Two snowstorms possibly in Steamboat's near future

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— The projected 13,700 people visiting Steamboat Springs this weekend may see a genuine Colorado Rocky Mountain snowstorm, but they'll probably have to wait until Sunday.

There are two snowstorms in Steamboat's near future. The first one is forecast to come Sunday afternoon.

"It's looking pretty good," National Weather Service forecaster Joe Ramey said.

He said it probably wouldn't start snowing heavily until Sunday afternoon. When it stops on Monday, 3 to 9 inches are forecast to have fallen in the valley and seven to 17 inches in higher elevations.

"Those are still very preliminary, but it still looks good," Ramey said.

Another storm is projected to hit the area on Tuesday.

"Right now, that looks to be the better of the two storms," senior forecaster Chris Cuoco said.

He didn't give numbers on the projected snowfall but said the early indications were that it would produce more than Sunday's storm, possibly making it a powder day for skiers and riders on New Year's Day.

The snowfall will add to a snow depth at the Steamboat Ski Area that is the deepest for this time of the year since 1996 and the second deepest since 1990.

As of Friday, the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. measured 42 inches of snow at mid-mountain and 53 inches at the summit.

On Dec. 27, 1996, the snow depth was 68 inches at mid-mountain and 84 inches at the summit, according to Ski Corp. figures. The snow depth was close to this year in 2000, when it was measured at 41 inches at mid-mountain and 49 inches at the summit.

Two rare double-digit snowfall days last week are a big reason for the good snow depth, Ski Corp. spokeswoman Cathy Wiedemer said.

The 5 a.m. snow report on Dec. 18 showed 13 inches of new snow at mid-mountain and 17 inches at the summit. The next day, the report showed 16 inches of new snow at mid-mountain and 26 inches at the summit, making Dec. 19 the biggest snow day of the year so far.

"That's kind of hard to match; to have two double-digit days at both mid-mountain and the summit (in December) hasn't happened in a while," Wiedemer said.

In fact, there is no record of it ever happening at the Steamboat Ski Area since the 1990-91 winter, she said.

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