Offseason Explorations: Part 1
With the offseason here, I got to thinking about some of my past offseason adventures, and I realized how much I enjoy the ebb and flow of a ski town. There will be times when every hotel and condo is occupied, the restaurants are full and work is easy to find. A week or two later and it is the exact opposite. That’s life in a town like Crested Butte, and you have to love it and be prepared for it if you are going to live here. I think it presents a great opportunity to make a living but also provides time to explore the rest of the state and beyond…
Every year in April, the ski resort closes down and Crested Butte turns into a relative ghost town. This time of year is actually quite enjoyable, the crowds are gone and town is quiet. In between snow storms, we get nice sunny days in the 50s and there can be good fishing opportunities. It is actually a great time to be around town, I don’t feel that I have to leave to escape anything; however it is also nice to enjoy some warmer climates if you have the opportunity. While it is still winter above 9,000 ft in Colorado, spring is in full swing in other parts of the country.
I grew up in southern Missouri near the Ozark Mountains where spring starts in February and by April temperatures can be near 80 degrees. This area has about as much water as anywhere in the states, from large lakes and rivers to smaller streams and stillwater. One great spot is the Eleven Point River. The river is fed by the 10th largest freshwater spring in the world which turns this normally warm water river into a great trout fishery. There are about 20 miles of productive trout water downstream from the spring and a wild population of rainbow trout that are very aggressive. Canoes are the most efficient mode of travel and we spent four days during the week on the river and did not see another person camping, only a few people floating through. It was April, the weather was warm, the dogwoods were blooming, and we were wet wading in our bathing suits catching wild trout in the middle of the Mark Twain National Forest. This is just one of many great places to extend your summer when the snow is still flying in the high country.