March snowfall totals surpass all other months this winter, but dry weather is ahead
March was the best month for snow so far in 2021, but heading into April, weather is forecast to be warm and dry.
National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Entrekin said there is no snow on the horizon for Summit County aside from a possible chance of showers late Tuesday and Wednesday, which aren’t expected to bring any accumulation.
“It’s going to be really a dry period through at least the middle of next week,” Entrekin said. “There will probably be a little more wind coming in next week, so more wind, but not much snow.”
Entrekin said winds next week could speed up to 50-60 miles per hour over the mountain passes. The National Weather Service’s forecast for Frisco shows sunny skies through the weekend and daytime high temperatures ranging from 57 on Friday to 61 on Monday. There is a chance of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, and high temperatures are expected to stay above 50 degrees.
While April is forecast to start out dry and warm, March brought some much-needed relief for Summit County’s drought.
The U.S. Drought Monitor has a scale for measuring the intensity of drought, ranging from D0, abnormally dry, to D4, exceptional drought. As of March 30, Summit County was divided into three levels of drought, with extreme drought in the northern part of the county, moderate drought in the southern part of the county and a small band of severe drought separating the two zones.
That’s an improvement from Feb. 23, when the southern part of the county was in severe drought.
March snow totals were above what is considered normal based on National Weather Service data collected at the Dillon weather station, which sits near Dillon Reservoir and was established in 1910. Total new snow last month surpassed normal March snowfall by nearly 5 inches.
Each Summit County ski area had its best month of the season for snow accumulation in March. According to data from OnTheSnow.com, snow totals for the month ranged from 55 inches at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and Loveland Ski Area to 62 inches at Keystone Resort. At all five local ski areas, March accumulation totals were the second highest of the past five years, second only to March 2019, when the area saw a historic avalanche cycle.
Snow accumulation totals from March 2020, when ski areas across the state were closed mid-month, are incomplete because ski areas typically only report snowfall when they are open for the ski season, but the Dillon weather station reported more snow this March than last by 9 inches.
The maximum base depth for the ski areas so far this season ranges from 50 inches at Copper to 66 inches at Breckenridge according to OnTheSnow.com. The maximum base depth is 64 inches at Loveland, 62 inches at A-Basin and 59 inches at Keystone.
While March was good to the ski areas, it’s been a tough snow year overall. As the season nears a close, not all ski areas have opened 100% of terrain. Keystone and A-Basin did reach that threshold, with A-Basin making the announcement March 24.
Keystone and Breckenridge spokesperson Sara Lococo said Breckenridge’s Snow White, hike-to terrain has yet to open. At Loveland, spokesperson John Sellers reported that four trails are yet to open: Super Nova, Marmot, Rock Chutes and The Face. At Copper, some high-Alpine black and double black terrain has yet to open for the season.
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