Snow brings smiles to skiers’ faces |

Snow brings smiles to skiers’ faces

Jane Stebbins
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkFresh snow clings to trees and blankets the ground near the trailhead to the Old Dillon Reservoir Monday morning after an early morning snowstorm swept across Summit County and other parts of the High Country.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Emily Jacob knew Summit County got a good dump of snow Monday morning when she looked out her window and could no longer see a hump of hay used in the landscaping.

“I know it sounds strange,” she said of her method of determining when the snow is really good. “But I kept looking and seeing this little hump; finally I can’t see the hump anymore.”

The disappearance of the hay hump came on the heels of a cold front that moved through the High Country Sunday night, leaving up to 7 inches of snow in its path. Breckenridge reported 7 inches of new snow overnight and a total of 10 in the past 48 hours.

Copper Mountain reported 5 overnight and 7 in the past 48 hours; Keystone reported 4 inches overnight and 5 in the past two days; Arapahoe Basin reported 4 inches in the past 24 hours and 8 inches in the past 48 hours.

That’s got skiers excited, ski officials agreed.

“People are very psyched,” Jacob said.

“It’s night and day from this weekend, when it was 40 degrees out,” said Keystone Resort spokesman Mike Lee. “It’s so refreshing to see it. You look out the window and it’s all white and you go, “Sweet!’ It’s a nice Christmas present. I just hope it keeps coming.”

Ski area officials prefer natural snowcover because Mother Nature can do in one night what might take a month of snowblowing.

“We love it – we love the fact it’s still falling,” he said. “Anytime the white stuff is falling, we’re happy. Anytime it snows people are psyched.”

Copper Mountain spokeswoman Beth Jahnigen said, “Conditions were great today. People are pretty excited; they’re having a ton of fun. It’s always a great little boost of morale going into holiday season.”

Blue River water commissioner Scott Hummer is keeping an eye on the snowpack, although it’s too early for him to estimate how it will affect spring runoff.

Last year, when Dillon Reservoir stood about half full, water experts believed it would take three years to bring it back to normal.

A dump that closed Summit County off from the rest of the world rectified that problem in three days.

Monday’s snowfall brings the snowpack in the Upper Blue to 73 percent of normal – compared to 94 percent on Jan. 1, 2003, Hummer said.

“Around Thanksgiving, it was at 72 percent, then it snowed and it went up to 80 percent,” he said. “It’s been in a decline ever since, but it’s inching its way slowly up. And it’s early in the season. We’re still five months out from April.”

The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) reported few accidents along the county’s highways and roads, mostly drivers sliding into ditches or fender-benders on snowpacked roads.

“The good drivers are cautious about their speed are having no problems,” said CSP Capt. Ron Prater, adding that officers there responded to three accidents Monday. “The rest, I can’t speak for. I think we’re in good shape.”

Many of those were headed to the slopes.

“People are very psyched,” Jacob said. “This morning was definitely a powder day in the minds of just about everyone. Grins on faces, is how I would describe it.”

Today’s forecast is for partly cloudy skies with high temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees.

– Jane Stebbins

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or

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