Snow brings ‘giant smiles’ to Summit County resorts |

Snow brings ‘giant smiles’ to Summit County resorts

The ABasin ski patrol team doing avalanche control work up high on the East Wall. The Wall opened shortly after that with epic spring powder conditions.

It’s been a ski season to remember, many agree, but is it one for the record books?

Not quite, according to the data.

But snowfall totals across Summit County do come close to 10-year averages, making it one of the better seasons in awhile.

“I went out on the mountain on Monday and it was some of the best powder I have ever experienced since living in the High Country,” Arapahoe Basin spokeswoman Kimberly Trembearth said. “Our COO (Alan Henceroth) simply used the word ‘perfection’ to describe the mountain over the past few days.”

A-Basin has recorded 310 inches to date, which approaches the 10-year average of 350 inches but falls short of the 1979-80 record season when 550 inches of snow dropped to the ground.

On the other side of the Continental Divide, Loveland Ski Area has racked up some higher numbers – 440 inches of snow have fallen so far this year. That’s compared to 486 inches on the ground at the end of March during the record season of 1995-96.

“We are not on track to break our record, but we are not too far off, either,” Loveland spokesman John Sellers said.

Austyn Williams at Breckenridge Ski Resort said it’s been nothing but smiles – “giant smiles” – on ski patrollers’ faces and “big fatty skis on their feet” this season.

The resort has seen 50 inches in seven days, marking a season total to date of 458 inches. That beats the 10-year season average of 347 inches, and approaches the 17-year season record in 1995-96 of 504 inches.

“During this season I have had my cake, which was unbelievable, and then I had the icing which was awesome but the last couple days coming from this last cycle has literally been the cherry topping one of the most incredible seasons at Breck,” said Mike Waxler of the Breckenridge Ski Patrol.

Likewise, Copper Mountain has beaten its 10-year average of 280.5 inches – 341 inches has fallen so far this season. It falls far short of the 1984-85 season, when 432 inches of snow fell, but the most recent storm cycle’s 29 inches of snow didn’t leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

Copper spokesman David Roth said the season has been about building memories – the best part of skiing, particularly given everyone’s different taste buds for fun.

“My mother is in town on her yearly spring visit,” Roth said. “Suffice it to say, she’s not really a hard-core skier. She prefers sunny, warm days and skiing groomers, whereas I am pretty much the opposite – the snowier the better, the more powder the better.”

Roth skied the remaining powder in the trees as his mother made her way down the groomed trails, Roth said.

“In my mind, that’s one of the best aspects of the sport of skiing – the family memories, being outside enjoying our public lands, and creating memories that will last a lifetime,” he said.

Keystone Resort has also smashed its 10-year average of 208 inches this season with 331 inches so far. It’s also well above its yearly average of 240.

“It has been the best season ever,” Keystone spokeswoman Justine Spence said. “It doesn’t happen every year that you surpass your 10-year average.”

Keystone is ending its solid season in style, offering buy-one get-one-free lift tickets for $97 from Monday through its closing day on April 10. Also, be sure to check out the Keystone Slush Cup – an end-of-season pond skimming celebration – taking place on April 10 from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Irie Still will serve up some reggae tunes throughout the event. For more information or to register, visit On April 9, Robert Earl Keen plays a free concert at River Run.

Ryan Wondercheck contributed to this story.

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