Steamboat in the pack with local resort snow

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— Snow depths at the Steamboat Ski Area are consistent with most Colorado ski resorts in the central part of the state. To find deeper snow, skiers will have to head to the southern part of the state, where Mother Nature appears to be trying to make up for last year.
Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. officials estimated they had 22 inches of snow at mid-mountain Friday. That's right up there with most neighboring ski resorts in Colorado.
Vail has 25 inches, Winter Park has 22 inches, Copper Mountain has 20 and Keystone has 18, according to Colorado Ski Country USA figures.
It's a different story for resorts in the southern part of the state, where they're logging the deepest snow depths. Purgatory has a 32-inch base and Wolf Creek, which gets buried every year, has 44 inches.
"The southern part of the state has been doing real well," Steamboat spokesman Kent Kirkpatrick said. But he was quick to add that having 22 inches on the ground in November is good no matter whom it is compared to.
Wolf Creek is one of the most southern ski resorts in Colorado, sitting right on the New Mexico border. It typically gets more snow than other resorts in the state, so big early numbers are not a big deal down there, resort spokeswoman Rosanne Pitcher said.
"We'd actually like to have a little more," she said. "We haven't had fresh powder for a couple days."
National Weather Service forecaster Gary Chancey attributes the snow fortunes of the resorts in the southern Colorado Rockies to moisture being driven in by the tropical jet stream.
"We haven't had a real good system come from the north," he said.
That is bound to change.
As winter gets into full swing, the polar jet stream, which is cruising over the Canadian border right now, will move its way south and bring snow with it, Chancey said.
"Later in the year, we'll get some more snow in the north from that," he said.
Until then, the early southern snow could be seen as redemption from last year, when resorts like Purgatory and Telluride opened late because there was nothing on the ground, while Steamboat was enjoying a decent year, Kirkpatrick said.
"What goes around comes around," he said.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206
or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net

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