Leighton White and his dog Endo lead the way for Valerie Kutansky and the couple's child, 15-month-old Ayla on Sunday in Steamboat Springs. Seemingly tropical temperatures Saturday had Steamboat residents in shorts and on bicycles, but a late-season snowstorm plunged the town back into winter Sunday.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Leighton White and his dog Endo lead the way for Valerie Kutansky and the couple's child, 15-month-old Ayla on Sunday in Steamboat Springs. Seemingly tropical temperatures Saturday had Steamboat residents in shorts and on bicycles, but a late-season snowstorm plunged the town back into winter Sunday.

Storm in Steamboat results in powder day at ski area, canceled flights at YVRA

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— A day after the temperature in Steamboat Springs reached 66 degrees, Mother Nature shifted gears Sunday.

The 8 inches of new snow reported at Steamboat Ski Area’s mid-mountain after 5 a.m. Sunday created a late-season powder day for skiers and snowboarders, but wreaked havoc on travelers at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden.

Airport Assistant Manager Dean Smith said Sunday afternoon that two United Express flights scheduled to arrive at about noon from Denver and return to the Front Range were cancelled. He said a Frontier Airlines flight scheduled to arrive about the same time, also from Denver also was cancelled.

Other morning and afternoon flights were able to arrive and take off, Smith said. He blamed poor visibility and low cloud cover for preventing the midday flights from landing and taking off at YVRA.

“We just happened to have one of those days today,” he said. “We were ready for it. Our runway has been black all day. It wasn’t a runway issue. It wasn’t an airport issue. It was a weather issue. Our snow crew is incredible.”

The National Weather Service office in Grand Junction issued a Winter Weather Advisory that’s effective in the region until 9 a.m. today.

Meteorologist Tom Renwick said the dramatic shift in weather is not uncommon for this time of year.

“This is spring. Spring in Colorado, this is what happens,” he said. “It was a good cold one. We knew it was going to be a strong (storm) and it didn’t disappoint.”

Renwick said he expects snow to stop falling in the Steamboat area before midnight Sunday. He said after a low of 18 degrees this morning, temperatures could reach in the upper 30s later today with blue skies.

Temperatures could reach the low 50s on Tuesday and Wednesday, Renwick said. He said another storm is expected to roll through Wednesday and Thursday, with a possibility of snowfall at higher elevations, before dissipating. Another storm is scheduled to arrive next weekend.

The ski area reported a record-tying summit base of 137 inches Sunday. Ski Area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said that record was set during the 1996-97 season, which saw a total snowfall of 447.75 inches, and was tied last Thursday. The summit saw some melting Friday and Saturday, but the 9 inches reported at the summit brought the base back to 137 inches, to again tie the record.

Steamboat’s total, seasonal accumulation at mid-mountain eclipsed the 400-inch mark March 27, passing the milestone for the third time in the past four winters. The ski area reported a seasonal total of 423 inches Sunday afternoon.

There were strong winds Sunday, but no lift closures, Kasten said. The ski area’s season ends Sunday.

“This is a fabulous way for us to end the season,” Kasten said about Sunday’s snowfall. “The last month has just been gangbusters. To get a final storm the final week is a phenomenal way to close out the season.”

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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