Snowmass is the early leader in this week’s snowfall sweepstakes, but Steamboat’s bounty is coming.
According to 24-hour snow totals reported this morning, Snowmass led the way with 20 inches. Wednesday’s storm dropped ample snow on the mountains while Denver stayed largely dry. Here’s a list of double-digit totals according to OpenSnow, an independent snow reporting and forecasting service:
- Snowmass: 20 inches
- Aspen Highlands, Winter Park: 17 inches
- Beaver Creek: 13 inches
- Aspen Mountain, Breckenridge, Cooper, Vail: 12 inches
- Keystone: 11 inches
“Wednesday night’s narrow band of intense snow materialized about as expected and Thursday morning’s snow reports are ranging from 6-20 inches,” OpenSnow meteorologist Joel Gratz wrote in his Thursday morning report. “Thursday will bring some snow showers to the northern mountains, then from Thursday night to Saturday midday, another round of snow will hit mostly the northern mountains with an additional 5-10 inches and up to 20 inches in spots.”
Steamboat reported six inches this morning at mid-mountain and 10 at the summit from Wednesday night’s storm, but Gratz is predicting another 25 inches there over the next five days, including nine on Friday and eight on Saturday. Other areas expected to receive double-digit snow totals over that period include Vail, Beaver Creek, Winter Park and Granby Ranch.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning this morning for areas around Vail, Summit County, the Sawatch Range, Aspen and Gunnison.
“A foot or more of new snow and strong winds have combined to overload our fragile snowpack,” CAIC forecaster Jason Konigsberg wrote in the warning. “Large, wide, and deadly avalanches will be very easy to trigger. Natural avalanches can run long distances. Backcountry travelers should stay off of, and out from underneath slopes steeper than 30 degrees.”
The CAIC also issued an avalanche watch for the Steamboat area, the Flat Top mountains and the Front Range.
“After a break in snowfall today, snow picks up on Friday with strong northwest winds creating very dangerous avalanche conditions,” Konigsberg wrote. “The combination of wind and snow will overload our fragile snowpack. Avalanches can run naturally and it will be very easy to trigger large and dangerous avalanches. Plan on avoiding avalanche terrain on Friday.”