Summit reporting ‘Grade-A’ conditions |

Summit reporting ‘Grade-A’ conditions

BOB BERWYNsummit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – Plenty of frosted beards and hats could be seen around the base area at A-Basin Friday morning as a Grateful Dead “Eyes of the World” jam drifted out of the lodge – always a good sign on a powder day: “Wake up to find out … you are the song that the morning brings …”With about 100 inches of snow so far this season, it’s skiing as sweet as can be. A quick ride up Pali and a romp down through the trees between Scudder and Challenger show it’s fine out there, soft, silky and deep. In fact, it hasn’t really stopped in the last day-and-a-half, and it all adds up in the snowpack. After near-record November snowfalls, A-Basin is reporting a 45-inch midway base and the ski patrol is preparing to try and open some of the favored blacks and double black diamonds on the Pali side of the mountain.The rest of Summit County’s resorts are also reporting prime conditions – the best skiing in the country right now is the buzz. Keystone, for example, picked up 51 inches of snow in November, the most since the big winter of 1983, and the 45-inch base is at least double the historic average for this date, according to resort spokesperson Amy Kemp. Keystone also had 75 percent more terrain open than the 10-year average for Dec. 1, Kemp added.Breckenridge Ski Resort reported 89 inches of November snow at its upper measuring station, compared to the average 51.6 inches, for 172 percent of average. At the midway gauge, 69.5 inches have fallen, compared to the average 29.4 inches, for 236 percent of normal.”This is the best base we’ve had in 15 years,” said resort communications coordinator Katie Coakley. At 48 inches, the settled base on the upper mountain was 188 percent of normal as of Dec. 1. All that white stuff has enabled the resort to open 68 percent of its terrain, Coakley said, making it the best opening ever for the resort.”We have more double black diamond and steep terrain open with better conditions than we usually do. Traditionally, we open this terrain in mid- to late December. We had all of this terrain open at Thanksgiving. “While this great early season snow does not guarantee the amount of snowfall through the rest of the season, it does cause locals to be very optimistic for the rest of the season,” Coakley added.November snowfall at Copper is also well above historic averages and the highest in the past five years, according to public relations manager Lauren Pelletreau. For the month, Copper picked up 79 inches, compared to 43 inches last year and 64 inches in 2003-2004. Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at