Mountain tallies 31 inches of snow since Saturday

Forecast through Sunday calls for continued periods of snow, just in time for Winter Carnival

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The main energy of this week's snowstorm slid to the south of the Yampa Valley, but Steamboat has been making out just fine with the leftovers.

The Steamboat Ski Area received 2 inches of snow overnight Tuesday, another 2 inches between 5 and 9 a.m. Wednesday, then another 4 inches between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Steamboat has tallied 31 inches of fresh snow at mid-mountain since Saturday.

The latest fresh powder comes courtesy of a storm front that swept south through the Gunnison Valley and parked over Colorado's southern mountains.

"You're starting to get wrap-around flow out of this system," National Weather Service meteorologist Dave Nadler said Wednesday. "Persistent or periodic snow like this is produced by waves rotating around the entire system. As the waves come and go, the snow will taper off and then pick up again."

The forecast through Sunday calls for continuing periods of snow with daily high temperatures never climbing above 24 degrees, ensuring wintry weather for Steamboat's 91st annual Winter Carnival.

Despite the recent spate of precipitation, the snow accumulated in the mountains surrounding Steamboat contains less moisture than average for this date.

Buffalo Pass, about 10 miles northeast of Steamboat, has the heaviest snowpack in the state, with a water equivalent of 25.7 inches; that's only 83 percent of the typical 31 inches. Rabbit Ears Pass is at 88 percent of average, and Crosho Lake, south of Phippsburg, stands at 100 percent of average. Whiskey Park, in extreme northern Routt County, is at 88 percent of average.

Avalanche danger in the backcountry surrounding Steamboat remains mostly moderate with pockets of considerable danger on northeast and east aspects. However, Nick Logan with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports that backcountry travelers should use caution wherever new snow amounts exceed 10 inches.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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