Colorado: The storm door is open

“You may want to call in sick and ride blue-bird powder for a few days prior to the apocalypse … ”        ~Colorado Avalanche Information Center

A potent weather system is developing for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Winter storm warnings, watches and advisories prevail across western Colorado and eastern Utah. Click on the map for more details from the NWS.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Dreams of a white Christmas will come true for residents of the Colorado high country, as a series of winter storms will potentially drop up to several feet of snow across most of the state’s mountains in the days leading up to Santa’s arrival.

Most of the mountain areas are under winter storm warnings, watches and advisories for the early part of the week, as the wintry weather is expected to culminate with a strong system moving through the area Tuesday night that could deliver some “eye-popping” snowfall rates, according to the National Weather Service, which may soon be issuing blizzard warnings in some mountain zones.

The snow will also drastically increase the backcountry avalanche danger, where special warnings may be issues. Check in with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for the latest. Already, large avalanches have been reported from a few locations, including Uneva Bowl, a popular powder skiing destination near Vail Pass.

Even before Tuesday night, the winter storm warning for the western mountains is calling for accumulations of 10 to 16 inches by Tuesday morning, with hazardous winter driving conditions expected across all the mountain passes in mountain areas, especially in the northern half of the state.

The snow comes just in time to rescue the holiday season for Colorado ski areas, which had been struggling to open even modest amounts of terrain. Most areas had seen less than half the average snowfall to-date, but new powder should help most ski areas get at least the bulk of their intermediate terrain open in time for Christmas skiing.

Some storm totals (past 48 hours)  as of Monday morning include:

  • Wolf Creek – 30 inches
  • Monarch – 17 inches
  • Silverton – 14 inches
  • Steamboat – 13 inches
  • Powderhorn – 12 inches
  • Sunlight – 10 inches
  • Vail – 10 inches
  • Keystone – 6 inches
  • Copper – 6 inches
  • A-Basin – 5 inches
  • Breckenridge – 5 inches

The series of storms should also help put a dent in the state’s serious snowpack deficit. As of Dec. 12, statewide snowpack was reported at well below half of average for this time of year, but incoming snow should boost many areas out of the red zone.



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