The snow is a welcome reprieve after a year of hot, dry weather that fueled wildfires and slowed tourism. But thirsty reservoirs are still not quenched.
What's going on with El Niño now can influence how much snow Colorado gets further down the line.
While dry summers aren’t new, a winter and spring with little snow and rain have pushed parts of the state to get drier, faster.
About 90 percent of the Colorado River's water comes from snowmelt in the Upper Colorado River Basin, a large swath of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
Snowpack is decent near the Continental Divide. But places farther south are setting new records for lack of snow.
"We still remain behind typical conditions for this time of year in terms of open terrain and base depth," said Vail CEO Rob Katz.
Overall, the river serves more than 40 million people in cities, farms and tribes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Mexico also gets a share.