Summit County ski areas’ season snowfall lags behind averages | SummitDaily.com

Summit County ski areas’ season snowfall lags behind averages

Alli Langley
alangley@summitdaily.com
Bruce Ruff, of Golden, skis at Loveland Ski Area on Friday, April 17, 2015 and enjoys the 27 inches of snow the ski area received over two days.
Dustin Schaefer / Loveland Ski Area |

BY THE NUMBERS

21: Marriage proposals Breckenridge Ski Resort employees helped arrange this season

35: Years Loveland Ski Area’s poma surface lift will have operated before it is replaced this summer

80: Hours Keystone Resort employees spent building the Kidtopia snow fort

157: Days Breckenridge opened its chairlifts to the public in 2014-15

191: Inches of snow Keystone Resort reported this season

252: Season-to-date inches of snow Arapahoe Basin Ski Area reported April 22

278: Inches of snow Copper Mountain Resort reported this season

303: Season-to-date inches of snow Loveland reported April 22

321: Inches of snow Breckenridge reported this season

332: Rides given by Loveland’s ridge cat on the ski area’s busiest day of the season

8,500: Cookies served at Keystone during Kidtopia cookie time this season

Source: Figures provided by the individual ski areas.

Summit County ski areas accumulated less snowfall than average during the 2014-15 season and considerably less than the heavy snowfall of the winter before.

Breckenridge Ski Resort picked up 321 inches of snow from Nov. 1 through April 19, according to data provided by resort spokeswoman Kristen Petitt Stewart. That is 89 percent of Breckenridge’s ski season 10-year average of 359 inches of snow.

The ski area has received the most snow of any in Colorado, Stewart said, though it could be surpassed by the ones staying open.

Copper Mountain Resort ended with 278 inches, or 91 percent of its 25-year average of 306 inches of snow, said Copper spokeswoman Stephanie Sweeney.

Both Breckenridge and Copper closed for the season Sunday.

Keystone Resort, which closed April 12, reported 81 percent of its 10-year average season snowfall with 191 out of 235 inches.

THE SNOW EBB AND FLOW

The 2014-15 season began with an unusually warm and dry fall, hampering snowmaking efforts and causing local resorts to push back their opening days.

After ample snow in mid- and late November and the second half of December, the skies dried up with more warm, dry weather from January through most of April with the exception of a snowy end to February and occasional powder days dotting the calendar.

Despite below-average seasonal snowfall, resort officials said skiers enjoyed the warmer temperatures and sunny blue skies prevalent through the late winter and spring.

The most recent storm that brought heavy snow starting Thursday, April 16, dumped on Breckenridge and Copper in time for their closing weekends and blessed Arapahoe Basin Ski Area with 31 inches and Loveland Ski Area with 39 inches, or more than 3 feet.

According to snow telemetry (SNOTEL) data recorded by the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service on Wednesday, current high-elevation snowpack sits at 89 percent of the seasonal median to date.

That means Summit’s snowpack is much thicker than what was recorded on April 22, 2012, a record-approaching low-snow year, as well as thicker than that date in 2010. The snowpack is thinner than the above-average quantities measured in 2013 and 2014 as well as 2011, a record-breaking high year.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, natural avalanches were reported from the Ten Mile Range Saturday and a party of two remotely triggered a slab avalanche as they descended a northeast-facing slope near Fletcher Mountain.

LAST MOUNTAINS STANDING

Loveland and A-Basin remain open in addition to Winter Park Resort, which will close Sunday. Loveland will close May 3, and A-Basin plans to close in six weeks on June 7.

Because their ski seasons typically extend into May and June, direct comparisons can’t be made with the local resorts that stop reporting snowfall when they close in April.

So far, Loveland has recorded 303 inches this season and has reached 72 percent of its 30-year average season total with a week and a half left before closing day.

A-Basin has also reached 72 percent of its 10-year average season total with 252 inches recorded as of Wednesday out of 350 inches.

Spring snow isn’t over in Summit. Meteorologist Joel Gratz of OpenSnow.com is forecasting a chance of rain and snow through Saturday, and potential for moderate to heavy snow between Saturday night and Monday morning.


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