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Sunday December 16th 2012 9:03am

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It's going to be an active four days in Colorado culminating with a powder day for everyone on Wednesday. There are some details to schuss through but if you don't like reading lots of words organized into sentences then just plan to ski or ride on Wednesday and check back over the next few days as I fine tune the forecast.

Quick aside: I'm in Utah right now visiting friends and "testing the snow quality" at a few resorts. Since I know many of you like to travel in search of snow, I'll post updates in the news section so you can get a feel for what it's like out here. Also, our friends at Canadian Mountain Holidays sent me an email yesterday that made me jealous. Check out this video and what they had to say about current conditions...

Ok, back to Colorado snow. Three distinct storms moved through in the last two days with over three feet of snow falling at Wolf Creek and 4-10 inches for most of the rest of the state. The first and strongest storm on Friday was well forecast, but the last two pieces of energy were weak and hard to forecast, so some areas tended to get a bit more or less snow than I predicted. So it goes...but the general prognostication still held: head to the southern San Juans for deep powder. This will be the third powder day in a row for Wolf!

Sunday and Monday will be very complicated days to forecast. A few weak pieces of storm energy will move across Colorado and the Jet Stream will be along the Colorado/Wyoming border. This means that snow will be in the air during most of the next two days and with the lingering moisture I wouldn't be surprised to see a few higher snowfall totals than what I've predicted. That said, the heaviest and most consistent snow will be near Steamboat and far northern Colorado which is closer to the Jet Stream. Snow conditions over the next two days will stay soft and consistently improve as a few more inches accumulate for most of Colorado. Overall, good deal.

The main storm will hit Colorado Tuesday late afternoon through Wednesday midday, and Wednesday will be a powder day for most areas. Wind will be an issue on Monday and Tuesday before the main storm arrives, but the snow quality on Wednesday moring should be pretty darn good since the winds should relax after the cold front passes on Tuesday night. The strong cold front will hit Colorado Tuesday evening and the snow should come down heavily just before and after the cold front moves through. Most areas will see 6-12 inches by Wednesday morning, and combined with the few inches per day this weekend and early next week, this will make Wednesday morning quite good. Take a look at the snowfall prediction here.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday look dry and sunny with comfortable temperatures, and then the storms should start again around the 24th/25th and continue every few days through New Years (or at least that's how the general weather pattern appears to be shaping up).

Get out there and ski, ride, slide, or whatever you do to enjoy the snow. It's great to have winter back in town!

JOEL GRATZ

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