As winter resort opening days approach, the 10-day forecast shows more snow on the way for Summit County |

As winter resort opening days approach, the 10-day forecast shows more snow on the way for Summit County

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area woke up to its first significant snowfall of the season Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
Ian Zinner/Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

As ski areas across Colorado inch closer to opening day, snow showers continue to dust mountain peaks, and weather professionals say more inches could be on the way.

Longer-range forecasts from OpenSnow, an organization that tracks snow and weather conditions across the United States, report several inches of snowfall for ski areas in and around Summit County in the coming days.

Within the next six to 10 days, Keystone Resort, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Copper Mountain Resort are predicted to get 2 inches of snow on Wednesday, Oct. 12. In that same period of time, Loveland Ski Area is looking at 5 inches over the next 10 days, and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is predicted to have 4 inches of snow fall on its peaks. 

Farther west and north, expectations are lower. At Vail, the six- to 10-day outlook predicts 1 inch, and the same amount is expected for Aspen Mountain. Winter Park is expected to get about 1 inch, and Steamboat Ski Resort is not expected to have significant snow in the next 10 days. 

“For this week, Oct. 3-7, wet-bulb temperatures will be borderline at the highest mountains that typically make snow in October — A-Basin, Copper, Keystone (and) Loveland,” Joel Gratz, founding OpenSnow meteorologist, said in a forecast. “While I am not expecting a lot of efficient snowmaking, maybe some of these mountains will fire up their snowmaking systems for brief periods.”

The first dusting of the year, since spring runoff came to an end, fell on Sept. 15, and last weekend, showers came through the area again, giving Summit County’s highest peaks a light blanket of snow to start the new water year. Water years begin on Oct. 1 each year.

Last water year, Summit County was facing a feast-or-famine snow scenario throughout the winter. Much of Colorado’s Western Slope experienced snowfall in October, immediately followed by a dry spell that lasted until late December. 

This year’s first snow is slightly lagging behind last year’s, when an unusually early snow system hit the peaks above tree line, but this year’s totals remain on par with other years. In 2021, the first dusting came on Friday, Aug. 17. In 2020, the first snow fell Sept. 8, and in 2019, the first flakes were spotted Sept. 12, according to local ski areas’ social media accounts. In 2019, it snowed in the valley on the summer solstice, meaning there were only three snow-free months that year. 

For the rest of this week, the National Weather Service in Boulder is predicting slight chances of showers throughout the week, and temperatures could dip below 32 degrees every night this week. High temperatures for the week hover between the high 50s and the low 60s. The most recent reports from the Climate Prediction Center show that for the next eight to 14 days, Summit County temperatures are going to be “likely above” normal, and precipitation will be “near normal.”

“Temperatures look to be below seasonal normals (Thursday through Sunday), but nothing significant,” Robert Koopenmeiners, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said in a longterm forecast. “There is enough moisture for limited late-day (probability of precipitation), especially in the mountains. Again, nothing significant.”

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