Snow heavy across region’s resorts
SUMMIT COUNTY – The first Arctic blast of the season dropped down over Colorado this week, bringing more snow and some frigid air to the region. The National Weather Service is anticipating “dangerously cold” temperatures for parts of the state during the next few days, with lows dropping to near zero degrees, and highs only reaching into the low single digits.”It was almost too deep in some places,” Zach Perelman said after venturing up onto Aspen Mountain. “You couldn’t get up enough speed to get through.”
“It’s an old-fashioned snowstorm, there’s no question about it,” said longtime Aspenite Jim Markalunas, who tracks snowfall in his backyard. “This is a biggie.”Schools were canceled in Aspen Tuesday, and teachers took advantage of the day off. “Epic,” was how teacher Chris Keleher put it after taking advantage of Tuesday’s canceled classes to hit Aspen Mountain. “You could ski and then go back and ski the same line, and there was still fresh snow.””My heart is so happy it’s about to burst,” said Aspen Middle School teacher Brandy Voneissenstein at day’s end. “It’s a good thing I’m short, because for me, it was waist-high.”Spirits also were high at Sunlight Mountain Resort south of Glenwood Springs. “There’s a lot of good stuff going on right now, like major snowfall,” said Sunlight Marketing Manager Lauren Yant.The Sunlight team is hustling to get things ready for opening day on Friday. And this latest storm has brought with it lots and lots of smiles.
“We’re pretty psyched about it. There’s definitely a buzz in the air,” Yant said.Friday kicks off Sunlight’s 40th year of operation, and this winter storm is just what the skiers and riders ordered.”It will depend on how the storm pans out,” she said. “But this snow is going to make for some great runs for sure.”Tuesday, the lifts were being tested, the terrain park was being worked on, and the snow cats were out on the mountain grooming the fresh snow. But as the resort was hopping with workers preparing for this weekend’s events, other parts of Garfield County weren’t as excited about the snow, but it didn’t really pose any serious problems.
The Colorado State Patrol had an increase in calls, according to dispatch, but didn’t have any incidents that were out of the ordinary.And while forecasters generally don’t wax too poetic in their work, the Grand Junction NWS weather discussion points out that the moisture associated with the storm will be “crystallized into a bitterly cold but lovely 20:1 dry snowfall.” That’s frozen smoke compared to the average moisture content of about one inch of water per 10 inches of snow.With strong winds at higher elevations, avalanche danger in the backcountry will be on the rise. Overall, the avalanche danger is moderate, with pockets of considerable danger on lee slopes. The rating means that natural and triggered slides are possible to likely.”We’re expecting a great weekend,” Yant said at Sunlight. Aspen Times reporters Janet Urquhart, Scott Condon and Charles Agar, and Glenwood Springs reporter John Gardner contributed to this report.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO