Last week Ashley and I went up to my hometown of Telluride, Colorado for a few days of skiing. Telluride (and much of the southwest Rockies) had not had a great winter (in terms of snowfall) for most of 12/13. We weren’t quite sure what conditions we would get, but I couldn’t have a winter without visiting my home.
We left at 4 a.m. from Fort Worth. We began the drive in a downpour. It rained cats & dogs for about 200 miles (3 hours). After the sun came up the rain slowly turned from rain into mist. A few miles of mist quickly turned into dense fog. Fog so dense we could see only 100 feet in front of my jeep. At highway speeds, fog gets old really quick. Luckily we only had about 50 miles of the ultra dense fog. It slowly cleared up when we crossed the boarder into New Mexico. Just inside New Mexico the weather turned into wind. Sunny but wind gusts up to 70 mph. Enough to turn over a few eighteen wheeler’s. After passing through Albuquerque the wind turned into rain, which turned into a blizzard. Not a typically bad blizzard but enough to coat the warm roads in slush and snow. luckily we were still driving in the sunlight (overcast sunlight). After about 200 miles of snowy conditions the roads cleared up around Durango, CO. They quickly turned into mountainous conditions over the top of Lizard Head Pass, but nothing out of the ordinary. Needless to say, it felt like we hit every weather phenomenon known to man on the way from Fort Worth, TX to Telluride, CO.
The good news for us was the crazy weather we had driven through to get to my home was the very front of one wicked snow storm. A storm that stayed over the San Juan’s for 4 solid days. Dumping a total of 59 inches of snow. I hadn’t skied powder like that in years. In fact, I think this trip I had some of the best pow runs I’ve EVER had. One day I had 4 runs of fresh tracks in chest deep powder. Literally, chest deep. It was NUTS. Snowy powder days are the best because only the true die hard skiers are out. All the gapers stay in the lodge because “it’s to cold.”
The trip was incredible. I saw all my close friends. Ash and I had some time to ourselves to explore. All in all, a fantastic trip back home.
Upon embarking on the trip back to Fort Worth, we thought it would be smooth sailing. No weather the whole way home… or so we thought. We had been planning on staying with a close friend of mine in Albuquerque. We made it to Matt’s house without any bad weather. Whew. When we sat down at Matt’s and turned on the news we noticed a weather warning. “Huge storm to blow in overnight, could cause highway closure.” Uhhh…. Seriously?
Yep. By 11 p.m. highway 40 was shut down for 150 miles to the TX state boarder. Plus everything north and south of 40 for 50 miles. There wasn’t anything we could do that night; and I wasn’t about to go negotiate icy roads in the dark of night. The next morning we got in our car at 6 a.m. and headed further south on I-25. This was literally the only option since I-40 and everything in the top half of New Mexico was shut down. We headed down towards Roswell, NM. Luckily this route wasn’t closed but it was in bad shape. The south edge of the storm had passed by earlier in the night. We made it to the NM/TX boarder before the weather really started getting bad. In Plains, TX is when the worst hit. It was far and away the worst blizzard I had ever driven through. At times I couldn’t see the hood of my car. Everything was white. Luckily the roads in west Texas are pretty straight so I was confident we would stay on the road if I just kept my car pointed straight. A gamble maybe but it was better then stopping (bearing in mine there was no shoulder) in the middle of the road and getting hit by a plow truck or 18 wheeler. It took over 200 miles and 5.5 hours to make it through the whole storm. It was nasty. Once we hit I-20 south of Lubbok it had stopped snowing and was just rain which was a breeze to drive in compared to everything else.
The entire trip home (from Albequ. to Houston) took just under 18 hours. Needless to say, I am still exhausted from that drive. I suppose I had to pay in some fashion for the epic snow conditions in Telluride!
Enjoy the photos!