Steamboat Ski Area says 27 inches in 24 hours is a single-day record
February 20, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Bryan Baker said not many days during his 11 years living in Steamboat Springs were as good as Monday.
Many others said the same thing, and for obvious reasons. The 5 a.m. snow report said 27 inches of powder fell in the previous 24 hours, the most in recorded history at Steamboat Ski Area. And on top of that, another 7 inches fell between 5 and 11 a.m. for a 30-hour total of 34 inches at mid-mountain.
"It's the best day I've ever seen. Deepest day, that's for sure" Baker said. "You know when you can't see anything else in front of you but snow, it's pretty good."
Chris Cuoco, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said "key ingredients for good snow" came together to produce the storm that started in earnest Sunday afternoon and continued into Monday morning. Cuoco said those ingredients included significant moisture, winds from the west and northwest, an ideal wind speed, uplift from the mountains and a passing storm system and the right temperatures.
"Steamboat was the big winner with this system," he said. "Especially the mountain, which got considerably more snow than the surrounding areas. All those conditions just hit perfectly over the Steamboat area."
Cuoco added that he expects light snow daily for the remainder of the week.
Local weather observer Art Judson said he recorded 10.3 inches of snow at his recording site on Anglers Drive between downtown and the mountain. Although snow totals in town were significantly lower than what fell on Mount Werner, Judson called the storm "one of the big ones."
But it's' not the biggest. Judson said the most snow to fall in the city of Steamboat was 30 inches during a storm March 2, 1929.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said the ski area started recording daily snow totals in 1991. She said the previous 24-hour record was 26 inches on Jan. 31, 1996.
"As far as what the resort records, that was our biggest day until today," she said.
That fact was not lost on anyone.
"It's probably some of the deepest snow I've ever skied, in 25 years all over," said Steamboat resident Dan Meyer. He spent the day at the mountain with his 11-year-old daughter, Sarah.
Nick Vanderpool, visiting Steamboat with his wife, Laura, and three daughters from Houston, said it was the second-best powder day he had experienced in 30 years of skiing. He said it was almost too much snow for 9-year-old daughter Remi.
"She got stuck in powder up to her eyes," he said about his 4-foot- 8-inch daughter. "I could only see her head, literally."
Ted Brooks, a former Steamboat resident visiting from Greeley, said the snow was shoulder high in spots in the trees.
This most recent storm follows consistent snowfall during the past couple of weeks that brings the February total at the ski area to more than 5 feet. The ski area reported a mid-mountain base of 75 inches Monday. The stick reads 82 inches at the summit.
As great as the snow was, it created issues like long lift lines — some reported the line for the gondola Monday morning stretched to the Gondola Transit Center — and a busy day for Steamboat Ski Patrol. The Meadows and Knoll free skier parking lots were jammed with vehicles, and some skiers and riders parked along Mount Werner Road in an effort to get to the slopes.
Kasten said the busy Presidents Day weekend got even busier when powder-hungry locals descended on the mountain Monday morning. And she said Ski Patrol helped many skiers and riders who weren't used to deep snow conditions. There were, for example, instances of people losing skis and poles. And there were a lot of exhausted skiers and riders.
But for most, the storm was the perfect cure for a winter that had been light on snow and high on temperatures.
Rusty Davison, a 16-year Steamboat resident, characterized it as an epic day.
"It's right up there with the best of them," he said. "It's been a long time coming. So, much appreciated."
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com
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