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A snowboarder enjoys freshies at Copper Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. Photo courtesy Copper Mountain Resort/Tripp Fay.

Winter storm warnings from Tuesday through Thursday in Colorado; avalanche danger to peak in the mountains

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Snow piled up in a big way at some Colorado ski areas and more is on the way. National Weather Service forecasters are tracking a moist flow off the Pacific that favors the northwestern mountains. Much of the state’s high country is under a winter storm warning, from Steamboat down through Fairplay.

The warning is in effect from 5 p.m. Tuesday to 5 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 31) and covers parts of the I-70 corridor. Snow and blowing snow will hinder traffic over the high passes in the region. Snow is expected to continue through Thursday with periods of heavy snow and strong winds.

The snow is a huge relief for ski areas and water managers. Already, some resorts have picked up multiple feet of snow. According to Colorado Ski Country, Silverton Mountain in the San Juans reported 78 inches of snow in the past few days, about double of the 36 inches reported at Wolf Creek.

Along the I-70 corridor, Copper reported a 6-inch storm total and declared a Snow Day for a special breed of passholders who can ski anytime there’s 4 inches or more of snow under the terms of a $99 season-long Snow Say pass.

Steamboat reported 26 inches and Telluride welcomed 23 inches. In the Central Mountains Sunlight Mountain saw 20 inches fall, Monarch boasted 18 inches, and Crested Butte 17 inches. Aspen Highlands and Snowmass both reported 12 inches of new snow from the storm while Aspen and Buttermilk both reported 8 inches.

The new snow has also boosted the avalanche danger in the mountains, with an avalanche warning in effect for the San Juans, the central mountains from Aspen to Gunnison and the Grand Mesa zone. Across those zones, the avalanche danger is high on many slopes. Avalanches starting in the new snow layer can easily step down into older slabs and a rotten base. A natural avalanche cycle is expected and backcountry travelers are likely to trigger slides on many slopes.

 

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