Summit County ski areas get up to 8 inches of snow following first significant winter storm of the year; more snow expected to follow |

Summit County ski areas get up to 8 inches of snow following first significant winter storm of the year; more snow expected to follow

Skiers and snowboarders make their way down the High Noon run at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on opening day Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022.
Jason Connolly/For the Summit Daily News

As skiers, snowboarders and other snow enthusiasts gathered at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area for its opening day, a snow storm brought several inches of snow to kick off the first sizable snow storm of the water year in Summit County.

In Breckenridge, about 7 inches was recorded over the course on Sunday, according to reporting from OpenSnow. Loveland Ski Area recorded 4.5 inches after the storm, and A-Basin and Keystone Resort had about 3 inches each. Copper Mountain Resort topped out at 8 inches, the largest total for the ski areas in and around Summit County. Further west, such as Vail and Steamboat Springs, ski areas nearby those towns received higher totals, about 9 inches each.

Sunday’s storm also gave a boost to the Blue River’s snow water equivalent, which has been below average when compared to the 30-year median of 0.5 inches recorded historically for Oct. 24. According to the most recent data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, snow water equivalent for the Blue River sits at 0.3 inches, or 70% of the median, thanks to the weekend’s snowfall. 

At this point last year, snow water equivalent sat just above the median at 0.6 inches. As for other rivers on the Western Slope, they have jumped above their respective medians. The Yampa River in the northwest corner of the state is currently almost 200% above the 30-year median. As for the entirety of the Colorado River headwaters, snow water equivalent is above the 30-year median. 

“Sunday’s storm was a good one,”Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist at OpenSnow, said. “It was not a blockbuster storm, but it did deliver solid snowfall to many mountains.”

Throughout the next few days, there will be more chances for snow in Summit County, particularly Wednesday evening going into Thursday. 

“We will likely start the day (Tuesday) with drier weather,” Gratz added. “Then from Tuesday afternoon through Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, storm energy crossing the state, from west to east, could deliver light to moderate snowfall with a few inches of accumulation mainly over the northern and central mountains. I have low confidence in the details of this snow forecast since the storm energy won’t be strong, but (it should be) strong enough to convert at least some moisture in the atmosphere to snow.”

According to a long-term forecast from the National Weather Service in Boulder, there will be some periodic chances for snow showers across the High Country, including Summit County. It is also expected that temperatures will slowly rebound over the weekend. 

“This could support isolated snow showers for the High Country in the afternoon (on Wednesday),” Caitlyn Mensch, a meteorologist, said. “As moisture depth increases, along with flow aloft turning more winter storm messages toward the evening, snow showers will increase across the mountains.”

As temperatures are likely to remain low, fire danger in Summit County remains low, as well. According to Jay T. Nelson, deputy chief for the Red, White & Blue Fire District, Summit County is reaching the time of year where fire officials “hibernate” fire danger signs until next year.  With that said, Nelson added that they will continue to monitor the fire danger and provide updates as needed.

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