Keystone, Breckenridge ski areas see record October snowfall. Keystone to open additional terrain Friday
FRISCO — Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort announced Wednesday, Oct. 30, that they had broken their historical snowfall records for October.
With a total of 48 inches as of Wednesday, Breckenridge surpassed the previous record of 46 inches set in 2006. At Keystone, the mountain has accumulated 44 inches of snow so far this month, breaking its 43-inch record from the same year.
Keystone had enough early season snow to open Oct. 12, earlier than it had in decades. But half of its total snow for October — 22 inches — fell in the past week.
The extra snow means the resort is set to open top-to-bottom skiing off Dercum Mountain on Friday, Nov. 1, according to Keystone spokeswoman Loryn Roberson.
The resort will open intermediate runs Silvermaster, lower Paymaster and Spring Dipper, which will have terrain park features, on upper Dercum Mountain along with The Edge, advanced, and River Run, intermediate, on lower mountain. The additional runs will give skiers and riders access to the base area without downloading on River Run Gondola.
Over at Copper Mountain Resort, the ski area has accumulated a total of 36 inches of snow this month, but spokeswoman Taylor Prather confirmed that this is not Copper’s record for October.
A few miles up Loveland Pass, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has been hit with a total of 34 inches of snow this month. While A-Basin didn’t break its October snowfall record of 45 inches set in 2002, spokeswoman Katherine Fuller reported that snowfall this month is 160% of average, which is 21 inches for October.
“The point I always like to make is that A-Basin doesn’t need to shatter records for the conditions to be really great,” Fuller wrote in an email. “Last season was fantastic for skiing and snowboarding, and our snowfall totals were right at our average.”
Warmup on the way
Along with snowfall records, Summit County is experiencing unseasonably low temperatures.
The National Weather Service station in Dillon recorded a low of minus 5 degrees early Wednesday. The record low for the date is minus 17 degrees, which was set in 1911 and 1919. That compares to an average low temperature of 18 degrees for the date.
It’s possible Dillon could set a record low for its high temperature Wednesday, when the forecast is calling for a high of 18 degrees. That would match the record low for the high temperature taken Oct. 30, 2009. The average high temperature for the date is 48 degrees.
The Weather Service is forecasting temperatures to drop to minus 7 Wednesday night before things start to warm up a bit.
That warmup is relative, though, as the forecast highs are still below average for this time of year.
“It looks like, at least thought the weekend, we’re looking at sunny conditions, mostly clear skies and temperatures will be running a little below average with highs in the upper 30s to low 40s,” Weather Service meteorologist Kari Bowen said.
Clear skies in the forecast also means there’s no snow in sight.
“We have actually an extended dry period coming up where we’re probably not going to see much in the way of precipitation,” Bowen said.
From a longer-term perspective, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts a 40% to 50% chance of above average precipitation through the end of November. The center’s 90-day forecast for December to February calls for a moderate chance of higher than normal temperatures for Colorado with an equal chance of average, above-average and below-average precipitation.
Wolves were a problem for ranchers when Kip Gates’ great-great-grandfather homesteaded in the area. He doesn’t want the problem to return.