Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Tom Baer ran into the snow line on Mount Werner at the saddle of the Rainbow ski trail Wednesday afternoon. He wasn't completely prepared for the weather.
"I wished I had brought my gloves," Baer said. He is the videographer for the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. and was in pursuit of footage to uplink via satellite to television newsrooms in distant cities.
Baer said his pursuit of the season's first snowfall took him above 9,000 feet in his Toyota pickup, where he encountered snow sticking to the road on the Calf Roper trail.
"I went all the way to the top of Storm Peak. It was blizzard-like conditions," Baer said. "I can safely say it was 2 inches. Of course, it was falling in the grass."
This week's snowfall isn't out of the ordinary for this date and is almost certain to melt before ski season settles in for good. The gondola will continue to run on weekends, Sept. 13 and 14 and Sept. 20 and 21, for hikers and cyclists, ski area spokeswoman Cathy Wiedemer said.
Baer was struck by the fact that the first snow on Mount Werner arrived before the fall colors begin to show.
"Usually it comes when the aspen leaves have begun to change," Baer said. "I didn't really see any leaves beginning to change today."
Steamboat officially began counting snowfall on Oct. 28 last winter and ended the season with a total of 344 inches at mid-mountain.
The possibility of more snow Wednesday night remained with forecast lows in the mid-30s. However, the National Weather Service had downgraded an early morning forecast. As of 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, forecasters projected as much as 6 inches of snow could fall into the evening above 9,000 feet in the Park Range. By 3:30 p.m., the National Weather Service was calling only for scattered thunderstorms through the evening Wednesday.
Steamboat received 16 inches of snow at mid-mountain in October 2002 and 52 inches in November. The biggest snow month of last ski season was February, when the snow totaled 93 inches.
-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205
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