Saturday, February 1, 2014

Colorado Is Killing Us

I have a good friend who spent a few years in Boulder, CO.  While he was there, people asked him where he went to ski and he would reply east, to the airport, where I fly to Salt Lake City.

Utahns of course enjoy thumbing their noses at Colorado when it comes to snow.  Colorado has beautiful mountains, big resorts, and easier access to life's vices, but for the most part it gets less snow than the Cottonwoods and a much lower frequency of deep powder days.

This week, however, is different and they can pretty much thumb their noses right back at us.   Check out these daily new snow accumulations for the past three days [courtesy of the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)].  Concentrate in particular on Eagle and Summit Counties (scale at top of images).

Feeling jealous?  Well you should.  They got pounded in the mountains there and in places that normally don't get a lot of snow.  The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports 72 hour totals of 30-40 inches in their Sawatch, Vail, and Summit County regions.  I have seen storm-total reports of 28-36 inches in Leadville, which despite being at 10,000 feet, is surrounded by high mountains and not known for huge accumulations.  For the past 2 days, Vail reports 27 inches, Copper 23 inches, and Breckenridge 32 inches.  Even Keystone, where all storms go to die, reports 27 inches.  This is a rare run of deep powder skiing for the Summit and Eagle County resorts which average only about 4 days per season with 10 inches or more of snow based on data from Berthoud Pass.

A contributor to this huge event was the atmospheric river that moved through Utah late Wednesday and Thursday.  Strong water vapor transport accompanying the atmospheric river eventually penetrated into Colorado and gave them the huge dumpage.  I hate to say this, but hopefully Utah will catch up eventually!

1 comment:

  1. 4.5 inches of SWE and 35 inches of depth increase at Schofield Pass SNOTEL NW of Crested Butte. Although that SNOTEL is considerably snowier than Summit County on average.