As promised in last week’s update, a series of storms brought consistent snow to northern Colorado from last Thursday to this Thursday, and conditions have improved dramatically in only a week. While Tahoe is still searching for the next storm to bring it out of a sunny and dry January lull, Colorado is doing its best to catch up to the early snowfall that covered the Sierra Nevada mountains further west.
The first storm brushed northern Colorado last Thursday with not much more than a dusting. Then a very moist storm moved up from the south and covered the southern two thirds of the state with clouds and snow. While Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Breckenridge were on the northern end of this storm, they still managed to capture a few inches of snow. Since the storm was so moist, the snow was actually thicker and heavier than normal, but this was actually a blessing as it nicely covered some hard sections of the trails and the skiing was surprisingly good on Sunday. As a bonus, the moisture in the storm left many low clouds surrounding the mountains, and this created incredible views. This is Mt. Holy Cross, seen from Vail on Sunday.
The “money” storm came through on Monday as more moisture and cold air created better conditions for snow for the western resorts, with Beaver Creek and Vail reporting the deepest snow with 10” and 8” respectively. Then the fourth storm in the series moved in late Tuesday night and continued through Thursday morning, and this time snow fell from Beaver Creek to Keystone as northwest winds can bring good snowfall along the length of the I-70 corridor. Combining the new, heavier snow on Monday with the lighter snow on Wednesday made this is game changer of a week for snow conditions. The mountains are now riding better than any time this season.
Looking ahead, a storm will impact Colorado late next week, but there’s too much uncertainty to know exactly when. This same storm might hit Tahoe before arriving in Colorado, but that’s also uncertain. Keep doing your snow dances and hope for the best!
Meteorologist Joel Gratz is the founder and CEO of opensnow.com and is based in Boulder, Colo.