Snow in store for the High Country | VailDaily.com
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Snow in store for the High Country

Matt Zalaznick
Special to the Daily/National Oceanic and AtmospheA forecaster at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction says weather system is moving toward Colorado from the west that could bring between 3 and 6 inches of snow in the High Country by Thursday.
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“This reminds me of the old days, before our little snow drought, when we used to have waist-deep snow every opening day,” says Buzz Schleper, owner of Buzz’s Ski Shops and Buzz’s Boards at Vail Village.

When it comes to accumulation, however, the steeper, south-facing Back Bowls have always been a little behind the front side of Vail Mountain, Schleper says.

“I can remember when the Back Bowls barely opened at Christmas. So to only have a little bit of dirt peeking through is still pretty amazing,” he says.

Perhaps all of us in the valley got a bit snow-struck after those mid-November dumps opened the slopes early with a bottomless, barrage of powder days. By this weekend, brown spots speckled Sun Up Bowl while entire ridges of bare earth were peeking through the slightly icy slopes of remote Siberia Bowl.

“We got greedy; now it’s starting to get a little thin in spots,” says Mike Brumbaugh, owner of Venture Sports in Avon. “We’re starting to see some of our rental skis coming back in less than perfect condition. People have hit rocks and they don’t have any edges.”

But the powder drought that has been sizzling the valley unseasonably since Thanksgiving should end today, says Chris Cuoco, senior forecaster at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“We’re looking at periods of snow most of the day on Wednesday through Thursday morning,” Cuoco says. “It’s not a big storm, but more than we’ve had in the last couple of weeks.”

Between 3 and 6 inches of snow could fall on the mountains of Colorado by Thursday, with the heaviest accumulations in the north around Steamboat Springs, Cuoco says.

There also is a snowier outlook for the coming week, with weather patterns changing for the wetter, Cuoco says.

“We’re looking at a change in the pattern for Sunday and Monday. After that, we should have a better chance of snow for a longer period of time,” Cuoco says. “It if goes the way longer-range forecast models are predicting, we should be moving to a mostly westerly flow, which is good for snow-producing.”

Next week, all the mountains in Colorado should get “decent” amounts of snow, he says.

Even with the warmer, drier weather, says Schleper, Vail Mountain managers have been keeping the slopes in terrific shape for this time of year.

“I’ve actually skied the last six days and they’re doing a great job of keeping it good. It’s so much fun right now,” Schleper says.

Plus, the valley’s geological endowments should keep every skier and snowboard in town optimistic, Schleper says.

“We’ve always got the good old Gore Range that squeezes every snowflake out of a storm,” he says. “I’m going to continue going up skiing every morning, whether we get snow or not.”

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.


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