Thursday, January 17, 2019

Breckenridge Ski Resort’s ‘epic’ winter keeps getting better as it nears 200 inches for the season

Summit Daily

The winter weather is piling up across Summit County, boosting area snowpack and putting Breckenridge Ski Resort dangerously close to surpassing 200 inches for the season so far.
By Wednesday afternoon, most local ski resorts had seen a couple inches of new snow from the fresh round of wintry weather on top of what's already being cast as one of the best winters for Summit County in decades.
How good has it been? Prior to Wednesday's storm, Breckenridge Ski Resort was reporting 191 inches of snowfall this season with over a foot of new snow in the last seven days.
Resort spokeswoman Sara Lococo called all that snowfall "incredible," especially considering the resort didn't reach 200 inches during the 2017-18 ski season until March 24 last year.
"So, needless to say, nearing the 200-inch mark in mid-January is pretty epic," Lococo added. "In addition, springtime — and specifically March — can typically be some of our snowiest times of the year so there is still a ton of great skiing and riding to look forward to at Breck this winter."
Short for "snow telemetry," the SNOTEL totals in and around Summit County are showing above average snowpack for winter 2018-19.
The totals come from an automated system operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture with hundreds of sites that have snowpack and related climate sensors across the West.
"Conditions are generally above normal," said Brian Domonkos, the agency's snow survey supervisor for Colorado. "We don't have an official number (for Summit County proper), but I gander that the numbers are about 110 to 120 percent of normal looking at the group of sites in the area."
At Copper Mountain, the SNOTEL reading is at 130 percent of normal. Near Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, the Grizzly Peak is also reading at 130 percent of normal. Meanwhile, the Freemont and Jones passes are both at 120 percent. Just across the county line, Loveland Basin's snowpack stands at 110 percent of normal.
Statewide, Colorado's snowpack is about 95 percent of normal. The driest places in the state are along the the southwest corner of the state. Compared to last year, the numbers still look "pretty good," Domokos said.
"This time last year, snowpack was not very good at all," he explained. "Will 80 percent of normal help overcome deficits of last year? No, but it's definitely an aim in the right direction."
Looking ahead, meteorologist Joel Gratz of is predicting another system will bring more snow to the mountains Thursday evening into Friday night. He believes the storm will likely favor the southern and central mountains before moving into the northern mountains later in the day Friday.
"Accumulations of 5-15 inches still looks like a good forecast with the best powder for most areas on Friday and also powder on Saturday morning for the northern mountains as northwest flow should bring some accumulation after the lifts close on Friday," Gratz wrote in his latest forecast.
He added that the High Country should expect a dry weekend with the next weather system bringing a potential for more snow on Monday and Tuesday.
The system doesn't appear to have as much moisture as this week's storms, according to Gratz, who thinks the system may hit the northern and eastern mountains the hardest.
While there's "plenty of uncertainty" surrounding what might happen next week, Gratz said he sees a "good potential" for more snow.
Courtesy Summit Daily.