I-70 Daily Snow

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By Sam Collentine, Meteorologist Posted 18 days ago April 2, 2024

Snowpack Update, Spring Skiing Prevails

Summary

Sunny skies and mild temps prevail on Tuesday and continue through Friday. Snow returns Friday night and will be heavy at times through Saturday night. More light snow through the middle of next week. Generally dry and warmer as we enter the middle of April.

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Snowpack Update

Since this will likely be our peak snowpack for the season, I wanted to provide a quick update on how we've trended throughout the season and look back at my winter forecast preview.

As of Tuesday, April 2, our snowpack along the I-70 mountain corridor sits near or slightly above 100% of normal compared to the 30-year median. SNOTEL sites along the corridor range from 92% near Loveland to 125% near Beaver Creek but the 100% of normal at Copper Mountain provides a good representation of I-70 as a whole.

October was above normal thanks to two strong storms, followed by a below-normal snowpack in November and December. The comeback then began during the second half of the season with above-normal months from January through March.

Here's what I wrote in the winter forecast preview that I published in August:

"Overall, history tells us that Colorado tends to be right around average for snowfall during El Niño winters, with the potential for a stronger start and end to the season."

This winter forecast preview tended to be right on the mark with a snowpack hovering right around the 30-year normal, along with an above-normal start and end to the season. I'll take it.

Tuesday

Any lingering clouds will quickly burn off through Tuesday morning and we'll enter an extended period of sunny skies and mild temps. Tuesday will feature the coolest temps over the next four days, with mid-mountain temps climbing into the 20s and a "feels like" temp in the teens.

Wednesday - Friday

Wednesday and Thursday will then be the days to target if you're looking for full-on spring skiing with firm conditions in the morning, corn snow around midday, and slush in the afternoon.

I'll personally be targeting Thursday as the day to catch a few corn turns around midday, followed by a bike ride later in the afternoon. Temps will climb into the upper 30s to low 40s on the mountains and many lower valley locations will climb well into the 60s to low 70s.

Increasing cloud coverage and gusty winds on Friday afternoon will then be the signal for our next round of snow on Saturday and potentially the last significant storm for many ski resorts.

Saturday - Sunday

We'll begin to see flakes as early as Friday night ahead of the storm ramping up by early Saturday morning.

This storm is strong but it will have limited moisture and very gusty winds so Saturday will be a storm skiing day with heavy to intense snowfall through midday and lingering snowfall into Saturday evening.

In total, I'll go with an early forecast of 4-8 inches from Friday night through Saturday night, followed by lingering snow showers on Sunday.

Last chair Saturday and first chair Sunday will be the times to target for the best turns but keep in mind that it will take snow totals of 6+ inches to cover up the hard base underneath.

Travel Conditions

Dry road surfaces and normal travel speeds will be encountered through Friday evening.

Wet road surfaces will begin to form through Friday night, followed by a mix of slushy and snow-packed road surfaces from Saturday morning through Saturday night. Give yourself extra travel time on Saturday as heavy snowfall rates and accidents could cause a few travel headaches.

The strong April sun angle will then keep most road surfaces clear from Sunday through the middle of next week. The road surfaces will become wet under any snow showers but snow-packed surfaces will be confined to the overnight hours.

Next Week & Beyond

Following the storm over the weekend, we'll likely continue to receive off-and-on snowfall through the middle of next week as another storm slides near southern Colorado. This could provide us with an uptick in snowfall rates around Tuesday, April 9, and into Wednesday, April 10, but as of now, it doesn't look like a significant snowmaker.

Looking further ahead, it does look like we'll enter a pattern of mostly dry and mild weather through the middle of April. This doesn't mean that we won't receive any snowfall but storms will likely be weaker.

We generally always receive another strong storm or two in late April or early May so I'll continue to monitor with daily updates around storms and updates every other day as long as the snow continues to fly.

Tap the links below to view automated snow forecasts for the ski resorts.

Along with automated weather forecasts for each town along the mountain corridor.

Thanks for reading! Next update on Thursday.

Sam Collentine

Announcements

NEW: Snow Ratio Forecast

You can now get a good idea of the upcoming snow quality for the next storm via our new "Snow Ratio" forecast for any location in OpenSnow.

When we talk about snow quality, such as “light and fluffy” or “heavy and wet”, we are talking about the snow-to-liquid ratio. The higher the snow-to-liquid ratio, the lighter the snow quality, and vice-versa.

  1. Go to any location screen and tap the "Snow Summary" tab.
  2. Scroll down to the 5-day hourly or 10-day forecast section.
  3. View the hourly or daily "Snow Ratio" forecast.

10:1 will be fun but will feel a little heavy.

15:1 will offer some faceshots and feel pretty light.

20:1 will be incredibly light, almost like skiing through nothing but air.

This new feature is currently available with the latest version of the OpenSnow app installed (App Store / Google Play > OpenSnow > Update) or via the OpenSnow website (OpenSnow.com).

View → Snow Ratio Forecast

About Our Forecaster

Sam Collentine

Meteorologist

Sam Collentine is the Chief Operating Officer of OpenSnow and lives in Basalt, Colorado. Before joining OpenSnow, he studied Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado, spent time at Channel 7 News in Denver, and at the National Weather Service in Boulder.

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