A Red Hot Time In South Fork

Colorado had the snow last winter

Published in the October 2010 Issue Travel

AloneWhile several areas in the West were suffering through a light to medium blue (which, naturally enough, gave us snowmobilers the blues), February last winter we found a spot that was dark purple, even red at the highest elevations.

Yes, dark purple (and red) is good when it comes to snow depth-at least as it's measured on www.nohrsc.nws.gov. If you go to the "Interactive Map" button on the left side of the page and then click on the pull down menu on the left, you can choose a date from last winter and see what we're talking about.

Choose the date Feb. 8, 2010 and zero in on southwest Colorado and you'll see exactly what we're referring to.

Amazing sceneryYou know sometimes, how you just hit an area at the right time and the snowmobiling is absolutely superb? That was South Fork, CO, for us last February.

You know it's going to be a good day of riding when you're busting powder on the groomed trail. And we had two days of busting powder, sometimes so deep stand-up riding was a must so we didn't drown in the light, dry champagne powder, and so we could see where we were going.

Snow parkIf that doesn't pique your interest enough, then go to the government's snotel website (www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/) and navigate your way to Colorado's Wolf Creek Summit snotel site and just take a look at the snow depth for the past snow season. You'll see that the first measurable snow hit the area Oct. 8 and finally melted June 8-that's eight months of snow on the ground. During our two days of riding the area south of South Fork, there was an average of 83 inches-nearly seven feet-of snow on the ground. Less than two weeks later that total was 102 inches.

You might be thinking, "Wow, if they would have just waited a few days to go riding, the snow would have been even better." Perhaps, but you won't hear any complaints from us.

The snow was deep, mostly untracked and had a great base for awesome off-trail riding, which we did a lot of, especially on our second day when we barely remember hitting anything groomed.

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