Doing a snow dance

The excitement of new snow and having more terrain to ski and ride brings out the smiles Sunday at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Smiles should be in ready supply this weekend with a recent weather forecast calling for storms to roll across Colorado ski country for the next week or so.



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The excitement of new snow and having more terrain to ski and ride brings out the smiles Sunday at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. Smiles should be in ready supply this weekend with a recent weather forecast calling for storms to roll across Colorado ski country for the next week or so.

With the news earlier this week that Powderhorn Mountain Resort has rescheduled its opening to Saturday, the options open this week to local skiers and riders are be patient or hit the road.

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass received the brunt of last weekend’s storm, reporting 15 and 14 inches of new snow, respectively, with Beaver Creek (11 inches) the only other area to report double-digit snowfall.

Most areas reported more new snow Monday night, with Steamboat topping the list at eight inches.

But don’t go too far in your quest for a lift to ride.

Powderhorn is eyeing a 9 a.m. start Saturday, and the storm track headed into the western U.S. might bring the region enough snow to make that happen.

Meteorologist Joel Gratz, reporting on his Colorado Daily Snow report on the OpenSnow website (http://www.opensnow.com), said those long-lagging snow totals will improve again this week.

“The good news is that this past weekend’s storm is only the beginning of a new snowy pattern,” Gratz wrote.

Another storm is headed into the state late Thursday, this one from the southwest. Carried by the jet stream as it continues to move west and south and bring cold air across the West, storms such as this frequently bear good tidings for ski reports in the San Juans (Telluride, Wolf Creek, Purgatory) although all mountain areas are expected to see more snow.

“The next storm arrives on Friday morning through Saturday afternoon and will bring the highest accumulations to the southern San Juans during the day on Friday,” Gratz said in Tuesday’s report.

By Friday night, Gratz predicts, the storm will shift to more northerly regions, including Grand Mesa and Powderhorn.

“Saturday should have fresh snow for most locations,” he said.

The storm might not arrive in time to drop significant snow for Powderhorn’s weekend opener, but Powderhorn general manager Daren Cole said his team can get the mountain open on short notice.

“You know, we’re ready to go and excited about the new season, so it doesn’t take much to get everyone at full speed,” Cole said. “This must be the most puzzling start to a ski season I’ve ever experienced. We really appreciate the patience of our employees and our guests.”

The longer-term forecast (meaning a week out) sees the storm track “flatten” next week, Gratz said, and by early next week the storm track may be sliding directly over southern Colorado.

What this means for skiers is increased chances of storms hitting most mountain regions every few days, Gratz said.

“These storms are seven to 10 days away, so I have no ability to forecast the details,” Gratz said, “but the pattern looks good for consistent chances of snow, and that’s all that we can ask for.”

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