Snow average off

Season level likely won't hit target


— The ski trails of Mount Werner have been plastered with powder all month long, but the Steamboat Ski Area has a distance to go if it is to match the 20-year average for season snowfall.

Steamboat counted 58 inches of snow through Feb. 26, putting it ahead of February 2001, when the ski area measured 49 inches at mid-mountain, ski area spokeswoman Cathy Wiedemer said.

"It's been great. We had a ton of people here Presidents weekend and we got snow right before and right after," Wiedemer said.

Recent storms have brought the season-to-date total to 245.5 inches. With 46 days left to go in the ski season, Steamboat seems likely to surpass last year's season total of 276 inches. But the ski area would have to average 1.6 inches of snow a day to make the 20-year average of 319.27 inches of annual snowfall.

The historical average for March snowfall is 53.3 inches. And the average for the past five seasons is 43 inches. Steamboat still needs almost 74 inches of 'der to get to 319.

Looking forward, most skiers don't care what the season total is as long is there is fresh snow on the slopes when they wake up.

Steamboat began to break out on Feb. 9, with 7 inches of new snow at mid-mountain at the 5 a.m. ski report. The next morning, Steamboat had an additional 14 inches, but people who skied that day swore there was more.

Wiedemer had the misfortune of being in Park city, Utah, that Sunday morning, but her houseguest didn't hesitate to fill her in on what she had missed.

"From what I heard, it continued to pound all day long," she said. "People said it was some of the best powder of the season."

Steamboat continued to receive small snowfalls of 1 and 2 inches, but the storms resumed in earnest right after Valentine's Day. The ski area counted 6 inches Feb. 15, then 5 inches Feb. 20 and 6 inches Feb. 21. The next dump arrived on Feb. 25, yielding 12 inches.

The all time record for season snowfall at Steamboat is 447.75 set during the winter of 1996/97. Longtime locals haven't forgotten the winter of 1983/84 447.5, inches of snow. The winter of 1995/96 wasn't too shabby either 441.25 inches.


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