White Christmas conditions prevail at resorts
BEAVER CREEK — Some were calling it a Christmas miracle. Others were saying it was a powder gift from Santa. Whatever it was, area skiers and snowboarders were enjoying plenty of it after a Dec. 25 snowstorm hit the area Thursday evening and overnight.
Beaver Creek reported 16 inches Friday morning, with a foot of that falling overnight. Vail reported 8 inches Friday morning, and both resorts received even more snow throughout the day, just in time for the busiest time of the season. Beaver Creek had 97 percent of the resort open, and Vail had 99 percent of its terrain open.
“It’s just unbelievable. I can’t believe how much snow there is out here in December. It’s pretty great,” said Aaron Rosenbaum, of Denver.
Snow for Christmas
Douglas Jones, of Washington, D.C., brought his family out for a week of vacationing and said they felt lucky to have a snowy Christmas and great skiing conditions.
“It’s been gorgeous. You just never know when you come out for a week,” he said, adding that the trip was booked long before they knew if conditions would be good. “We just felt very fortunate. It was perfect timing.”
On Friday, Vail Valley residents Tim Davies and Billy Horak were excited about the snow and eager to check out some of their favorite Beaver Creek spots, such as the newly opened Stone Creek Chutes.
“This is epic … It’s about time,” Davies said.
Horak called the season so far “one of the best openings” he’s seen in his 20-plus years in the area.
“It’s great conditions, but you have to be careful about what’s under the snow still,” he warned.
At Beaver Creek, some visitors were taking note of new additions to the resort, such as the combination chairlift-gondola and the new Candy Cabin. The shop, located at the top of Strawberry Park lift, sells old-fashioned bulk toffees and candies, as well as special-edition 2015 chocolate bars.
Niki Walker and her daughter Liza made a beeline for the Candy Cabin Friday to puck up some sweets morning before heading out on the hill. The family typically vacations in Steamboat Springs, but Walker said they were big fans of Beaver Creek.
“It’s been incredible,” she said. “The mountain is great. It has a good mix of blue and green runs, and the customer service is amazing.”
More on the way
Thursday and Friday’s storm was the result of a narrow band of slow moving showers that hovered directly over Beaver Creek, according to OpenSnow.com meteorologist Joel Gratz in his daily report.
Areas as close as 20 miles away from Beaver Creek got varying amounts of snow, from 6 inches overnight at Vail to 0 inches overnight just over Vail Pass at Copper Mountain, he said.
National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Malingowski said that more snow is probably on its way Sunday night and Monday in the Vail area. Today is expected to clear up and bring a drop in temperatures, with highs in the teens and lows below zero.
Things will warm up slightly once the Sunday storm moves in.
“(The coming storm) looks prolonged, so you could get substantial amount out of it,” said Malingowski. “We’ll stay in a similar pattern, with waves of snow coming through at least Tuesday.”
Gratz was cautious in his predictions, stopping short of promising more powder for skiers and snowboarders.
“I’m being purposely vague about the forecast for next week, as the models are offering no solid agreement about the storm track,” he wrote in his daily report. “My gut says that next week’s storm will likely be similar to the ongoing storm, which is that the overall setup is not favorable for heavy snow across all mountains, but there could be some big winners.”
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.