Summit County on track to get another foot of snow over the next week
November 28, 2018
A dreamy, powdery November continues the snowy run into its final days, with a few more storms and about a foot of snow expected by the time December makes its season debut this weekend.
OpenSnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz, who offers hyper-local forecasts for the mountains on his site, said in his latest report that at least three storms are expected to hit the High Country over the next week.
The first storm arrived late Wednesday and will continue on through Thursday. Moisture will move in from California and pass through Summit, guided by the jet stream. Gratz estimates the intermittent bands of snow hit their peak Wednesday night, and will drop 2 to 6 inches by mid-day Thursday. Thursday morning will offer prime powder at the resorts.
Wind will be blowing from the west-southwest, which means slopes at altitude and open toward the West — such as Copper Mountain Resort, Keystone Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area — will see the best powder. However, the strength of the jet stream means wind direction isn't as important and all ski areas should see healthy snow totals. The National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center gives Summit a 30 to 50 percent chance of getting at least 4 inches of snow by Friday morning.
The second storm will roll through late Friday through Saturday, with best conditions for skiing in Summit on Saturday morning. Southern mountains near Crested Butte will see more snow, but Summit should see at least 3 to 8 inches. The Prediction Center gives a 40 to 50 percent chance that the county will accumulate 8 inches by Sunday.
Gratz is less sure about projections of a third and fourth storm hitting the northern mountains early next week, although he is confident that it will at least be cold — preserving snow gains from the rest of this week. Oddly enough, Gratz said there is more confidence about a storm system hitting the area again toward the middle of December. But as with any long-term projection, weather is constantly in flux, so don't rely on it for planning.
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The early season bounty has been good for resort-oriented businesses, especially ski shops like Rebel Sports in Frisco.
"We're always kind of quiet in the early season, but we were a little busier than usual over the Thanksgiving week with the snow," said Bob Hufnagel, a manager at Rebel.
Hufnagel said that early season is usually slow, but the snow over the past week has definitely helped their bottom line. Looking forward, Hufnagel said that at the very least this early snow is going to create great conditions for snow at peak season.
"Having such a good base early in the season will be good for skiing this season," Hufnagel said. "It's certainly good for powder conditions."
At last measurement, Breckenridge Ski Resort led the way for current base depth at 34 inches, followed closely by Arapahoe Basin at 33 inches, Keystone at 27 inches, and Copper Mountain rounds out Summit's ski areas with 26 inches.