Colorado revels in the perfect storm |

Colorado revels in the perfect storm

SUMMIT COUNTY – Twenty-four year Arapahoe Basin ski instructor Doug Vincent had the best run of his life Tuesday.

“It was epic today,” he said. Snow on the intermediate run Ramrod was “truly chest deep,” he said. “This thing is monstrous. We’re calling it the perfect storm.”

That perfect storm dumped several inches – in Arapahoe Basin’s case, almost three feet – of snow on Summit County ski areas late Tuesday and all day Wednesday. And it’s far from over.

Vincent said he saw a NASA satellite picture, “and it’s just beautiful.”

“It’s just sitting there, pumping all this moisture from the gulf (of Mexico) up and around.”

Forecasters say the snow will continue through today, with a new system set to move in Friday.

Ski areas haven’t seen this much snow in a 24-hour period in several years, some representatives say.

“Our guys up on top say this is the biggest snow at Keystone in a 24-hour period in five years,” said Keystone spokesman Mike Lee. “This is more in keeping with the way Colorado should be, unlike the last five years.”

Loveland Ski Area broke its 24-hour snowfall record by two inches Tuesday. Twenty-six inches of snow fell there, two inches more than the 1986, 24-hour record of 24 inches.

Arapahoe Basin’s Vincent said he hasn’t seen conditions like this in about a dozen years. It bodes well, he said, for a long season at the Basin, renowned for it spring skiing. The Basin aims to stay open until the Fourth of July each year but hasn’t done so since 1997.

“Now, it’s June, easy,” Vincent said. “If we keep getting snow, we’ll try to stay open all year.”

And the snow comes at the most critical and busiest time of year in the High Country – spring break, when thousands of college students from throughout the country descend on the slopes.

Despite the heavy snow and crowds, local Colorado State Patrol officers say they haven’t seen any serious highway accidents. On the other side of the Continental Divide, however, Sgt. Jon Sandridge said Tuesday afternoon, “it’s been ugly and getting uglier.”

By 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, CDOT officials had closed Interstate 70 in both directions from Silverthorne to the Morrison exit near Denver, and cars heading east were directed to get off in Silverthorne. Vail Pass remainded open throughout Tuesday and was still open as of 7 p.m., although Loveland Pass and the Dillon Dam Road were closed all day. The storm also forced the cancellation of flights out of Denver International Airport and closed schools in Summit County and up and down the Front Range.

Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

Snow by the Numbers

Road conditions

– In Summit County: (970) 668-1090

– Statewide: Toll-free: (877) 315-7623

– Internet:

Snowfall Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon

– Arapahoe Basin: 32 inches

– Breckenridge: 15

– Copper Mountain: 20 inches

– Keystone: 16 inches

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