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Colorado ski areas likely to start making snow this week

Shot of cold air from Canada expected mid-week; lows Wednesday and Thursday could dip into the teens

Cold air from Canada is poised to spill into the center of the country during the coming week.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In what sounds like good news for ski resorts eager to start making snow, the National Weather Service is forecasting a strong cold front to drop out of Canada mid-week, with overnight lows dropping into the teens and 20s starting Wednesday night.

That’s plenty cold to fire up the snow guns, which have already been moved into position at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland, the two resorts that traditionally compete for opening day honors. Starting Wednesday, nighttime lows should stay well below freezing, especially at the higher elevations.

A similar weather pattern prevailed last year, with a significant snowfall dusting the higher terrain around the Continental Divide Oct. 8. Arapahoe Basin opened a few days later, on Oct. 12.

Tuesday looks to be the nicest day of the week if you like sunny and warm weather, with highs climbing into to 60s. By Wednesday, highs will only reach the mid 50s as cooler air rushes down from central Canada. At this point, there looks to be just enough moisture with the system to trigger a few showers that could change over to snow down to valley levels Wednesday night and into Thursday.

The average high temperature for this time of year is 56 degrees (at Dillon); the average low is 27 degrees. The record high for Oct. 1 is 70 degrees, set in 2010. The record low is 20 degrees, set in 1985.

Late Thursday and Friday should bring drier conditions along with some warming before the next shot of cold air arrives Friday night with another chance for precipitation and more cold air that should help snowmaking efforts.

That said, the various weather models are still widely spread, with one forecast showing a broad trough over the West that could bring an extended period of precipitation to the region. Most other models, however, show the West Coast trough cutoff from the jet stream, with less support for stormy weather.

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