Warm and sunny early this week, but will Summit have a white Christmas?
The week of Christmas is starting off warm, with high temperatures forecast in the low to mid-40s. That compares to the average high temperature of 31.7 degrees for the month, according to National Weather Service records dating back to 1910.
The month has one record high under its belt — 55 degrees Dec. 4 — and we won’t set any new records this week thanks to a storm system that is expected to move into the area Wednesday night, bringing fresh snow just in time for Christmas.
Before the storm arrives, Summit County can expect a few breezy days, with winds gusting up to 24 mph Tuesday and 29 mph Wednesday, according to the Weather Service.
Then the fun begins Thursday, according to Open Snow meteorologist Sam Collentine.
“We’ll likely see light snow showers throughout the day ahead of heavier snow on Thursday night,” Collentine wrote in his daily Interstate 70 blog.
Collentine wrote that the cold front, a shift in the wind and the jet stream overhead will combine to bring double-digit snow totals along the I-70 mountain corridor.
“As of now, I’ll go with 4-8 inches for most locations and 6-12 inches for areas further west, such as Breckenridge, Copper, Vail and Beaver Creek,” Collentine wrote.
The next round of snow is expected to arrive as early as Christmas Day, with additional chances for snow likely into early January.
All that fresh snow will be a welcome sight at area ski resorts, which are working to open additional terrain headed into the holidays.
Most Summit County ski areas have fewer trails open as of Dec. 20 than on the same date last year. The one exception is Copper Mountain Resort, which has 71 trails open compared with 65 last year. The resort also has just more than 2 feet of additional snow this year compared with last.
At Breckenridge Ski Resort, the mountain has 10 fewer trails open than last year but eight more lifts to move people up the mountain and about the same amount of snow.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s snow base and open lifts are about the same as last season, but it has seven fewer trails open than on the same date in 2020.
But it’s Keystone Resort that is struggling the most heading into Christmas weekend. The resort has four fewer lifts, 32 fewer trails and 29 fewer inches of snow than on the same date in 2020.
Loveland Ski Area, just over the Continental Divide from Summit, is faring a bit better than last year, with four additional open trails and 20 additional inches of snow.
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