Too much snow?


— Is there such a thing as too much snow in Ski Town USA? If it dawned on you this week that your No. 1 form of outdoor recreation is snow removal, you may have arrived at that point.

All across Steamboat, homeowners were battling to get out of their driveways this week before they could go play in the snow.

Steamboat Ski Area crested the 300-inch mark for season snowfall Wednesday and boosted its mid-mountain total to 320 inches by Saturday.

Steamboat residents saw winter begin in October with 15 inches of snow, but autumn returned in November, and the first half of the month was dry. The ski area recorded 22 inches Nov. 14 and 15, and the floodgates opened. Somehow, November 2005 turned into the snowiest on record with 83 inches of snow.

December proved to the fifth snowiest in 27 years as it snowed 21 of 31 days and piled up 105 inches. Skiers and snowboarders enjoyed 10 days with accumulations of 4 inches or more.

January --ypically the snowiest month in Steamboat -- came through with 22 snow days but couldn't quite match December in sheer volume. Powderhounds enjoyed 12 days with 4 inches or more, but the total maxed out at 95 inches. Still, it was the snowiest January in six years.

Steamboat stayed in the snow groove during the first week of February with 22 inches of fresh snow.

The ski area now is within a foot of reaching its average snowfall for a season and is within 128 inches of a record. The mark was set during the winter of 1996-97, when it snowed 447.75 inches. The snowiest month that winter was January, when it dumped 119.75 inches. Remarkably, the record was set with just 36 inches of snow in February and 24 inches in March. It was April's 55.5 inches that pushed the total over the top and into the record books.

The all-time, one-month snow total record was observed the winter before, when 216.5 inches of snow fell on Thunderhead in January 1996. There were days that month when it was difficult to ski the Tornado trail because it wasn't steep enough given the depth of snow. The season total for the 1995-96 winter was 441.25 inches.

If the snow gods continue to bless the Park Range with the same bounty they have provide this winter, Nordic skiers will be able to look forward to good skiing on Rabbit Ears Pass on Father's Day. That was the case in June 1997.

And we can predict with confidence that it won't be necessary for Steamboat residents to shovel their driveways more than once or twice during June this year.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail


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