Colorado is in a cold snap. The temperature at my house this morning was, count ’em, one, two, threethree degrees. But while some folks may be cursing the cold (like those who don’t have access to the world’s best ski resorts) Colorado’s ski area operators are smiling as the cold snap brings powder to the people.
Resorts are busy counting snow totals from this ski season’s longest snowstorm, which blasted Ski Country with several feet of powder. After a string of days with continuous snowfall and cold weather, the storm system intensified in the past 48 hours. Every one of Colorado Ski Country USA’s (CSCUSA) member resorts received fresh snow, with many resorts opening new terrain as a result and one resort prompted to open up early for the season.
Southern Colorado, in prime position for an El Nino winter, fared particularly well. Silverton Mountain broke the three-foot mark with 38 inches of snow in the past two days. This is a town built for huge amounts of snow.
A winter deluge engulfed Wolf Creek, which saw 35 inches mount in the last two days, with a weekly total of more than four feet of light, dry powder. It seems that the powder at Wolf Creek lasts for days after the storm.
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort followed suit, measuring 34 inches of snow in 48 hours. The snowy bounty filled out Purgatory’s terrain so much that the resort decided to open for seven-day-a-week daily operations starting this Friday, December 11.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) saw 28 inches of accumulation in the past two days. Enough snow fell at CBMR over the past week to prompt the resort to open another lift, Paradise Express, which gives skiers access to more advanced terrain and to the mid-mountain Paradise Warming House. If this weather keeps up they’ll open the new Teo terrain before too long.
Telluride Ski Resort also opened new lifts and terrain as a result of the storm. The resort, which welcomed 17 inches in the past 48 hours, is garnering worldwide attention this week as it prepares to host two Olympic qualifying events starting December 15, the U.S. World Cup Parallel Giant Slalom and Snowboardcross events. These are important events and will be the first time Telluride will host them.
Sunlight Mountain Resort also reaped 16 inches of snow, with most of that falling yesterday. Snow like this is fantastic in the trees at Sunlight.
Monarch Mountain joined Sunlight in shattering the one-foot mark, receiving 15 inches in the past two days. Hopefully they’ll get the snowcat going soon too.
There are also a lot of happy riders at Snowmass, which was buried in a full foot of fluff since Monday morning. Aspen Mountain nearly matched its big brother’s snowfall, clocking in with seven inches.
Northern Colorado got a major boost from the storm too. A new 6 inches of snow has Steamboat Resort opening top-to-bottom skiing as it powers up its popular Storm Peak Express lift. The Sideburn Trees off of Storm Peak is some of the best glade skiing around.
Eldora Mountain Resort was pummeled with a half-foot of new snow in the past day as well, adding to the 14 inches that Eldora accumulated since last week. The new snow there caused Eldora to open two new lifts.
The fresh flurries have some resorts opening early to accommodate eager skiers and riders. Powderhorn‘s new 28 inches has that resort opening a full five days ahead of schedule. Being able to open five days early does not happen often so we know the snow has to be good there. The ski area, on the edge of the Grand Mesa near Grand Junction, will now join Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk in opening Saturday, December 12.
The winter flurry has been a boon to Ski Cooper as well, which announced yesterday that it has enough snow to open for the season on December 18.
Shredders at Echo Mountain have an extra five inches of cushion for their landings as a result of the recent storm.
Copper Mountain welcomed a fresh coat of powder as that resort prepares to kick off its U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix event this weekend. This is another huge event where Olympic snowboarders from around the world descend on Copper and can be seen practicing their art on the resort’s 22-foot halfpipe. You have to see these riders in action to really appreciate what they do.
Skiers at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland Ski Area are also enjoying fresh snowfall. Conditions at both resorts are a mix of powder and packed powder, ideal for smooth carving.
Recent snow blanketed Winter Park Resort over the past couple days as well. Skiers there can look forward to snowy turns as the sun comes out this weekend, and a not-to-miss aprs ski at the mountains Derailer Bar, where acoustic artist Michelle Branch is playing a free concert on Friday, December 11.
We’ve done our best to incorporate the cold snap into the snow dance. For the time being we’ll bundle up and enjoy the snowy show.