The snow dances have paid off: Dillon sets an all-time snowfall record for the date of 9 inches |

The snow dances have paid off: Dillon sets an all-time snowfall record for the date of 9 inches

Summit ski areas picked up as much as 13 inches in 24 hours

Skier Bruce Ruff from Golden enjoys 13 inches of fresh powder Thursday at Loveland Ski Area.
Casey Day/Courtesy photo

Kids in their pajamas and powder hounds getting first tracks were shrieking with joy at Thursday’s snow day.

The school district canceled classes for the first time in nearly two years, and only those west of the Continental Divide could make it to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, which tallied the most of any Summit County ski resort at 13 inches. (Loveland Ski Area just also picked up 13 inches on the other side of the divide.)

Copper Mountain Resort picked up 10 inches, and Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort each got 9 inches.

As of about 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the ski areas had received another 1-3 inches since the 5 a.m. reports. That extra snow will be tallied on the Friday morning report, which OpenSnow meteorologist Sam Collentine expects will total 1-5 inches.

The fresh snow has boosted base depths and total snowfall well ahead of last season at most resorts.

Loveland is leading the way on total snowfall with 139 inches and a 47-inch base. Last year, the mountain had 84 inches of total snow and a 35-inch base on the same date.

Copper is just 1 inch behind Loveland with total snowfall of 138 inches and a 48-inch base. That compares to 71 inches of total snowfall last year and a 25-inch base.

Breckenridge’s base depth is at 51 inches, and the resort has gotten 126 inches of total snowfall. That compares to a 31-inch base on the same date last year, when the mountain had just broken the 100-inch milestone with 101 inches of total snowfall.

The storm put A-Basin over 100 inches on total season snowfall with 101.25 inches and a 58-inch base — the deepest of any Summit ski area. That compares to a 35-inch base at this time last year.

Keystone is bringing up the rear with 90 inches of total snowfall and a 41-inch base. That’s behind last year, when the mountain was reporting 95 inches of total snowfall on a 33-inch base.

The towns also got a hefty helping of snow. The Dillon weather station recorded 9 inches of snow, setting a record for Jan. 6, according to the National Weather Service.

That puts Dillon’s total snowfall for January at 11 inches. The normal snowfall six days into the month is 3.3 inches, and the January average is 18 inches, according to historical data from the National Weather Service.

Continued snowfall Thursday was expected to drop another 1-3 inches in the towns, according to the weather service.

The next chance for snow is a small storm that is forecast to roll through the area Saturday, bringing 1-4 inches to ski areas.

“This could be enough to soften up the groomers and refresh other terrain that received healthy totals earlier in the week,“ Collentine wrote.

That storm is expected to be followed by chilly temperatures, with overnight lows in the single digits on Saturday and Sunday nights and in the teens Monday and Tuesday nights, according to the weather service.

All the fresh snow and wind have kept avalanche danger in the Vail and Summit zone at considerable (3 out of 5) at all elevations. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center report noted that “avalanche conditions are dangerous” and that “many slopes hold weak, collapsible layers near the ground.”

“Dig a snow pit and evaluate it before exposing yourself to any slopes over 30 degrees,” the report stated while also cautioning not to underestimate “sheltered, below-treeline slopes.”

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