Summer starts with snow in Vail, surrounding areas |

Summer starts with snow in Vail, surrounding areas

A view of Beaver Creek on Sunday shows an especially visible snow line.
Chris Dillmann |

Eagle County received several more dustings of snow over the weekend, with Sunday’s new layer of snow sticking around until the afternoon in Vail.

It’s one more refresh in an especially snowy spring and, now, summer. It looks like the snow should stop for now, however, as this most recent blast of cold and wet weather from the Pacific Northwest will continue past our area and make its way over to the plains states.

Forecasters say this week should be warmer and dry on the Western Slope.

Anomalous event

While snow in the early summer isn’t common in the Vail area, it does happen, and has happened even later in the season.

Meteorologist Dennis Phillips, who grew up on the Front Range, remembers encountering Fourth of July snow in Frisco with his family.

“They used to shoot (fireworks) over the lake at Dillion Reservoir,” he said. “One year, we went up there and no fireworks, because of snow.”

Folks in Eagle County may have been surprised to see a few inches or so of snow on the mountains surrounding them, but northern areas of the state, the totals were much higher. Phillips described the weather event as anomalous.

“We had 20-some inches in the northern Park Range, I don’t think you’re gonna see that every year,” Phillips said. “This system was just colder than a lot of storms that come through this time of the year.”

Recreation crisis, opportunity

While forecasters are now predicting it to stop, snowy conditions have continued across the region throughout May and June.

The wet conditions prompted a much later runoff than usual in the Vail area; the Eagle River near Minturn peaked on Thursday, which is about two weeks later than normal. The average daily flows were 1,220 cubic feet per second on Thursday, the 29-year-average for June 20 is about 400 cubic feet per second.

On June 12, the town of Avon issued a news release urging boaters to avoid the Eagle River near Bob the Bridge, putting a strain on recreation in the town’s newly renovated whitewater park.

In other areas, however, the snow has created more recreational opportunities. Heavy snowfall in Summit County throughout May and June prompted Arapahoe Basin to extend it’s ski and snowboarding season until June 30 at the earliest. A-Basin recorded 3 inches of fresh snow over the weekend, bringing their total to 336 inches this season.

A-Basin Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth, who has said the resort hopes to stay open through the Fourth of July, wrote a blog post on Sunday saying Mother Nature came through for the resort over the weekend.

“I took a few runs this morning, and the conditions were some of the best I have ever seen for late June,” Henceroth wrote.

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