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The Colorado Daily Snow

Snow & Powder Forecasts for Colorado

Winding down

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Summary

The storm from Friday and Saturday is now gone and we’re looking forward to a spring pattern with mostly warmer and drier weather, punctuated by a few showers and a few chances for higher-elevation snowfall. The best chances for snow in the next two weeks will be on Tuesday, April 24, Thursday, April 26, and around May 1-2.

Loveland 2018/19 Season Pass

Our partner for this week’s Colorado Daily Snow is Loveland Ski Area and they want you to ski the rest of this season for free. Grab your 2018/19 season pass now to enjoy one of Colorado’s longest and snowiest seasons, 100+ bonus days at partner mountains, and you can also use it to ski the rest of this season. Closing day is Sunday, May 6: https://opsw.co/lovelandpass

Short Term Forecast

Wrapping up the storm

A final batch of snow hit the northeastern mountains (generally near and north of I-70) on Saturday morning through midday, though while it snowed for a couple of hours, additional accumulations were light, in the coating to 3-inch range.

Below is my best estimate of storm totals. I say ‘estimate’ because the combination of snowmelt and settlement (due to the sun) and the lack of official resort reports makes it tricky to figure out how much it snowed.

Snowmass – 16” (not open)
Sunlight – 11” (not open)
Aspen Highlands – 10” (not open)
Aspen Mountain – 10” (not open)
Dillon – 10” (reader report with picture)
Breckenridge – 7” (limited terrain, closes Sunday 4/22)
Wolf Creek – 6-8” (not open)
Mary Jane – 7” (closes Sunday 5/6)
Winter Park – 7” (closes Sunday 4/22)
Cameron Pass – 6-7”
Arapahoe Basin – 6-7” (open into May)
Crested Butte – 6” (not open)
Beaver Creek – 5” (not open)
Loveland – 5” (closes Sunday 5/6)
Purgatory – 5” (open ONLY Saturday & Sunday, skiing is FREE for everyone)
Vail – 5” (not open)
Telluride/Silverton – 5-10” (not open)
Eldora – 4” (closes Sunday 4/22)
Steamboat – 4” (not open)

Going into this storm, the high amount of moisture made me think that we could see high totals, since moisture is the fuel for snow, with an average of 8-16 inches of accumulation. In reality, a few locations did see the higher amounts, but most locations were closer to 4-8 inches.

Interestingly, a reader sent me a photo from Dillon, about 8 miles west of Arapahoe Basin and Loveland. While both of the ski areas reported 4-6 inches of snow, the reader’s photo showed 10 inches. This type of variability in the snowfall is not that unusual, and makes forecasting tough! Big moisture did, in fact, lead to a bigger snow total, just not at a location with lift-serviced skiing.

Current snowpack

The graphic below shows Colorado’s snowpack through the season, growing to its deepest point in early April and then melting out by late June. This year’s line is dark blue, and the median line is dark red. We spent most of the season well below average, with a peak of only about 70% of the median. Last season, in light blue, was a different story, as we were near or above average for most of the season.

The current snowpack across the western US tells the tale of the northern storm track that we saw during the entire season. River basins colored blue and green show snowpack that is near or above average. Colors that are orange and red show below-average snowpack. The numbers show the percent of average. The northern Rockies have the deepest snowpack right now, and the northern half of Colorado is also doing well with 90-105% of average. The southern half of Colorado is the opposite, doing poorly with 33-67% of average.

Finally, the map below shows the precipitation compared to the average for the month of April. Once again, northern Colorado has done well with 106-156% of average precipitation, while Colorado’s southern mountains have recorded around 47-48% of average precipitation for the month.

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Extended Forecast

I do not see any cold, strong storm’s in Colorado’s future.

That doesn’t mean that the snow is over, however!

On Monday night and Tuesday, a cold front will sideswipe the northern mountains, and there could be a few inches of fresh at Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, and Mary Jane (the remaining open resorts).

Then on Thursday, another cold front could once again sideswipe the northern mountains, with a few flakes possible at the resorts.

On Saturday and Sunday, moisture could increase from the south, which could lead to more showers.

And then on or around May 1-2, we could see a storm bring more widespread snow, but that’s about 10 days away, so hard to know exactly how that will play out.

I’ll post once more on Monday morning to tie up some loose ends. Then I will stop posting daily unless significant snow is possible, in which case, of course, I’ll write about it because I’m addicted to snow and it’s fun to talk about!

Thanks for reading and for your support this season – it means so much to myself, my family, and the entire OpenSnow team! Also, keep your eye out later this summer because we’ll be launching a completely redesigned website and mobile app, with more data and features, and I think you’ll love them:-)

JOEL GRATZ

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Geography Key

Northern Mountains
Steamboat, Granby, Beaver Creek, Vail, Ski Cooper, Copper, Breckenridge, Keystone, Loveland, Abasin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass, Eldora, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Along the Divide
Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park, Berthoud Pass

East of the Divide
Eldora, Echo, Rocky Mountain National Park, Cameron Pass

Central Mountains
Aspen, Sunlight, Monarch, Crested Butte, Irwin, Powderhorn

Southern Mountains
Telluride, Silverton – north side of the southern mountains | Purgatory, Wolf Creek – south side of the southern mountains

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