Winter weather rolls into the High Country
November 5, 2013
Summit County residents woke up to clear blue skies on Saturday morning after almost a week of winter weather.
Last week, Frisco, Silverthorne and Keystone received 5 to 8 inches of snow, and Breckenridge got up to 8 inches, said Treste Huse, hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
Summit County stands at 154 percent of average snowpack so far this year. "But, again, it is very early in the snowpack season," Huse said.
Residents can expect to enjoy a break from snowy conditions for the remainder of the weekend — but may want to pull out a windbreaker.
"It looks really nice for the weekend, but there's going to be some gusty wind on Sunday, with winds up to about 45 mph," Huse said.
The mostly blue skies are expected to continue through Monday. Then, more snow is predicted to fall on the High Country.
Forecasters predict about 2 to 4 inches of snow next week in the valleys and 3 to 6 inches higher up in the mountains near Breckenridge the next week.
Meteorologist Joel Gratz predicts the heaviest snow falling late Monday afternoon through Monday night.
Wednesday could bring another shot of winter weather, with the mountains along Interstate 70 seeing the best chance of heavier snow, Gratz reported in his OpenSnow blog on Saturday.
Local ski areas have benefitted from the recent snowy weather.
Keystone Resort and Copper Mountain welcomed the snowstorms that added a natural layer of powder onto their bases for opening day at both areas on Friday. Four inches of fresh snow fell overnight at Keystone on Thursday.
On Saturday, Copper reported that another 3 inches of snow had fallen in the last 24 hours. That brought the resort's latest snow total to 8 inches in 48 hours.
Loveland Ski Area reported 15 inches of new snow since Oct. 30. This aided ski area staff in their efforts to open additional terrain on Saturday, expanding guest access to the midway unload and Tango Road on Chair 2.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area also has acquired a slew of new snow — about 10 inches from Thursday to Saturday. The snow assisted staff in opening new terrain on Saturday as well. They opened beginners access to Sundance trail, and started allowing uphill travel before and after operating hours.
Skiers and snowboarders aren't the only ones to benefit from the early winter snow. The above-average precipitation Summit County received in late summer and autumn helped pull the area out of "moderate" drought classification in mid-September.
"The moisture we have had, especially in September, really helped us out," Huse said. "We are out of the drought and aren't even abnormally dry.
"Conditions have definitely improved. But, of course, that can change depending on future weather patterns," she added.