Slopeside Grill owner Chris Corna, right, positions one of sixty 300-pound blocks of ice with, from left, Camille Flynn, Rob Capone, Larry Flynn and Steve Walsh to create a slopeside ice bar Wednesday. Corna hired Capone's company, Aspen Vail Ice Sculpture, to build the bar, which is an annual tradition.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Slopeside Grill owner Chris Corna, right, positions one of sixty 300-pound blocks of ice with, from left, Camille Flynn, Rob Capone, Larry Flynn and Steve Walsh to create a slopeside ice bar Wednesday. Corna hired Capone's company, Aspen Vail Ice Sculpture, to build the bar, which is an annual tradition.

February snow can't keep up with December, January

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— After above-average snowfall in December and January, Steamboat Ski Area needs a snowy final nine days of February to reach the month's 10-year average of 75 inches at mid-mountain.

The inch of fresh snow at Thunderhead on Thursday fell on top of 6 inches from Wednesday and brought the month's total to 38 inches, according to statistics kept by Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokesman Mike Lane. The season total now stands at 287, well within striking distance of achieving Steamboat's season average of 315 inches by early March.

However, another winter like the record-setting 2007-08, when Steamboat recorded 489 inches at mid-mountain, seems less likely. And if the ski area is to see a repeat of three 100-inch months in a row like it did last season, the final days of February would have to produce more than 5 feet of snow.

Although snowfall has been frequent this month - on 11 of the first 19 days - daily totals have been modest at mid-mountain. Lane's records show the mountain hitting double digits just once, when 10 inches fell Feb. 10.

Lane's records show that in February 2008, Steamboat skiers and riders enjoyed three double-digit powder days in the first week of the month.

After a mild November this season, the ski area recorded 100 inches in December and 104 inches in January.

The record-breaking winter of 2007-08 represented the first time - since formal record keeping began in 1979 - that three consecutive months of 100 inches of snowfall or more had been recorded. The 126 inches that fell in December 2007 was followed by 129 inches in January 2008 and 104 inches in February.

On average, February is Steamboat's third-snowiest month with 64.7 inches. March is the fourth-snowiest with an average of 51.9 inches. January is the snowiest month on average, followed by December in second.

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