Tom Ross: Former Steamboat resident is in the thick of it |

Tom Ross: Former Steamboat resident is in the thick of it

The residents of the fishing village of Cordova, Alaska, are coping with more snow this winter than they are accustomed to. Heavy winter rains are more typical in Cordova than relentless powder dumps.

The buzz in Cordova, Alaska, this week was all about the heavy snow, and former Steamboat Springs resident Cathy Long is helping the residents of the little community on Prince Williams Sound stay in touch.

Her blog and Facebook page, Cordova Buzz, have become a communication hub for the community she just arrived in last May.

Long, who knows a thing or two about heavy snowfall in Steamboat, has dubbed the relentless in Cordova this winter "Snowpocalypse."

"This is a closely knit town. People usually expect a crippling amount of rain coming down and a lot of darkness," Long said by telephone Thursday night. "If there's anything happening in town, say quilting night, everyone shows up.

"We have quite a bit of the white stuff this winter and no place to put it. A dump of two or three feet is pretty typical, but 18 feet of snow is a bit much."

If you were wondering who kidnapped Steamboat's Champagne Powder this winter, look no further than the southeast coast of Alaska and towns like Cordova and nearby Valdez. Valdez has had 26 feet of snow this winter. But Cordova, closer to the open ocean, is better known for rainy winters, and the 176 inches of snow mixed with 44.24 inches of rain that have fallen since Nov. 1 is becoming more than a burden.

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Cordova residents did not have enough shovels and scoops this week to remove the heavy snow from rooftops that weren't engineered to manage the extra weight. So the town obtained a snow-melting machine to create room to store additional snow.

Long lived in Steamboat for three winter seasons and one summer until she and boyfriend Micah Renfeldt moved to Cordova in May. They met while working as rafting guides in Denali National Park.

She worked for a ski shop here and did its marketing. Today, she handles public relations and marketing for Cordova Wireless Communications and the Cordova Telephone Cooperative.

Long has a passion for social media and saw an opportunity to use her skills to strengthen community ties in her new home.

The traditional weekly newspaper in Cordova was struggling and mostly published carried stories from the Anchorage News, Long said. It temporarily closed last year.

"The Cordova Times was the oldest newspaper in Prince Williams Sound," Long said.

When a local couple revived the newspaper, Long helped the new owners create a Facebook page of their own.

One enthusiastic Facebook friend posted, "The updates from the Cordova Times has been great. Cordova has shown the world the best side of Alaska. Its people."

"We love our newspaper," Long agreed.

Cordova also loves its little ski area — Mount Eyak.

"Skiing was amazing here on Thanksgiving and then again on New Year's — Steamboat-style dry, waist-deep powder. But it got to where your skis were on the snow while you were riding the chairlift. The ski hill has been closed ever since the second (of January)."

I know the people of Cordova are really up against it this month, but isn't too much snow a problem you and I would like to have right now?

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email


Check out former Steamboat resident Cathy Long’s updates on Cordova, Alaska’s “Snowpocalypse” at

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