The season was off to a good start for many snow resorts in Colorado, which are expecting the arrival of a storm system this weekend.
Though the resorts have recorded a lot of snow so far this season, some areas, especially the active and active-rainy mountain areas have seen minimal snowfall.
The high country is expected to get between 6-12 inches of snow at any one time Saturday night into Sunday, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jordan Root.
“The best chance for a widespread coverage is late Sunday evening into the early part of Monday morning, with gusty winds leading to some icing for any ski areas that see the higher amounts,” Root said.
The heaviest snowfall is forecast to occur around the 6 p.m. to midnight time frame.
“There will be some accumulation on the active side. Some resorts could get higher totals. On the wet side, some areas could get less than 3 inches of snow, but it would be mainly on the localized side,” Root said.
The ski resorts that have experienced the least snowfall are Silverton Mountain, Backdoor and Whistler Blackcomb.
Steady snow fell from Colorado’s Front Range south through western Wyoming.
Travel conditions remain hazardous on many highways from the central mountains to the western plains. “There are numerous travel advisories and winter storm warnings in place,” Root said.
Some resorts and airports are experiencing flight delays and cancellations because of the weather.
The storms have brought cooler temperatures, which is perfect for skiers and snowboarders. “If we can get some snowcover, it will really help the resorts.”
The storm will bring increased snowfall to the pastures, changing grassy areas into snow fields, according to Root.
The warmer weather has put a damper on the ski season so far, though skiers have still had the benefit of what Root calls “easy skiing” — moving on easy trails without pesky moguls.
“This is about the ideal kind of weather for skiing. If you’re not in high country, you could have some slick sections, and if you’re in low country, you could have slick sections, but it’s a nice kind of skiing. It’s easy riding,” Root said.
On Monday, it is expected to get even warmer.
“With the warm front coming through late Sunday, temperatures will moderate over the weekend. Monday, temperatures will be about 3-5 degrees above normal. Then temperatures will return to normal levels Wednesday,” Root said.
Conditions will continue to be dry through midweek and the rest of the week.
High temperatures have ranged from the low 40s to the high 50s over the past several days, compared to the 60s to 70s that typically are experienced by this time of year.
While this is certainly the ideal kind of weather for skiing, especially since the temperatures are a noticeable difference from the winter season, Root said the lighter-wintry temperature does pose some issue for snowmobilers in some areas.
“The colder the temperatures, the less likely you are to see 20-degree gradients that make for better grooming. However, the mountain operators do a great job at getting enough snow to groom with. So, they should be fine,” Root said.