Colorado enjoys record snowpack | VailDaily.com

Colorado enjoys record snowpack

EAGLE COUNTY – We got snow and bought stuff in record amounts this winter.

Snowpack for our area – the Colorado River Basin – is 151 percent of normal and more than twice as much as last year (222 percent), according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

All that snowpack and water content means this area’s spring’s runoff and summer water supplies will be excellent, said Allen Green, state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Even many of the old-timers have never seen some of the depths measured across northern Colorado this month,” Green said.

Across the state, water supplies should be the best in over a decade, the NRCS said in its latest snowpack report.

Vail Mountain set a new snowfall record with 524 inches for the 2010-11 season. The last time Vail Mountain recorded even close to that much snow was during the 1977-78 season, when the resort had 505 inches.

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In fact, the ski season ended with a winter storm warning that lasted three days.

The southern part of the state didn’t fare as well, averaging around 70 percent of normal.

Apparently record snow makes us so happy that we buy winter gear in record amounts, like skis, snowboards and soft goods.

The Snow Sports Industries America says retailers sold a record $3.3 billion over the full 2010-11 season. The previous highest sales record was $3 billion, set in 2007-08.

Overall, snow sports sales were up 8 percent in units sold, and 12 percent in dollars sold.

This season, American consumers spent $902 million on snow sports equipment, the SIA said in its winter report released Wednesday. Sales peaked in December and January, but fell off the pace in February and March as retailers reduced inventories.

Weather plays the most critical role in snow sports sales, the SIA said. In the Western region, where we are, heavy snow and colder than average temperatures drove equipment sales up by 21 percent.