Storm brings smiles to snowriders’ faces
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY ” A winter storm that brought 3 to 10 inches of snow to Summit County’s ski slopes is expected to peter out today. But a second storm is on its heels, and is expected to dump another 2 to 5 inches on the mountains.
The snow brought smiles to the faces of skiers and boarders throughout the county Thursday morning.
“It had been lightly snowing all afternoon (Wednesday), and when I got home and took the dog out, it was dumping,” said Emily Jacob, spokeswoman at Breckenridge Ski Resort. “I was crossing my fingers that it would keep snowing overnight and woke up this morning and it was snowing again.”
Wednesday and Thursday’s snowfall won’t enable Breckenridge Ski Resort officials to open more terrain. The only trails still closed are at the upper elevations of Peaks 7 and 8 and some south-facing trails on Peak 8.
“It’s great today ” the fresh powder, no ice, real fresh snow,” said Paul Sorensen of Lake Wales, Fla., who was skiing at Breckenridge Ski Resort. “I got probably three runs of first tracks. It was awesome. This is what everyone has been waiting for.”
Dana Stokien of Libertyville, Ill., agreed.
“It’s good; there’s a decent amount of snow, the sun’s out, it’s good weather,” he said. “Hopefully, it’ll keep coming for the rest of the week.”
As weather forecasters predicted, the bulk of the storm struck the northern and southern parts of the state Wednesday night, dumping 10 to 14 inches of snow in the southern mountains and 8 to 16 inches in Steamboat Springs and in the Flattops north of Glenwood Springs.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) closed Loveland Pass, forcing trucks carrying hazardous materials through the Eisenhower Tunnel at the top of each hour. Semis throughout the Interstate 70 corridor had to abide by chain laws.
The Dillon Dam Road was closed much of the day Thursday, forcing drivers to take I-70 to Silverthorne, where traffic along Blue River Parkway was backed up from the interstate exchange to Fifth Avenue. Traffic along Wildernest Road was backed up as far as the eye could see from town.
Avalanche forecaster Nick Logan issued an avalanche warning Wednesday night for the San Juan Mountains where the danger is rated high.
Locally, avalanche danger below timberline is rated low with the exception of slopes of 35 degrees and steeper, which are rated moderate. Above timberline the danger is considerable, Logan said, and high danger lurks on northwest, north and northeast slopes, slopes that have been cross-drifted by wind and steeper gullies.
The snow brought up to 2 inches of precipitation in the form of water, which will likely stress weak layers in the existing snowpack, Logan said.
“Backcountry travelers need to be very careful of any terrain steeper than 30 degrees that has seen more than 8 inches of new snow or has been recently drifted,” he said.
Forecasters predict the northern mountains will get a trace to 2 inches of snow Friday, with most of it falling in the Steamboat Springs area.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or
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