Edit by, Conor Toumarkine
Curletti, a magnificent walrus of a mountain, is raised in the Far East Parking lot every ski season as snow plowed from the lot is piled high to make way for the sprawl of cars that pack the valley floor on powder days. By midsummer this man-made megalith begins collapsing under its own weight like a giant pruning star, becoming denser and denser until its own gravity seemingly draws in all of the lost and discarded artifacts of the previous winter.
Encased in a nearly impenetrable crust of beer cans, broken sunglasses, chapstick cartridges, ski gloves, and grit: Behold The Blackened Behemoth!
With a cumulative snowfall of 510 inches at the base of Squaw this year (810 inches on the upper mountain), Mt. Curletti has taken on impressive form.
Joe Curletti, the mountain’s namesake, sees to it that the pavement is scraped each morning making way for the cavalcade of cars that sprawl out in front of the village at the dawn of every powder day. Storm after storm Joe and his team stack snow upon snow, plowing and piling it into a few choice storage locations around the lot. One notably prominent pile is the heaping goliathan located on the edge of the Far East parking lot.
In the midst of winter this monster towers as high as the former Squaw Valley Theater (now converted mostly to office space) where it can be admired from the sundeck of the Cornice Cantina Bar and Grill. One year the great stealthy steamer received so much admiration from the deck of the Cantina that there began, among a few regular patrons of the bar, a wager regarding the true resilience of this unnatural ice burg in the meadow.
The concept for the game was inspired by the one and only Borto (or Bortto, or Borrto, damn I’m not really sure how it’s spelled) Squaw Valley’s own “Dude” if you will. The Mt. Curletti Meltdown was then crafted and installed in its existing form by Jumbo, the owner of the Cornice Cantina. The rules are as follows: Choose a date (or dates) upon which you believe no visible evidence of the glacier will remain, then stake a small donation and the reputation of your predictive capacity upon the weather’s fortune and watch as the Mt. Curletti Glacier sweats it out over the summer months. (Attempting to influence the meltrate of Curletti by any artificial means is strongly discouraged)
It’s first come first serve and winner take all for the Mt. Curletti Meltdown. Get in the game early and you can choose as many days as you want for one or multiple piles of snow. This year the piles in play include The Papoose Pile (Mt. Curletti proper) and the Ski Jump Pile (located at the base of the 1960 Olympic ski jump). Winning The Curletti Meltdown, while considered a great honor, can sometimes turn out to be a bit of a hole in one. Other people at the bar may expect you to pay for their drink so time your meltdown celebration carefully.
There are still a few days left on the calendar to pinpoint a meltdown. Last year’s pile vanished on the 19th of August. With the kind of heavy winter and late blooming summer we’ve had this year it’s hard not to think that Mt. Curletti 2011 is on pace to set a new record. (some of the later meltdates are still available if you think there is hope for September, F.Y.I.)