China Bowl opens today |

China Bowl opens today

J.K. Perry

The near record-setting snowfall on Vail Mountain means far-east powder is available to skiers and riders at today’s opening of China Bowl.Vail has received nearly 132 inches of snow this year, just shy of the 1985 record of 134 inches. The resort buried the average at this time of year by five feet, officials said.China Bowl will be serviced with the opening of the Orient Express Lift. Totals so far are 3,700 open acres and 24 lifts servicing 168 trails.Fifteen inches of snow were reported on Vail over Friday and Saturday.Crested Butte reported 15 inches in the last 24 hours; Aspen got 13; and Monarch, in Colorado’s southern mountains, had 18 inches, according to Colorado Ski Country USA, a ski industry group.Vail is forecasted to receive up to 10 inches of new snow through Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service. Tomorrow’s high is expected to be nine degrees.The central mountains are currently under an avalanche warning, according to the weather service. Two to four feet of snow this week along with strong winds have created dangerous slab conditions.Backcountry skiers and riders are urged to use caution, avoid slopes steeper than 30 degrees and traveling below steep slopes, the service reported.Between 2-3 inches of snow fell in Denver beginning late Friday night, for the area’s first taste of the week’s storm. The Colorado Springs area had reports of 5-8 inches and Pueblo had about 3 inches, according to the National Weather Service.Roads were icy in some parts of the metro area Saturday morning. The Colorado State Patrol reported slowing and some minor crashes, but none with fatalities. Lisa Lane, a traffic management specialist for the state Department of Transportation, said road conditions were improving by Saturday afternoon.”It’s mostly just wet all the way to Georgetown and then there’s some snow in the mountains,” she said.The Associated Press contributed to this report.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or

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