Vail, Eagle County can expect at least some snow for much of the next week or so |

Vail, Eagle County can expect at least some snow for much of the next week or so

Storm systems could create havoc for holiday travelers

Despite often-complicated travel across the U.S. abundant snow still brought holiday crowds to the Vail Valley.
Chris Dillmann/Daily archive photo

Vail’s early-season snow is set for another boost this week.

The National Weather Service’s forecast for Vail Pass is encouraging, with snow in the forecast for nearly the next week.

By the numbers

124%: Vail Mountain’s Dec. 23 snowpack compared to the 30-year median.
102%: Copper Mountain’s Dec. 23 snowpack compared to the 30-year median.*
82%: Fremont Pass’s Dec. 23 snowpack compared to the 30-year median.*
Source: Eagle River Water & Santation District.
*Copper Mountain is the closest measurement site to the top of Vail Pass and the headwaters of Gore Creek. Fremont Pass is the closest measurement site to the headwaters of the Eagle River.

Lesser amounts, and warmer temperatures, are forecast for much of the Eagle River Valley. The Weather Service is calling for a chance of rain turning to snow Wednesday for Gypsum, as well as snow showers followed by a rain/snow mix Saturday.

Norv Larson, a meteorologist at the Grand Junction office of the Weather Service, said the coming storm will vary quite a bit across the Western Slope.

The Grand Mesa should see quite a bit of snow over the next several days. The Schofield Pass area north of Crested Butte should also see a good bit of snow. The same is true of the San Juans and the LaSal Mountains.

Support Local Journalism

Larson said higher elevations around Vail could see as much as a foot of new snow over the next several days. Because of warmer temperatures, that snow is likely to be pretty “water dense,” Larson said. That’s good news for water supplies next spring and summer.

Larson said the snow is coming from an “atmospheric river” bringing moisture to the area. That river will continue to flow for the next several days.  

Joel Gratz, co-founder of the OpenSnow website, Tuesday reported that the early part of the storm won’t greatly benefit Vail due to “an unfavorable wind direction from the southeast,” predicting 1 to 3 inches of new snow by Wednesday morning.

The wind is expected to shift Wednesday morning, bringing an additional 3 to 6 inches of new snow by the time the lifts close that day.

The OpenSnow website is predicting up to 15 inches of snow between Wednesday and Saturday, with the prospect of another 12 inches between Jan. 1 and Jan. 3.

Wednesday night into Thursday will mark the end of the first part of this week’s storm.

The Weather Service forecast has chances for snow starting again Friday and running through the weekend. The OpenSnow forecast holds out the prospect of a powder day Saturday.

In anticipation of the coming storm, the Colorado Department of Transportation Tuesday issued an alert for mountain travelers through the rest of the week.

The alert noted that all of the state’s mountain passes have the potential for “significant snowfall and high winds” possibly affecting travel.

Travelers are encouraged to check local forecasts, and to delay travel if possible. Real-time conditions are available at The I-70 Coalition, a nonprofit group of local governments and businesses, also features real-time road conditions and other information on

Support Local Journalism