Mike Andrews uses a front-end loader to move snow out of the parking lot of a condominium complex to a dump truck waiting to move the snow to another location. Local snow removal companies have been busy the past several weeks after a series of winter storms made this the sixth snowiest December on record.

Photo by John F. Russell

Mike Andrews uses a front-end loader to move snow out of the parking lot of a condominium complex to a dump truck waiting to move the snow to another location. Local snow removal companies have been busy the past several weeks after a series of winter storms made this the sixth snowiest December on record.

Steamboat Springs snowfall in December among top recorded totals

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By the numbers

Top December snowfall in Steamboat Springs (in inches):

1. 92.6 in 1983

2. 84.6 in 1951

3. 79.3 in 1922

4. 69.4 in 1948

5. 67.9 in 2007

6. 67.2 in 2012*

7. 67 in 1989

8. 64.8 in 1981

9. 61.4 in 2005

10. 60.7 in 1967

*Provisional data from the National Weather Service

Source: Western Regional Climate Center in records dating to 1893.

By the numbers

Top December snowfall at Steamboat Ski Area (in inches):

1. 165.5 in 1983

2. 133.5 in 1989

3. 126 in 2007

4. 113.5 in 1981

5. 108 in 1996

6. 105.25 in 2012

7. 105 in 2005

8. 100 in 2008

9. 85 in 1992

10. 78 in 2000

Source: Steamboat Ski Area in records dating to 1979.

— It’s been a good month for snow in Steamboat Springs — a really good month.

December’s snowfall even could be called historic.

Steamboat weather observer Art Judson has measured 66.9 inches of snow this month at his station between downtown and the mountain, which is good enough for the sixth-highest December total according to data from the Western Regional Climate Center for the period of record.

The National Weather Service’s station in Steamboat has measured 67.2 inches of snow this month. That would be enough for sixth on the list.

Steamboat Ski Area’s snowfall total for the month also puts it sixth on the all-time list with 105.25 inches as of Monday.

The ski area's December numbers also put it among the leading resorts in Colorado as far as snowfall.

Steamboat’s 136.75 inches of total snowfall as of Monday tops Wolf Creek’s 127 inches, despite Wolf Creek having 2 inches on Steamboat’s 44 inch midmountain base.

The two resorts lead the state with summit bases of 48 inches.

But as the New Year's Eve storm passes, the outlook for snow goes with 2012.

Paul Frisbie, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the week looks dry and cold for Steamboat.

“We’re getting a pattern change to no activity,” he said.

With an uneventful January in the outlook, the dry weather could last even longer than that, Frisbie said. But it’s still very much uncertain at this point.

We have to “wait till Mother Nature reloads again,” he said.

However, the Yampa Valley will stay cold. The mountains could warm up next week, he said, but cold air will stay trapped at lower elevations.

The National Weather Service forecasts lows for the week that drop into negative temperatures and daytime highs in the 20s except for New Year's Day, which has a forecast high of 16 degrees.

Steamboat-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, of www.snowalarm.com, also wrote in an email that an inversion layer will keep the valley cold.

Weissbluth confirmed that the outlook for Steamboat is dry.

“It looks like the next chance of significant snow won't be till the following weekend around midmonth,” he wrote.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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