountain Resort or the Thunderbird Tacos at Powderhorn Mountain Resort.
❆You’re looking for a little culcha. Get yourself to Aspen, which boasts four ski resortsand a celebrated arts scene. Fill your cup at the Wheeler Opera House or the Anderson Ranch Art Center. Or take in a show at Theatre Aspen and a visit to the Aspen Art Museum.
❆Your dorm. There’s more to your vacay than just ski, sleep, rinse, repeat. (Although, no judgment here—we’ve all been there.) Ski or ride Telluride all day, then mingle with the locals at the base. Catch the DJ at Bon Vivant on Fridays and Saturdays or live music every day at Gorrono Ranch. Pro tip: March 15th is Telluride’s 50th anniversary bash. Visit Winter Park and your day doesn’t have to end after last run. Take an astronomy tour and, if you’re lucky, catch a falling star. Or visit the Waffle Cabin, where everyone is lucky because the Waffle Cabin is exactly what it sounds like.
❆You actually miss your family. Granby Ranch is the perfect ski destination for snow lovers of all ages. Think laid back, Western vibes in an anything-but-flat Rocky Mountain setting. From toddlers to grandparents, there’s something for snow lovers of all ages at Granby Ranch, including live music during the day and night skiing under the starlight.
❆You’ve had it with FOMO. No problem. Echo Mountain is Denver’s backyard ski area. It’s got everything you want, and it’s just down the road. Ski all day and be back in Denver for… well, whatever you want. Because Denver. Or give everyone else FOMO and visit Loveland, which boasts 1,800 acres of remarkable terrain along with free snowcat skiing along the Continental Divide. Free! Snowcat skiing! Along the Continental Divide!
❆You’ve had it with Insta destinations. Go where everyone is not. For an authentic only-in-Colorado ski area experience, look no further than Monarch Mountain. Located just up the road from Salida, CO, what Monarch boasts in annual snowfall (a lot), it lacks in crowds (not a lot). That’s code for pure, untracked powder stashes, and that’s code for fun. If you’re an experienced skier or rider, Silverton Mountain is your domestic Everest: it’s nothin’ but advanced and expert runs, top to bottom.
❆You want to try something new. Never stood on a snowboard or skis before? We’ve all been there. The fastest way to get up and get going is with a lesson. Colorado Ski Country USA resorts offer lessons for groups, individuals, just the gals, or those who want to take their skills to the next level. It’s a first time you can brag about to your friends. And spring is a great time. Think sun, think snow, think special events. Think groomers and grins and goggle tans. Think Colorado Ski Country USA.
That’s ten, folks. But wait… there’s more!
❆Cooper and Copper Mountain may be alphabetical neighbors, but they’re as different as A and Z. Cooper is an approachable family favorite, with soft, all-natural snow and newly opened advanced terrain for more adventurous skiers and riders. Go over the mountain and through the woods to Copper for three peaks and four bowls of downhill bliss, challenging terrain parks, and a wide array of runs, from bunny on up to those double black diamonds.
So, if the only mountains you’ve seen lately are mountains of empty pizza boxes, it’s probably time to think outside the… er, box. This year, make sure your last vacay of the school year is mountains of adventure and fun.
Check our Snow Report and start planning your spring break. Because here in Colorado Ski Country USA, there’s #AMountainForEveryone.
Who? Everyone! Bring friends, family, and more friends!
When? Saturday, March 18, 10:00 am–12:00 pm
Where? Little Dry Creek Trail, England Park, 7190 Osceola Street, Westminster
Wear? You’re going to want to dress for the weather (obvi), and we recommend sturdy shoes or boots, long pants, and a hat. Gloves and bags will be provided, but feel free to bring trash grabbers and buckets in lieu of bags.
Cleanup events pose some inherent dangers, and they can be strenuous. Not to worry though: your hosts (who are not flight attendants) will review the recommended safety precautions before we take off and trash starts flying!
(Disclaimer 1: Trash should not and will not actually be flying. But you will be flying high knowing that you’re helping clean the world.)
(Disclaimer 2: All bad puns are the author’s alone. Don’t blame the amazing companies who are sponsoring this fantastic event.)
Phunkshun Wear, TreadShare & Winter Park Put the Win Into Winter
Looking for another good reason to carpool?
This season, thanks to CSCUSA partner Phunkshun Wear and TreadShare, if you use the TreadShare app to carpool to Winter Park Resort, you’ll get a free Phunkshun Wear neck gaiter and your name will be entered for a chance to win a 2023-24 Winter Park Season Pass!
TreadShare is a free local carpooling app that links drivers and riders. Designed to decrease traffic and pollution, the app helps commuters build a better Colorado by sharing the financial and environmental costs of driving. (And you never know who you might meet in the back seat 😉) Using TreadShare, you can post a drive or book a ride anywhere in Colorado with just a few clicks.
How does it work?
We’re glad you asked! During the 2022-23 season, every time you successfully carpool to Winter Park as a rider or a driver, TreadShare will send you an email with instructions for claiming your Phunkshun Wear mask right there, at Winter Park. Then each successful carpool trip you provide or take will count as an entry in the prize drawing for a 2023-24 Winter Park Season Pass.
Colorado: Where Snow Goes to Live Its Best Life
There’s a reason why Colorado is the #1 destination for skiers, snowboarders, and snow sports lovers of all kinds.
There are those Rocky Mountains. The views! The fresh mountain air! The sun’s sunniness! Why, Colorado’s skies put the blue in bluebird days. (Didja know that Colorado has more days of sunshine than Florida? Yeah we do.)
Colorado is home to some of the largest ski resorts in the country, as well as some of the state’s classic Gems. (See what we did there?) And those ski areas are open longer and later than almost anywhere else, which means the aforementioned skiers, snowboarders, and snow sports lovers of all kinds—we count ourselves among them, and we bet you do too—get more days making tracks on the aforementioned Rocky Mountains under the aforementioned azure skies. (That’s right, we said it: azure.)
But we who live in this glorious state, with its glorious mountains and weather and winter destinations, know that the essential ingredient, the secret sauce that makes Colorado a skier and snowboarder’s dream, is the snow. Because the snow in Colorado is some of the best in the world for skiing and snowboarding.
Colorado’s high elevation provides ideal conditions for snowfall. Many of the state’s ski resorts are located above 10,000 feet, which means that they receive large amounts of that pow-pow-powdery stuff each year. And, because of geography, the snow that falls is light and dry. Why? A lot of the storms that bring it originate in the Pacific Ocean and, on their eastward way towards the great state of Colorado, they pass right across three of the four main deserts in the US, including the Mojave. But whether those storms originate in the Pacific Ocean or Canada, their journey over deserts and other mountainous areas consumes a lot of their moisture. And just like you, they get dehydrated.
Which means that by the time most of those storm clouds hit Colorado, they’re gasping for water. Then, thanks to orographic lift, which Wikipedia reliably assures us is the scientific name for the rise that occurs when an air mass is forced from a low elevation to a higher elevation as it moves over rising terrain, the clouds climb and, as they do, they cool and voila: snow! Flurries! Blizzards even!
And, just to close the loop on this uniquely Coloradan phenomenon, dry snow, especially at elevation, is snow that stays in good condition for longer, allowing for more consistent skiing and riding throughout the state’s longer-than-average ski and snowboard season.
That season is in full swing, and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. So get yourself a Gems Card, if you don’t have one already, and hit the slopes, you bright, bold beginners and back bowl buffs, you careful carvers and half-pipe hotshots, you freestyle aficionados and powder pros! Here in Colorado Ski Country USA, there’s a mountain for everyone, and the snow that falls on them is the best in the world.
Ski Lessons and Life Lessons and Lots of Laughs, Oh My!
If you’re anything like us, you know that feeling of standing at the top of a mountain poised on the ledge of a drop-in, skis or snowboard cantilevered into thin air, knowing that there’s only one way down and that’s… down. And you also know the feeling you get when you reach the bottom: whether you’re carving beautiful turns like Mikaela Shiffrin or stopping every few yards to check your progress, there’s only one way up and that’s… up. You did it. You did it!
The lessons we take away from skiing and snowboarding—for a single day or over a lifetime—are important and enduring. Remember the first time you rode the lift with strangers? The first time you followed your older brother into the trees? The first time you put together a whole run of perfect turns? Those feelings of self-confidence, courage, and accomplishment last for a lifetime. And there’s every reason to share those experiences with your kids.
First, there’s the obvious: skiing and snowboarding with your kids can be fun and rewarding for the entire family. It’s a great excuse to spend quality time together and a great way to bond. But wait… there’s more!
Snow sports require strength, balance, and coordination, and they use important muscle groups, including those in the legs, core, and upper body. Skiing and snowboarding can also help to increase cardiovascular endurance and burn calories, making them excellent options for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In addition to the physical benefits, skiing and snowboarding can have a positive impact on your mental health and overall well-being. Few things feel better than gazing out over a breathtaking view and taking a good, long, deep breath of fresh, pine-scented mountain air. A bluebird day—and Colorado’s ski areas have the best bluebird days—can help to reduce stress and improve your outlook, to say nothing of the sense of pride that comes from improving your skills on the slopes. These things can boost your mood, no matter what your age.
And it may seem self-evident, but in this age of technology, it’s also worth saying that skiing and snowboarding are great ways to unplug. Taking a break from screens and technology and spending quality time with loved ones in a beautiful natural setting can be refreshing and rejuvenating.
It’s true that skiing and snowboarding require some initial investment in gear and passes and lessons, but we think the benefits far outweigh the costs. And we put our money where our mouth is: check out CSCUSA’s Kids Ski Passportfor students in grades 3–6 and the voucher for two free junior rental packages from our partner Christy Sportsthat comes with it!
We’ll see you on the slopes, you skiers and riders, you powder hounds and park rats, you backcountry boarders and mogul, er… moguls. Here in Colorado Ski Country USA, there’s a mountain for everyone, and everyone benefits from a day on the mountain.
December 24 | 9:00–11:00 am
Every year, Arapahoe’s own Tele Tim (aka one of A-Basin’s best snowsports instructors) hits the slopes in his Santa gear. Catch a run with him and see if you can out-shred Santa.
December 24 | 4:00–6:00 pm
This Christmas, come to Copper. Bring your festive self for… a food drive! A torchlight parade! Fireworks over the halfpipe! A DJ spinning holiday tunes! A. Hot. Chocolate. Bar. Bring at least three items of non-perishable food to donate to the food drive and receive a Fiftieth Anniversary mug (while supplies last). It all goes down—and the fireworks go up—at Eagle’s Landing in Center Village.
December 31 | 5:00–10:00 pm Come for Christmas. Stay for New Year’s Eve, with a parade, a DJ set, fireworks, and more, at Eagle’s landing in Center Village.
December 22 | 2:00–3:30 pm Bring the kids to Purgatory’s base area to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. (Psst, kids… keep an eye out for Santa on the slopes!)
December 31 | 6:00–6:30 pm
A torchlight parade of patrollers and instructors will light up the night as they ski down the mountain. Then stick around for the fireworks, the festive music, and the seasonal drinks.
Join Steamboat Mountain CEO Rob Perlman and Rabbi Kolby Morris-Dahary of the Jewish community of Steamboat in a celebration of the Festival of Light. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Jewish or not, you’re invited to sing songs, snack on some sweet treats, and light the Hanukkah menorah.
December 28 & 29 | shows at 2:00 pm & 3:00 pm Slip off the slopes and stop by the Steamboat Stage for a demonstration of delightful dexterity. Our featured juggler will astound and amaze with knife juggling, hacky sack tricks, feats of balance, comedy, and more.
December 30 | shows at 2:00 pm & 3:00 pm
Prepare to be taken aback by a performance of prodigious prestidigitation. Our magician will make you laugh, he’ll make you gasp, he’ll make you say, “How did he do that?”
Celebrate the New Year Steamboat-style with fireworks and a snow cat parade, featuring the Steamboat snowsports instructors performing synchronized skiing, illuminated only by light of torches.
There’s only one person in the whole wide world who’s allowed to load the lifts without a valid season pass, and I think you know who that is. Enjoy free hot cocoa for the kids and catch jolly ole Saint Nick taking advantage of Sunlight’s free-pass-for-Santa-Claus policy.