Snowpack deep despite less snow
BEAVER CREEK ” Bountiful early season snow has given way to lower-than-average snowfall over the last two months at Beaver Creek Mountain.
But the mountain is still having its best snow season of the past nine years. Snowpack remains well above average on Vail Mountain, at 123 percent as of Monday.
And experts say Eagle County should continue to see good snowfall for the next couple of weeks.
“It looks like a very favorable late spring pattern for snow,” said Roger Pielke Sr., the state climatologist and a professor at Colorado State University.
April snow should keep skiing conditions good and build the snowpack, Pielke said.
But Klaus Wolter, a University of Colorado climatologist, said the seasonal forecast for April through June is a little drier than he previously expected.
“It still doesn’t look bad as in, ‘Woe to us,'” he said. “It just doesn’t look as favorable as it did before.”
A couple of storms are headed toward Vail, said Chris Cuoco, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. The first is supposed to hit Wednesday afternoon and could drop at least 6 inches. Another storm is forecast for next Monday or Tuesday, Cuoco said.
Wolter said he isn’t sure why it was so snowy in December and January but below-average in February and March.
“My forecast for the wet winter was for January, February and March,” he said. “I can’t tell you why it didn’t work out quite that way.”
Even though the snow is melting on the valley floor, the snowpack is still accumulating at higher elevations, said Mike Bauer, water conservation specialist at the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.
The average date over the last 30 years for the snowpack to peak on Vail Mountain is about May 2.
It’s hard to tell if the snowpack will peak later than that this year, Bauer said.
“It all depends on what type of spring we get,” he said.
In the spring of 1985, the snow-water equivalent on Vail Mountain jumped another 10 inches after April 3.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or firstname.lastname@example.org.