Olympian Nelson Carmichael rips through powder Tuesday at Steamboat Ski Area, which has received about 30 inches of new snow so far this week.

Larry Pierce/COURTESY

Olympian Nelson Carmichael rips through powder Tuesday at Steamboat Ski Area, which has received about 30 inches of new snow so far this week.

CDOT opens Rabbit Ears Pass

Storm dumping snow on Steamboat Ski Area; snarling traffic throughout region

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Keep up with the conditions

- For local weather conditions and recent coverage of Steamboat Springs weather, visit SteamboatToday.com/weather

- View webcams of Steamboat Springs at SteamboatToday.com/webcams

- For weather information from the National Weather Service, including storm warnings and advisories, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/

- The Colorado Department of Transportation provides road conditions, closures and traffic cameras at www.cotrip.org. For travel information by phone, call 511 from anywhere in Colorado or dial 303-639-1111.

- Find information about avalanche danger and conditions at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website: www.avalanche.state.co.us.

- For flight information, visit www.flightview.com/ TravelTools/. By phone, call Delta Airlines at (800) 241-4141; United Airlines at (800) 864-8331; and American Airlines at (800) 433-7300

— The Colorado Department of Transportation has re-opened Rabbit Ears Pass after a weather-related closure that lasted much of Wednesday.

Other closures around the state included Berthoud Pass on U.S. Highway 40 and Loveland Pass on U.S. Highway 6.

The storm is a welcome sight for many of those not traveling.

The 16 inches of snow that blanketed the Steamboat Ski Area in the 24 hours ending with the 5 a.m. ski report on Wednesday fell on top of 9 inches that arrived the day before. The latest storm pushed the cumulative total for the 2008-09 season to within 6 inches of last year's record-breaking pace.

The ski area reported an additional 2.5 inches between 5 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. this morning. The Morningside area was closed for avalanche control operations at the time of that report.

Steamboat counted a record 489 inches of snow at mid-mountain last winter and by Jan. 7, 2008, the ski area had seen 181 inches fall at Thunderhead Peak. This year's cumulative total now stands at 175 inches, ski area spokesman Mike Lane said.

January 2009 is actually ahead of January 2008 as of this morning, according to Lane. The ski area has already seen 35 inches of snow this month compared to 15 inches by Jan. 7, 2008.

This year's monthly totals include 4.75 inches in October, 35.25 inches in November and an even 100 inches in December. The pattern last winter saw 17 inches fall in October 2007, followed by 23 inches in November and 126 inches in December.

Both years were similar in that the weather was unseasonably mild and dry right up to the hour that snowfall began in earnest in late November.

Local weather guru Art Judson reported on Tuesday, prior to the heavy overnight snowfall, that the depth of the snow at the Tower measuring site on Buffalo Pass was 68 inches, compared to 78 inches on Jan. 8, 2008.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction was calling for a 30 percent chance of snow overnight Wednesday, giving way to mostly sunny skies on Thursday.

The possibility of snow returns to 50 percent Thursday night and continuing into Friday.

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