Snow expected for closing day at last open ski resort in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
While snowfall is to be expected at some of Summit County's highest elevations, Arapahoe Basin isn't expecting a powder day per se
All but one Summit County ski resort has closed for the season, yet winter conditions could last into June for some of Colorado’s highest elevation peaks.
As wet conditions continue and temperatures drop, areas over 11,000 feet could receive several inches of snow this weekend, according to National Weather Service forecaster Russell Danielson.
“It will be a very wet end of the week and especially weekend,” Danielson said. “And then it will be cold enough to snow, mainly above 11,000 feet.”
Arapahoe Basin, the last open ski resort in Colorado, is scheduled to close for the season Sunday. But the ski area could receive between 2 and 5 inches at its highest elevations over closing weekend, Danielson said, with 1 inch or less near the base. Still, the ski area is not expecting a powder day, per se.
“With all things A-Basin, skiers can expect unpredictable conditions this weekend full of mostly slush,” Arapahoe Basin spokesperson Whitney Henceroth said.
Meanwhile, at Breckenridge Ski Resort, which closed May 21, snowfall Saturday and Sunday near the tops of peaks may be between 2 and 5 inches as well, with about 1 inch to be expected near the base, he said.
Despite the forecast snowfall, snowpack levels aren’t expected to change significantly, Danielson said. Still, the snow-water equivalent in the snowpack levels remains at 140% of normal in the Upper Colorado Headwaters region, which includes Summit County, he said.
“It’ll aid ever so slightly, but it won’t be a huge change,” Danielson said. “Right now, we’re doing really well.”
Snow this spring has melted slower than usual, Danielson said, in large part due to the amount of cloud cover and precipitation that Summit County and surrounding regions have seen. Those cloudy and cooler conditions are expected to continue into this weekend, he said.
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May proved to be a wet month, Danielson said, with above normal precipitation. Though conditions can change quickly, he added, the recent slew of storms could indicate that Summit County is in for a wetter summer as well.
“While Colorado can dry out really quickly, with so much moisture already in the ground and an elevated snowpack — all that would increase chances of maintaining the wetter than normal stretch through the summer,” Danielson said.
The more moisture in the ground and snowpack, the more likely that moisture is to evaporate and develop into thunderstorms, Danielson said. Therefore, he said, the high moisture this spring could recycle through the summer.
Below 11,000 feet, conditions through the next several days are expected to be rainy, with a 80% chance of storms Thursday and Friday, growing to a 90% chance on Saturday and Sunday, Danielson said. Lightning-producing storms, however, are more likely Thursday and Friday than Saturday and Sunday, he added.
“We have been wet,” Danielson said, “and we’re still going to be wet.”
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