Early La Niña snows good for northern ski resorts
Ski resorts in northern and central Colorado are benefiting from La Niña while southern areas are falling short, according to a report from the National Resources Conservation Service.
The report, titled the Ski West Report, is an estimate of snow depths around ski areas. La Niña usually brings more snow to northern ski resorts and this year Steamboat already is reporting a record November snowfall with 90 inches of snow.
According the report, the area around Steamboat has received 178 percent of its 30-year average snowfall to this date. The area around Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland ski area is 157 percent of average while the snowpack around Copper Mountain and Breckenridge is 139 percent of average.
The Aspen area is 123 percent of average while Crested Butte registers at 127 percent of average, Vail at 119 percent and Powderhorn at 103 percent.
Southern ski resorts are showing typical the light snowfalls characteristic of La Niña conditions.
The area around Purgatory near Durango is at 100 percent of average, Telluride is at 98 percent and Wolf Creek, which usually boasts one of the state’s deepest snowpacks, registers 84 percent.
Mike Gillespie, snow survey supervisor for the NRCS in Denver, said that while it appears the winter is trending toward a typical La Niña winter, it’s still awfully early in the snow year.
“You need to keep in mind this early in the season it’s fairly easy to have wild fluctuations in percentages because we aren’t dealing with a lot of snowpack,” Gillespie said.