Breckenridge records snowiest February ever
With more than 7 feet of snow, this is the deepest February on record at Breckenridge Ski Resort — and there’s still 12 more days in the month.
While the 2018-19 season brought plenty of snow to Summit County, more than 32 feet at Breckenridge according to OnTheSnow.com, this season is catching up with more 18 feet recorded at Breckenridge this season.
The February total of 87 inches at Breckenridge beats last year’s February total of 29 inches by a landslide, according to data by OpenSnow.
The resort is calling this year’s February phenomenon “FebruBURIED.”
“This morning we reported 10 inches of snow overnight, which pushed us over the edge to the snowiest February we have on record!” Nicole Stull, spokeswoman for Breckenridge and Keystone Resort, wrote in an email. “Our 87” so far topped the recent record of 85 inches from the 2013-14 season, 82 inches from the 1992-93 season, and average February snowfall of 50 inches. With the snow still falling and two weeks left in the month, you could say we are FebruBURIED.”
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Stull added that Breckenridge’s average annual snowfall, which is based on the past 35 years, is 353 inches. As of Monday, Breckenridge had received 288 inches. Stull said the snowpack will make for great spring skiing and snowboarding conditions.
Other Summit County ski areas have received huge amounts of February snowfall as well, according to ski area reports and OpenSnow data.
“We’ve had 60” of snow so far in February,” Arapahoe Basin Ski Area spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer wrote in an email. “Definitely one of our snowiest Februarys on record so far for the month.”
In 2019, A-Basin had 29 inches of snow in February and 40 inches in 2018. Two other local ski areas, Copper Mountain Resort and Loveland Ski Area, have also beat their February snow totals for the past five years. Keystone Resort was the only ski area to have a higher 2018 February total, but only by 1 inch, meaning Keystone easily will surpass the 2018 total by the end of the month.
“Our snowiest February on record was during the 1992-93 season when Keystone received 73 inches, so we still have a little ways to go,” Stull wrote in an email. “Keystone had only received 162 inches at the end of February last season, and we’ve already received 201 inches this year. This puts us well ahead of last season’s totals.”
Stull added that Keystone’s average annual snowfall is 235 inches, putting the resort on track to have an above-average snow year with 201 inches already tallied as of mid-February.
The stormy month has put the Colorado River Basin snowpack at 122% of normal as of Feb. 14. That’s above the statewide average of 115% of normal.
The snow totals are in contrast with the unseasonably warm weather that has preceded many of the storms, including a record high of 54 degrees set Feb. 2 in Dillon. That was just days before a major storm system dropped more than 4 feet of snow in three days at area ski resorts.
The vast temperature fluctuations mean danger in the backcountry, where two people were killed in an avalanche Saturday near Vail. The avalanche danger is considerable (3 out of 5) in the Vail and Summit County zone, and Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasters warn the snowpack is “touchy and easy to trigger” with avalanches “running on a wide variety of aspects and elevations.”
Snow is expected to continue to fall into Tuesday, with a few more inches of accumulation for the central mountains, according to OpenSnow meteorologist Joel Gratz. A bit more snow is possible Wednesday into Thursday, and another system is expected to move through Colorado next week.