Summit County could see a few inches of snow on Sunday
DILLON — Snowmaking began last week with Arapahoe Basin Ski Area followed by Copper Mountain Resort and Keystone Resort. This Sunday, Oct. 11, the ski areas are expected to get a lift from Mother Nature with 3-6 inches of snow on upper-mountain ridges, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Chad Gimmestad.
“We have a weather system coming through; the heart of it is late in the day on Sunday,” Gimmestad said. “There will be some winds ahead of it, but at this point, it looks like the main thing is just going to be a band of showers with the cold front Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening. So it’s probably not going to be a big snow, but there’s a pretty good chance of getting a little bit.”
Gimmestad said there likely will be rain changing into snow as the afternoon and evening cool. The rain and snow event is expected to last for six to 12 hours. Gimmestad said there will be some snow in town in the valleys but that the storm likely will bring light amounts to the area. He noted that the ground might be too warm for snow to stick in town, but a few inches could accumulate on the upper peaks.
While Open Snow meteorologist Joel Gratz shared models Wednesday, Oct. 7, that showed the storm bringing up to 12 inches of snow, his update Thursday, Oct. 8, said forecasting models now aligned to show that the storm will stay farther north in Colorado and will bring just a few inches of snow to northern mountains Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.
“The early part of next week, it will still be cool and fairly windy for a couple of days,” Gimmestad said. “There may be some light showers, but it’s not going to be much. And then it will warm back up.”
Overnight temperatures will be in the 20- to low 30-degree range at the ski areas Sunday and Monday, Gimmestad said, which are ideal for snowmaking, but ski areas will have to act fast as high temperatures will warm back up into the 50s and lower 60s by the middle of the week.
“Then, we’re unsure if it’s going to stay warm, or there may be some more weak weather systems coming through,” Gimmestad said. “We’re just gradually inching closer to winter, but it still looks like an overall kind of a mild and dry weather pattern.”
Keystone, which fired up its snow guns Tuesday, Oct. 6, has a snowmaking system that turns on automatically when appropriate temperatures are reached. Keystone spokesperson Loryn Roberson said the goal is to get as much snow onto the mountain as possible before opening day, Nov. 6.
Copper spokesperson Olivia Butrymovich wrote in an email that snowmaking at Copper is underway in preparation for early season Alpine race training that begins at the end of the month. A-Basin spokesperson Leigh Hierholzer wrote in an email that the ski area hopes to make snow again over the weekend if temperatures are cool enough.
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