Heavy snowfall, incredibly cold temperatures and travel challenges have turned the western slope of the Rocky Mountains into a winter wonderland. While a typical August in Colorado might not be comparable to a June Snow season, there is still a lot for people to enjoy from snow and hill.
Cool air and rain since June 5th have disrupted the conditions at many resorts in Colorado with some resorts seeing an early start to the season. By the time high pressure is expected to cover the western slope by next week, Colorado resorts should be ready to get back to it.
Despite an early start to the ski season in much of Colorado, it is important to note that many ski resorts have significant gaps between seasons.
There are approximately 58,000 skiable acres between Telluride, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Vail and Keystone Ski Resorts. At Telluride, Peak 8 is expected to see as much as ten feet of snow and close to 90% of the trails will be open, while Copper Mountain has an estimated two feet of snow in the forecast and many trails are open.
Flat peaks, pipes, and trails are another popular feature for snowboarders and skiers who head to the resorts in the winter. The images below, taken by C&H Ski Reports show some of the fun mountain fun that is waiting in Colorado.
Colorado Ski Country USA, a non-profit trade organization representing 15 member resorts, has been keeping track of snowfall totals across the state and after comparing data from the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, CSC claims that the 11-day heavy snow event this past weekend helped to generate over 50 inches of snow in many parts of the Rockies.
With the snow forecast starting to be a bit more mixed, resorts have extended their opening dates and use only snow, as opposed to more direct energy sources like gasoline.
“It is looking fairly favourable for opening around mid-week for most of the mountain resorts in Colorado,” said Brian Lane, director of Mountain Ski Research at Colorado State University.
Despite having nearly 7 feet of snow so far, the snowfall for the mountain resorts has definitely been a departure from usual conditions that may have put most people out of ski range. High pressure in California and a blast of cold air have caused low pressure systems to pile up snow in much of the western portion of the Rockies as well as upper mountains. With the storms, the high school football teams won’t be getting out for practice anytime soon, but they will get a jump start on fall training camps in some areas.
For the northern Rockies and foothills, temperatures in the 40s have brought back spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains and an unseasonably cold August. Two million people in eastern Washington now have access to water after flash flooding and severe storms forced authorities to close the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
With a record snowpack and ideal fall and winter weather, the well-known skiing spot in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, might provide a bit of relief for fall skiing. Mount Crater could see another couple feet of snow before the season ends in October. So this could be the start of a long break for the ski areas.