Major Storm In Colorado Expected To Create Great Skiing And Robust Snowpack

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Photo: Joel Gratz OpenSnow skiing in trees
Joel Gratz

Ski season got off to a slow start in Colorado, but a series of storms is quickly changing that. Meterologist Joel Gratz, co-founder of OpenSnow, tells Colorado Matters host Nathan Heffel that all areas of the state will have a good chance for lots of snow this weekend.

That includes northern mountains like Steamboat Springs, central mountains like Aspen and Monarch, and southern mountains like Wolf Creek and Purgatory. Gratz, who specializes in powder forecasts for skiers and snowboarders, particularly recommends Wolf Creek, which he says could get 30 inches of snow and has all of its runs open for skiing and snowboarding -- which distinguishes it from most other resorts in Colorado.

Gratz says the storm will start Thursday in the mountains and the heaviest snow will fall Friday night, most likely. But while there will be powder for skiing, there will also be temperatures in the single digits or teens in many places on Saturday and Sunday.

Coloradans who don't ski or snowboard also have reason to be happy: Gratz says snowpack was 5-10 percent of average in mid-November in Colorado, and now, across the state it's about 75-100 percent of average. He predicts that after this storm, most parts of Colorado will be at or above average snowpack, which is critical to drinking water and agriculture throughout the Southwestern U.S.