Forecasted weather patterns set to flip in March in valley
EAGLE COUNTY — No new snow for seven days makes one weak.
Luckily for powder hounds, cooler and stormier weather is in the forecast for early March, according to meteorologist Joel Gratz, of OpenSnow.com.
“What it looks like is starting around March 10 or so, the weather patterns should change,” Gratz said.
Currently, Eagle County is in a warm, dry pattern, with fresh snow periodically refreshing the slopes while the East Coast is getting cooler, snowier weather.
“Having a dry period during the middle of winter, especially an El Nino winter, is relatively standard,” Gratz said, “so I can’t say that I’m surprised.”
With little storms here and there predicted for the next 10-14 days, the expectations and trends are pointing toward a flip in the weather patterns at the beginning of March.
“Just because the pattern flips doesn’t exactly mean that Vail and Beaver Creek will get a ton of snow immediately,” Gratz said, “but it sets us up for better chances of storms and cycles.”
Gratz bases his predictions off of recorded snow statistics from previous years, as well as current 15-day models indicating a change to snowier weather on the horizon.
“I am optimistic that the last 20 days or so of March will offer at least a couple of good storms or storm cycles,” he said.
While it feels like spring skiing out at Vail and Beaver Creek recently, cold temperatures have helped keep snowpack and snow water equivalent hovering around normal for this time of year.
“We had a couple of warm days, but thankfully it hasn’t been three weeks of just blazing sun,” Gratz said. “Effectively, we’re right kind of about where we should be, and I would actually call that kind of a win.”
‘GET YOUR ERRANDS DONE’
Local skiers and snowboarders are adjusting to the recent dry spell around the county.
“It’s been all right,” said Scott French, of Edwards, who rides at Beaver Creek almost every day. “If you’re not on all of the corduroy, then you’re pretty much screwed. I’m pretty much just screaming down groomers.”
French said he normally heads up to the mountain after the sun is up and warms the snow a little bit. He also stays to the slopes that get the most sun at Beaver Creek — Larkspur, Arrowhead and Bachelor Gulch.
“I am looking forward to some snow,” he said. “This is the time of year that you can get your errands done — get your laundry done — because you’re not out on the mountain all day long.”
Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek are set to close for the season on April 10.
“In past El Nino seasons, we have seen decent snowfall continue into May,” Gratz said. “My guess is just like most winters, there will be plenty of turns to enjoy and fresh snow even after the mountain closes.”
“The main takeaway is that winter is not over,” he said, “even though it feels like it’s warm and dry.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.