More snow in the outlook
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A three-day snowstorm considerably brightened holiday prospects for Colorado ski resorts as well as water managers in the state, as a series of weather systems dropped several feet of snow across many mountain areas. After a couple of cool and clear days leading into the weekend, more snow could fall right around Christmas, fulfilling wishes of fresh powder for locals and visitors alike.
Some of the biggest snow totals were reported from the far northern and southern parts of the state, with the SNOTEL site at Wolf Creek now up to a healthy 42 inches. In the northwest, the Tower SNOTEL site is reporting 59 inches of snow.
Along the I-70 corridor, snow totals were a bit more modest, ranging right around 12 inches, but also helped boost the state’s meager snowpack. Even lower-elevation SNOTEL sites like Summit Ranch (9,400 feet) are reporting around 18 inches of snow. The Vail Mountain SNOTEL site (10,300 feet) is at 18 inches, Fremont Pass, 24 inches, Hoosier Pass, near Breckenridge, 18 inches, and Copper Mountain also at 18 inches.
Breckenridge Ski Area reported 25 inches of snow in the past seven days, nearly half the season to-date total of 65 inches. Keystone reported 16 inches the past seven days, and 50 inches so far for the season. Copper Mountain, which has a reputation for reporting snowfall more honestly than Breckenridge and Keystone, reported 17 inches in the past seven days and 38 inches for the season. A-Basin picked up 14 inches in the past three days.
Statewide, the snowpack jumped up about 20 percent to reach 60 percent of average as of Dec. 18, and that number should increase bit more by tomorrow. That’s not enough to pull the state out of drought conditions, but far better than just a week ago.
During last summer’s drought, reservoir levels were drawn down to well below average, so an average snowfall season won’t be enough to make up the storage deficit. Statewide, storage was at 67 percent of average at the end of November.
There doesn’t appear to be a clear trend that would suggest either above- or below-average snowfall for the rest of the winter, but at least for the next two weeks, it appears western Colorado could see some more of the much-needed white stuff.