Powder Predictor

Pacific moisture sticks around Vail, Beaver Creek through Christmas Eve

Colder air and more snow by Thursday

By Reid Griebling
Real AspenDecember 20, 2010
A forecaster always likes it when they're correct when it comes to the weather (or the stock market, for that matter). My numbers were right on for the weekend, with Vail reporting eight inches Sunday morning and another three today (Monday, Dec. 20).

Beaver Creek was once again snubbed, as it only reported a total of eight inches in the past 48 hours. Pacific moisture has made its presence known, with warm air and snow only at the highest elevations.

It's hard to get excited about snow totals when, in the valleys of Colorado, torrential rain pours down. In fact, temps did not drop below zero celcius Sunday night, and melting occurred around much of the Vail and Roaring Fork Valleys.

Not much will change in the next 48 hours as the last bit of moisture funnels into the western mountains, with the last low pressure systems soon to follow. We should see an additional 4-6 inches on the ground Tuesday morning at both Vail and Beaver Creek, with 6-10 expected for the Tuesday morning report at Aspen/Snowmass.

Vail/Beaver Creek will see a lull in the action Tuesday evening into Thursday morning (lingering showers) as another storm moves into our region, this time with colder air attached.

Aspen/Snowmass will see residual snowfall most of this week, as moisture will dissipate from north to south. Expect snowfall totals Tuesday through Thursday in the 2-4 inch range each morning, with higher totals well above tree line.

Temps for mid-week will be warm for this time of year, with on mountain highs in the low thirties and overnight lows in the twenties. Winds will still remain steady from the west, with gusts in the 30's at times.

Colorado was only one cold front away from a memorable blizzard, as all of the ingredients were in the atmosphere, except cold air. As a proud native of Colorado, I have never seen ice pellets fall from the sky in December.

This morning, while taking the trash to the curb, I was pelleted with pellets and it was downright awful. Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor to give our areas great early season conditions, only to wash them away with her over-hyped "pineapple express".

I know I'm speaking selfishly, as areas like Crested Butte, Monarch and Wolf Creek have seen great amounts of snow these past 60 hours. As the holiday season is in full swing, good tidings must be showered upon everyone, and we wouldn't want our friends in the southern mountains to be left out.

Besides, it's only Dec. 20 -- the last day of fall -- and most of the terrain at Vail/Beaver Creek and Aspen/Snowmass is open for snow riding. So for now, I'll take the weather that is given, only to wish upon a star (or a lunar eclipse) that this is the last time I see rain until April. Santa, are you listening?


comments: 2 Comments on "Pacific moisture sticks around Vail, Beaver Creek through Christmas Eve"

David O. – Dec. 21, 2010, at 10:09 a.m.

To heck with Santa. Ask Congress for a comprehensive climate change bill. I know you're not convinced, Reid, but growing anecdotal evidence from ski town residents suggests the scientists are right. We are warming our planet by burning more and more fossil fuels. Lots of snow does not mean it's a cold winter. Having lived in Colorado for more than 30 years and in the Vail Valley for 20, I can tell you that temperatures are rising and ski seasons are shrinking in length. The time to act is now.

Reid – Dec. 23, 2010, at 8:43 a.m.

Ohhh, Dave O. Asking Congress to do ANYTHING is really asking too much. Those idiots can't tie a shoe without a years worth of arguing. Regarding the issue of climate change. Its not that I'm a non-believer, I just have issues with the egocentric nature of humans thinking that we know what is best for a rock that has been floating around the solar system for 4 billion years. Besides, ski seasons aren't getting shorter, they're just creeping into different seasons. Last year, in May, we had nearly 3 feet of snow fall while the ski resorts were closed (besides A-Basin), you said it yourself, should ski resorts stay open longer when snowfall allows? And before we get all excited about coastlines being swallowed up and ice caps melting, we should worry about the big rock in the sky that is slowly making a b-line to our planet. Cosmic collisions will surly take us out before a steamy planet.

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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
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