Storm spikes avy danger, pounds Summit County with a fresh foot or two |

Storm spikes avy danger, pounds Summit County with a fresh foot or two

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

A short break in the winter blast that dumped more than 2 feet of snow on parts of Summit County Monday is expected to end today with another 4 inches possible before tonight.

The storm brought in at least a foot of wet snow for most of Summit County, making for fresh powder conditions at the ski areas, but also peaking avalanche danger in the backcountry and along Interstate 70 early Tuesday morning.

The avalanche danger rating was raised to “high” at and above the tree line in the Summit County and Vail areas, and an avalanche warning is in effect through 6 a.m. today. Natural and human-triggered slides are likely, particularly at higher elevations on the north, south and eastern slopes, according to reports from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The risk of natural avalanches near I-70 caused the highway to close in both direction for several hours Tuesday morning between Georgetown and Vail while crews brought down the snow to prevent slides. Berthoud Pass remained closed much of the day Tuesday while snow removal operations were going on.

The snow continued Tuesday morning, but let up by mid-day as temperatures climbed to approximately 30 degrees in Summit County, making for wet, slushy roads.

The sunshine is expected to be short-lived, however, as a 70 percent chance of snow today could mean another 2 to 4 inches of snow by tonight, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service.

The weather, though problematic for the Colorado Department of Transportation and concerning for backcountry avalanche forecasters, is a cause for celebration on the ski slopes.

Breckenridge Ski Resort was reporting 26 inches of fresh powder Tuesday, bringing the base to 82 inches.

“It is definitely some of the best conditions I’ve ever seen as long as I’ve been at Breckenridge,” Breckenridge Ski Resort spokeswoman Kristen Petitt said.

The resort has gotten approximately 225 inches so far this season.

Copper Mountain boasted 17 new inches Tuesday.

“It is unbelievable,” Copper spokesman David Roth said of the mountain’s fresh snow. “(This has) just been happening a lot this season.”

Keystone Resort had 4 inches of new snow Tuesday; Arapahoe Basin had 12 inches.

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